Stacy Paetz Out at Fox Sports Indiana

by Kent Sterling

The media is a fickle mistress.  Sometimes through no fault of the employee, they are told to stay home tomorrow – and the day after that, and on and on.

It’s silly.  It’s subjective.  And it should always be totally expected because as certain as are death and taxes, so is being told you are no longer welcome at the media outlet where you hang your hat.  It might take 20 days, and it might take 20 years, but that day came yesterday for Stacy Paetz.

Paetz is the knowledgeable sideline reporter and studio host for Indiana Pacers games on Fox Sports Indiana, and next year there will be another knowledgeable sideline reporter and studio host for Indiana Pacers games on Fox Sports Indiana.  That’s life in media.

My only interaction with Paetz came at a Pacers golf outing.  The Pacers or the Brickyard Crossing (where the outing was played) decided to have only one long drive hole for the men and women.  On this hole the women got roughly a 120 yard advantage.  Despite striping a bomb right into the skinny throat just short of the green, Paetz outdrove me by four yards and claimed whatever the prize was.

That was wrong, although I can hardly blame Paetz.  She benefitted from a jacked-up set of rules, and perhaps I was wrong to yell “CHEATER!” at the award dinner.  The people I know who know her say that not only is Paetz not a cheater, she a very nice woman and a professional.

The thing that sucks about the media is that someone can do his or her job perfectly in every way and still be fired.  I don’t know whether Paetz was fired for cause or told to beat it because the time had simply come, but that time comes for us all.

Tastes change, goals change, and frankly a little change is good for a broadcast every once in a while.

Talent can battle those realities in one very meaningful way – build your brand.  The value of a media personality is not in the quality their work, but in the value of their image in the market.  There are plenty of sub-par broadcasters out there who keep their jobs because people know and like them.  And there are great hosts on the unemployment line because they believe Facebook and Twitter are a joke.  Gladhanding and getting to know media consumers can be painful for shy and reserved personalities.

They need to judge what level of pain they would rather bear – the pain of being gracious and friendly, or the pain of a long stint on the unemployment line.  Building a coterie of friends through being nice and networking won’t keep the ax from falling, but it will hasten the speed with which the phone rings.

Paetz always seemed like a friendly sort, and has certainly built her brand outside the Pacers.  According to the bio still available on pacers.com, Paetz is on the Board of Advisors for Stedman Graham with Athletes Against Drugs, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FTW, Just Say Know and Sheltering Wings.

Yesterday, Paetz tweeted, “Words can’t express…Thanks so much for your support! And I’m forever grateful to the Pacers and FS Indiana for a great opportunity.”  Obviously, she either totally gets the vagaries of media hiring and firing, or she is smart enough to avoid burning a bridge.

It’s not whether you will hear, “This is going to be an unpleasant conversation.  Today is your last day with us,” it’s how you respond to it.  Adversity gives people like Stacy a chance to display their character.  It’s never welcome, but it doesn’t have to be a grim experience.

My two pieces of advice for Stacy – get up tomorrow and work hard at something, and the next time you play in a charity scramble, hit from the men’s tee on the long drive hole.

13 Responses to Stacy Paetz Out at Fox Sports Indiana
  1. Pauly Balst
    June 3, 2011 | 6:26 pm

    Literally everything I have read or heard from those who have been around Stacy Paetz has been positive. She is supposedly first rate. Supposedly versatile beyond sports. Ball State Alumni of the decade (I was merely the Alumni of the year at Gary Conservatory class of ’05), which is impressive.

    As Former Advisory Board Member Emeritus of Moops Media, I’d like to reach out to Stacy to invite her to provide her insights weekly on kentsterling.com.

    And Stacy, if you read this, hang with Stedman and his lady friend, I don’t recall her name.

    • Larry in Chicago
      June 6, 2011 | 9:53 am

      I have no idea who this person is but the reason I enjoy your blog so much is getting to visualize you yelling ‘CHEATER” at this poor women at an awards dinner.

      • kentsterling
        June 7, 2011 | 9:51 pm

        It was an ugly scene that was ignored by most at the event. Sometimes moments of anger are so off the reservation that people choose not to notice them. I have benefitted many times from this behavioral quirk.

  2. John Doe
    June 3, 2011 | 8:01 pm

    Seriously? You have got to be kidding. First rate? Not even close. Easily the worst sideline reporter I’ve ever heard. One time, she asked University of Illinois basketball players, who’d just won a single game at the Wooden Tradition, if winning that game was better than qualifying for the Final Four the year before. Knowledgeable? Hardly. Good riddance, Ms. Paetz.

    • kentsterling
      June 4, 2011 | 2:22 pm

      That’s harsh, and while the story may be accurate, I have always found Stacy to be good at what she does.

  3. Elvis
    June 4, 2011 | 1:51 am

    She was an average sideline reporter, got a bit better through the years, and everyone seems to say she was nice. On TV (which is all most of us know of her), she came across as friendly, tried hard, but not a natural. And in a market like Indy, there are many who seem to survive not because they are great, but because they network properly and are “good enough”. She seems to be one of those, so will land on her feet. Someone will hire her because she didn’t burn a bridge, and is likeable, which is a good thing in any job. A bigger question? who do the Pacers/FOX Sports have in mind to replace her, because you know they already have one picked out…

  4. chuck stake
    June 4, 2011 | 6:02 pm

    when will ms. palin lose her media gig?

  5. Ed
    June 17, 2011 | 6:56 pm

    I lost interest in the Pacers about the time Stacy Paetz came on board. She had no business in that position at the time. I don’t know if she ever got any better because I refused to watch.

  6. Dennis E. Warren
    October 16, 2011 | 10:34 am

    I will no longer watch the Pacers. Without Stacy they will be totally uninteresting.

  7. Dave Lee
    November 10, 2011 | 7:53 am

    Stacy gave it her best shot. Unfortunately, the media game is not about being nice and energetic. It’s about being in the right place at the right time, hoping this is your home for a very long time. Too many external forces control this.
    No matter what city or sport, media personalities change every few years. This time, Stacy became a part of this change. And she handled it, gracefully. This will win her another job, somewhere else.
    I’ve been down Stacy’s unemployment media road on a much smaller level. And it’s no fun being a part of the firing range. How one handles these difficulties, defines them as a person and professional.
    If this is true, Stacy will land on her feet again, with no problem.

  8. Thomas Gaunt
    January 13, 2012 | 9:55 pm

    I’ve watched a million years of every kind of sports broadcast and always liked her, thought she was above the others, a good catch for the Pacers, and the decision to go different way was typical overthinking infecting media. TJG

  9. JANE INDY
    November 22, 2013 | 8:54 pm

    Stacy Paetz has a sorta replacement. To this day in 2013 there has not been anyone like her because she had it all and can not be replaced; a real class act. The quality of announcing has also gone down…..Austin always does a great job but even he has not been on tv much since the season started. You would think the Pacers and FOX Sports would get a clue.

  10. tony
    January 25, 2014 | 10:23 pm

    we miss her,she was a great reporter,she was a pacer,we wish her well

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