The unsung heroes: Team managers
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 00:02
Athletic team managers are usually seen on the sidelines fetching water and towels for the players, but the managers at Indiana State have more responsibilities than what fans see.
“Our best managers are ones that found things to do rather than wait for us to give them an order,” said John Gartland, head women’s cross country and assistant track and field coach.
Senior communication major Zach Chike, gave his services to the ISU football team. Chike transferred from Iowa State, where he was a foot player but, due to a back injury, he had retire earlier than expected. Chike said he enjoyed his time as manager. He was a football player, so he enjoyed being out on the field and a part of the team.
“Managers get to be a part of a very good team,” Gartland said. “They are indispensable and we treat them as if they are one of the athletes even though they aren’t on the track or in the one of the field events. They are still contributing hugely with all the things that they do.”
Chike said the reasoning for him becoming a manager was to have an impact on people’s lives by sharing his faith with the rest of the team. He said he comes from a similar lifestyle.
“I became a Christian in 2010,” Chike said. “I just wanted to share my faith through being a manager and the way I serve the team.”
Managers play a large role in team morals, said Gartland. The managers experience the same victories and pains the team feels during and after competition. Just like the players and coaches, managers become attached to the team.
Some of Chike’s and other football managers’ responsibilities would vary from practice to game days. During practice, Chike ran every drill that the team did. For seven on seven drills he would hike the ball. Chike would also spot the ball during practices and went along with the receivers because he was once a receiver.
“There was no financial support,” Chike said. “The money would go toward the players and scholarships first. That wasn’t a problem for me because I came on the football team to serve the team so that’s what I did.”
Before leaving for meets, the track managers help pack bags by separating each athlete’s appropriate size and color uniforms and placing them into the correctly assigned bag.
Chike said, All the football managers would help out and set up cones on the field. They have to set up all the players’ pads. All the equipment for each station, separated by position, needs to be set up before practice by the managers.
“For games, I would set the kicking nets, making sure we have all the game balls, making sure we had everything that’s needed,” Chike said. “Making sure pre-game balls are in the right spaces for the players when they come out the locker rooms. Also, in the locker before the team gets there, we would set up jerseys and equipment and laid them out for the players, so when they get there they would just throw it on and start the game.”
Chike said, he shows up 30 minutes or an hour before hand to set it all up and make sure it’s all in the right station. Managers also have to maintain the order of the equipment so coaches can on their athletes.
“What I would struggle with the most was just practices,” Chike said. “I struggled with conflict with my classes and one time I missed a test and it sucked because I can’t make it up. It was difficult in that aspect.”
For the track team, managers have a large number of responsibilities to fulfill, said Gartland. At meets for cross country and track, it is important for coaches to have records of the splits, which are the times of each lap for some events that expand past a single lap and series, the measurements of each throw and jump. Also, at meets, managers record video of races, throws and jumps so coaches and athletes can review, and feedback can be given to the athletes.
Traveling with the team is dictated by how much space and money is available to accommodate the team. Gartland said the team tries to have managers travel as much as possible. All three of the track managers are currently going with the team to the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championship.
The NCAA monitors managers’ grade as if they were athletes. Managers must maintain a 2.0 grades point average and be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester.
“The only requirements we have is a desire to do it,” Gartland said.