Asmussen: Mike Renner's calling an audible

Asmussen: Mike Renner's calling an audible

Call Mike Renner the accidental journalist.

When he finished his accounting degree at Notre Dame, the Uni High graduate planned a career as an actuary.

First, he had to take actuarial exams.

Then fate — or the internet — stepped in. He saw an online add for Cincinnati-based Pro Football Focus. He applied the spring semester of his senior year in South Bend, Ind.

"They were hiring data analysts, and I felt like I was qualified enough to analyze data with an accounting degree," Renner said.

He was hired as a part-timer at first. He decided to take the actuary exams while waiting tables on the side.

After the first fall, Pro Football Focus hired him full time.

"I abandoned the actuary stuff and started doing football," Renner said.

But there is more to Renner's life these days than football and looking back on his days starring in basketball at Uni High.

Want to see what the 27-year-old is up to? Tune in to "The Bachelorette" at 7 tonight on ABC. He is one of the contestants vying for Becca Kufrin.

Renner is hearing about it. A lot.

"It cracks me up," Renner said. "It's funny seeing all the hoopla around it."

Renner isn't allowed to say what happens during his appearances. The taping is done and Renner is back in Cincinnati.

He plans to watch at home tonight with friends.

"All that's left is to see what they show," Renner said.

Renner doesn't know what the show will mean to his career.

"I don't think it's going to hurt me," Renner said. "It was an interesting experience."

'I loved Uni'

The job at Pro Football Focus was a dream come true. A chance to stay involved in sports.

Renner was a Packers fan growing up. His family has season tickets in Green Bay.

"I would have loved to have played and got into it in high school," Renner said.

Uni High doesn't have football. So, Renner starred in basketball, leaving as the school's career scoring leader, and baseball before the school dropped the sport.

The 2008 News-Gazette First Team All-Area selection can still play some hoops, too. Renner said his game has improved.

"I'm much better than I was then," Renner said. "I never lifted. Once I started lifting, I started to get more athletic. I can jump a lot higher than I did back then."

The 6-footer can dunk. He's gained 10 inches on his vertical. He plays three times a week.

Renner has fond memories of his time as an Illinek.

"I loved Uni," Renner said. "If I could go back again, I would do it the same way."

Analyze this

Of course, Renner is busiest during the fall and early winter.

"It's around the clock," Renner said. "You can't get away from it because there is so much going on."

Pro Football Focus analyzes every team in the NFL. Plus colleges.

Now is more of a quiet time.

He puts together videos each day and writes a couple articles each week.

He is also doing research, getting ready for the upcoming season.

Renner has found a job that fits his skillset. Everyone should be so lucky.

"I love talking about the game," Renner said. "The fun part of the job is discussing it, analyzing it. Breaking down the game is my favorite thing to do."

His parents, Sue and Ken, asked him 'What's your future plan?' "

Easy answer.

"Keep my same job now," Renner said, "but continue to make more money."

Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-351-5233 or by email at asmussen@news-gazette.com.