Well folks, they honored a legend last Friday night at the McGregor High School gym and it was a happening event.
Len Schneider, longtime public address announcer for Mercs sports has called it a career and his fans gave him a rousing sendoff as he and his wife move on to live in Duluth.
The first time I met Len was when we were doing games on the radio for both Aitkin and McGregor back in the early 70’s. We had a game scheduled for the gym in McGregor and I got my equipment hooked up and found myself sitting right next to what I thought was a soft-spoken young man ready to do the starting lineups. Then all of a sudden here comes a booming voice declaring, “Welcome to the home of the McGregor Mercuries.” Oh gosh, I know I turned and looked at Len and thought, “Alright, here we go.”
It started a friendship that has lasted over 45 years and he is one of the nicest, sweetest guys I have ever known. It was a wonderful time back when I first met Len, I was a young broadcaster getting my feet wet and Len was more than willing to do whatever it took to make our job easier. Susie Salo was the scorekeeper most of the time, so I looked to her for help once in a while as well.
The Mercs had never had much for coverage of sports on the radio back then so we were made to feel so welcome! That hasn’t changed as the years have gone by. I always loved going to games in that gym and although players and coaches changed over the years, there was always one constant and that was Len Schneider.
He made my job so much easier and I trust that’s just the kind of guy he is. Congratulations Len, hope you think of us once in a while and remember your days in McGregor because I can tell you one thing, McGregor will never forget you and that voice welcoming folks to another night at the gym.
I spent almost twenty years behind the P.A. mike at Aitkin and I am proud to say that I patterned my style a lot after that young guy I first met back in the 70’s. Thanks Len for being an inspiration to so many over the years and best of luck as you move on and remember “Once a Merc, always a Merc,” no matter where life takes you.