Mike Nemeth grew up in his family’s bar in Painesville, Ohio, and many of his friends were Veterans he met at the bar. He became interested in attending West Point while learning about military history with his grandfather, and received encouragement from two high school teachers. One of Mike’s high school friends was a Cadet, and although he stated that his experience was “miserable,” he refused to quit, and he recommended Mike visit the Academy. At West Point, Mike did well academically and militarily, and consistently improved physically, but his true calling was writing “Center Stall,” a weekly satire paper that developed a cult following. He began writing the paper to improve morale around the Academy following the September 11th attacks in 2001. During his Cow year, he started branching out by doing videos. As a Firstie, he ran the Marine Corps Marathon and suffered a catastrophic heat injury, with his body temperature rising to 108o. Following his injury, he was unsure if he would graduate, commission, or be able to serve. He was commissioned, but separated under a Medical Review Board shortly after. Feeling like he was adrift with no support system, he entered the business world. After a few jobs that went nowhere, he eventually earned an MBA from Ohio State and started his own business in athletic apparel, Emblem Athletic. In his spare time, he plans and executes pranks against the Naval Academy.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his time at West Point, and his experiences in the business world. He highlights producing “Center Stall” and some of the videos he made, discussing various interactions with the Academy Staff and Faculty. He ties in the story of the Marine Corps marathon, remembering that, as he slipped into a coma, he focused on living so that he could complete the Army-Navy video that year. He describes his initial steps into the business world, including successes and failures, and starting his own company. He recalls some of his best “Beat Navy” pranks, including a “press release” by the Annapolis City Council announcing “Go Army Day,” and his blank book “Discipline the Annapolis Way.” Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to him.