By Shane Meling
What have you been doing with your spare time? Former Navy SEAL and current UIW assistant football coach Jake Zweig has gone into survival mode…literally. Zweig recently finished shooting the first season of Animal Planet’s new reality television show “Catch and Release.” He is one of the show’s five participants with a chance to show off their survival skills in some extreme conditions.
The Associated Press recently reported a story about the show calling it a “back-to-nature game show that makes ‘Survivor’ seem as tame as a round of ‘Jeopardy.’”
The premise of the show is that the group of five participants selects one among them who is then blindfolded and dispatched to a remote, unexpected location to fend for himself. He has 100 hours to find his way back to civilization or he loses the game.
This is the second reality-themed show in which Zweig has appeared. He was also on season three of the History Channel’s “Top Shot.” Zweig sees “Catch and Release” as a way to market the university and the football program.
The show focuses heavily on the fact that Zweig is a UIW football coach.
“When I went to the show to negotiate with them, I said that I have to be able to wear UIW gear,” said Zweig. “The producer of the show said, ‘listen, this is who he is; this is his life,’ so they have done a great job of working it in that being a football coach is my career.”
Zweig has big goals for his football coaching career and would like to combine his experience. Eventually, he would like to be a college football head coach and have a reality show based on his football program. He believes that a show based on a football program would mean big business for an institution.
While his time on “Catch and Release” is not the same as having a reality show following an entire football program, Zweig believes that exposure on the show will have a positive effect on the entire university. Prior to joining the staff at UIW, he coached at both University of New Hampshire and Bryant College in Rhode Island. “The school websites were receiving more traffic and applications went up after I appeared on ‘Top Shot,’” said Zweig.
As part of the show, Zweig and UIW coaching buddies Kyle Kennan and Michael Briglin were filmed while coaching. The show features plenty of authentic Cardinals gear and equipment in the football segments, including a staged football practice, and will give UIW fans a little extra incentive to watch the show.
The schedule for “Catch and Release” has not been deter- mined but it could be as early as October or as late as January. One of Zweig’s favorite parts of the show was just getting to hang out with the other four competitors – Matt, a world class triathlete from Utah; Tom, an older man who teaches survival skills around the globe; Terry, an active duty Green Beret who is still serving in the National Guard; and John, a British survival expert with the British military.
The competitors traveled around the world to different remote locations. In each spot only one man was sent in while the other four remained in the command center to monitor the situation. The competitors never knew when their turn was next because they were chosen by the most recent competitor. “Reaching the goal of getting back to civilization is the best part,” said Zweig. “We all have big egos and none of us want to fail.”
See page 2 for additional photos.