Jake Zweig has led an interesting life as a football coach. After playing college ball at Navy, Zweig served as a graduate assistant at Maryland and has coached at the Catholic University of America, Iona, New Hampshire, Bryant and now enters his second year as the special teams and outside linebackers coach at FCS Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Interesting, sure. But it’s what Zweig has done away from the football field that sets him apart from every other football coach in America.
While at the U.S. Naval Academy, he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science while playing nose guard and wrestling for the Midshipmen all while participating in an intensive swimming regiment to train as a Navy diver. After putting in two years as an officer aboard the U.S.S. Merrimack, he earned the rank of lieutenant as a Navy SEAL.
Zweig left the Navy to coach in 2005 (but not before earning an MBA at the University of Michigan), where his SEAL experienced bolstered his work on the gridiron. But, when you’ve been to the Navy’s Underwater Demolition School, wearing a whistle doesn’t fulfill your prescribed amount of adrenaline.
So in 2011, Zweig appeared on the History Channel’s “Top Shot”, where he fired 15,000 rounds of ammunition over two weeks to prepare for the shooting show. “It basically comes down to the fact that I have the innate ability to do the impossible,” Zweig said at the time. “I’m strictly on ‘Top Shot’ to go on TV and kick everybody’s ass.”
Now Zweig is jumping back into the reality television waters, only this time he’s upping the dosage of insanity tenfold. He will appear on Animal Planet’s “Catch and Release”, where a team of five chooses one member to be blindfolded and dropped into a remote location. The player then has 100 hours to trek his way back to civilization or he loses the game. The team took turns traveling to different destinations around the globe, so each player got to take a turn playing his own game of Survivor. “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.”
Zweig thinks reality television is the perfect way to marry his love of coaching football with his love of putting himself in extreme situations and not dying. He reports that both New Hampshire and Bryant’s respective websites saw traffic spikes after his appearance in “Top Shot” and, in preparation for his latest television excursion, negotiated the ability to wear Incarnate Word on camera into his contract.
His ultimate goal is to become a head football coach – and then have a reality show following his team.
For now, though, Zweig will return to his day job (the Cardinals open Aug. 29 at Central Arkansas) while waiting for his show to air. An air date hasn’t been set, but will fall sometime between October and January. That’s plenty of time for Zweig to dream up his next reality television foray-turned football promotional tool.