AZB Steve Mizerak Interview at Senior Masters, March 15, 2000

This is an old interview done by AZB with the late, great Steve Mizerak aka “The Miz”.

Mizerak was the founder and organizer of the Steve Mizerak Senior Masters tour.

This interview with Steve Mizerak took place in early March 2000, just prior to the 2000 Senior Masters in Tampa, Florida.

AZB Steve Mizerak Interview at Senior Masters, March 15, 2000

AZB Steve Mizerak Interview at Senior Masters, March 15, 2000

AZB: Tell us about the Steve Mizerak Senior Tour. How long have you been running it and how is it going?

Steve Mizerak: We have been running for about 3 1/2 years and it has been very successful. We do 5 or 6 tournaments a year. Prize money is a guaranteed total prize fund of $25,000 to $50,000. We had one event on television which was at the Grand Casino in Biloxi. And we are looking forward to this one in Tampa.

AZB: Can you tell us about the tourney coming up in Tampa?

Steve Mizerak: We have approximately 70 players. We are going to have players from everywhere. We even have players from China. The total guaranteed prize fund is $50,000 and the event is being sponsored by The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Brunswick Tables and Simonis Cloth.

AZB: Can you name some of the players who have already signed up to play?

Steve Mizerak: Nick Varner, Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe, Howard Vickery, Mike LeBron, Claude Bernatchez, Jose Parica. A slew of players.

AZB: Lets talk about some of the accomplishments in your pool life. What accomplishment are you the most proud of?

Steve Mizerak: Winning 4 US Opens in a row. From 1970 thru 1973.

AZB: You were elected in the BCA Hall of Fame in 1980. What was that like?

Steve Mizerak: To be honored amongst players like Willie Mosconi, Ralph Greenleaf, Irving Crane and other hall of famers was an honor.

AZB: Billiards Digest recently named their picks for the top 50 players of the century. You were named #6. What were your feelings about that?

Steve Mizerak: It was a great honor, public opinion is very important to me. I think it is very nice that they picked me so high on their list. I don’t pass judgement myself. I don’t want to say I should have been #2 or something like that because that is up the general public, not me.

AZB: I was speaking to a noted Billiards journalist a few months ago at a Camel event when you walked by and he nodded towards you and said “That man has done more for the game of pool than any other man playing right now.”. Can you tell us your thoughts on this?

Steve Mizerak: Again, that is somebody else saying that. You know, I work very hard at it. My wife works hard at it. We try to make the senior tour very successful. And we try to do other things that benefit the game of pool. It makes me feel good when we succeed in doing things the right way.

AZB: Most professional pool players started playing when they were young, and playing pool is just about all they have ever done. You are a little different. Can you tell us about that?

Steve Mizerak: I started when I was 4. I kept playing straight thru grammar school and high school. I went away to college and got a teaching degree. Taught school for 13 years. Owned a couple of businesses and here I am. I never left pool. I just played it on a part time basis while I was teaching.

AZB: Why was it important to have that time as a teacher?

Steve Mizerak: Well, you always want to teach the young children and hopefully make a difference in somebody’s life. You had to make a paycheck and pool was not the way to make a paycheck back then. You have that pressure on you daily. You either win or you are out on the street.

It’s a lot tougher with no job. I was fortunate to go to college and get a job and do a beer commercial. I was very lucky. God was very good to me and still is.

AZB: You dedicated one of your books to an internet regular, Richard Black, thanking him for renewing your interest in pool. Can you tell us the story behind that?

Steve Mizerak: Well, he made me a cue a long time ago. That cue gave me a lot of confidence. It just felt good in my hands. That one particular cue. I still have it and it’s one that I probably won’t ever sell. Richard and I don’t have much conversation lately but I still respect the cue he made for me.

AZB: OK, last question. You mentioned the Miller Lite Commercial. How many takes did it take for you to get all 3 of those shots to work like they did?

Steve Mizerak: You can’t really say it in that way. Sometimes there were other things that happened besides the shots going. The shots would go but the film wasn’t in focus. Someone in the background would sneeze. You know, somebody did something else.

We actually did it 181 times in 8 1/2 hours. We did it from about 9:30 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon. It was a long day, but it was a very successful day and it was a day that would change my career and my life. I owe a lot to Miller Lite and I also owe a lot to my wife Karen.

Players mentioned in this news article include:

  • Title: AZB Steve Mizerak Interview at Senior Masters, March 15, 2000
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 1/18/2017 11:53:42 AM
  • Last Updated: 1/18/2017 12:16:52 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum
  • Source: AZB

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