Veteran broadcaster Mark Krueger dies at 56

Mark Krueger, a fixture on the local high school and college broadcasting scene for several decades, has died unexpectedly.

SHARE Veteran broadcaster Mark Krueger dies at 56
Broadcaster Mark Krueger (right, with Jim Blaney and Kenny McReynolds) died Tuesday at the age of 57.

Broadcaster Mark Krueger (right, with Jim Blaney and Kenny McReynolds) died Tuesday at the age of 57.

Provided by Kenny McReynolds.

Mark Krueger, a fixture on the local high school and college broadcasting scene for several decades, has died unexpectedly.

Krueger died at his Aurora home on Tuesday, which was his 56th birthday.

A three-time Emmy nominee and member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Krueger graduated from Downers Grove South and North Central College.

He pitched for the Cardinals for four years and was a member of the 1987 baseball team that finished fifth in the NCAA Division III World Series.

Krueger then embarked on a broadcasting career that featured work at several local outlets, including CN100, CW26 and The U, as well as the Weigel Broadcasting-produced coverage of the IHSA state finals.

“As talented of a broadcaster as he was, he was an even better person,” veteran broadcaster Kenny McReynolds told the Sun-Times. “Always had a smile on his face, was always happy.”

Former CN100 producer Andy Ziolkowski also noted Krueger’s unfailing good humor.

“He was always laughing all the time,” Ziolkowski told the Sun-Times. “I don’t remember a single time we talked when we didn’t have a laughing fit.”

Fred Weintraub, a veteran producer of local high school sports telecasts, appreciated Krueger’s professional approach to any assignment.

“I had the honor of working with Mark for almost two decades,” Weintraub told the Sun-Times. “He would always be in the gym hours before the broadcast with tons of notes in hand — always making people feel relaxed on TV.

“I can hear Mark in my earpiece telling me he had a story, toss to him. Most of all I will miss that laugh.”

McReynolds teamed with Krueger on last year’s state football coverage at Memorial Stadium in Champaign and could only marvel at his friend’s work. Krueger anchored studio coverage for the first six games and McReynolds handled the last two.

“I told him after the 6A game, ‘You put the pressure on me now,’” McReynolds said. “It was the best work I’ve ever seen him do.”

McReynolds also noted Krueger’s value coming out of the pandemic. In order to make sure all broadcast roles were covered in case someone was sidelined by COVID, Krueger would prepare to do play-by-play, color or sideline reporting for a particular game.

Like Weintraub, Triton College sports information director and freelance broadcaster Tim McKinney — who worked with Krueger on occasion — saw Krueger’s professional approach up close.

“What you saw on the air is how he was,” McKinney told the Sun-Times. “When it came down to his craft he was serious and he wanted to make sure he performed at a high level.”

But the lasting takeaway for McReynolds was the way Krueger was always there for his friends, including annual birthday check-ins.

“If I didn’t know it was my birthday, I’d know because Mark called me every year,” McReynolds said.

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