The ability to plan far enough in advance is what sets great equipment managers apart from the good ones. Planning for everything — from equipment movement, to player transportation, and a whole lot more — defines the job descriptions for equipment managers.
Dylan Marinez, head football equipment manager for Michigan State University, knows that besides communication, proper planning can mitigate “personality issues” that tend to crop up when tensions rise within a program.
“We’re going to Arizona State University this year,” he says. “That’s a long trip for us; we’re not usually going that far.”
To get the Spartans prepared for the game, Marinez reaches out to Arizona State shortly after Spring Football to get the ball rolling.
“I work very closely with their operations people,” he says. “For that trip, we are working with operations, athletic trainers, figuring out how our setup’s going to look, which hotel we’re staying in, and all that’s just to start. We try to jump on these details as soon as possible because moving 200 people around out there is nuts.”
Planning and communication go hand-in-hand for a long trip. From East Lansing, Mich., to Tempe, Ariz., Marinez and his staff are looking at a trip of more than 1,900 miles. They get one chance to get it right.
“We’ve been working with Arizona State’s equipment managers all summer, visiting with their liaison, and they’ve been great,” says Marinez. “But, the more we can prepare and make things go smoothly, the better. I tell all the managers every year — 20 times a year — if the players and the coaches don’t notice us on a game weekend, then we did an awesome job.
“It means that there wasn’t a hitch. I assume the other departments pretty much think the same thing. The last thing you want to deal with is a hitch on a trip. The more smooth you can make things up front, the better.”
Chris Bacsik is head football equipment manager for Notre Dame University. He says that Notre Dame has started getting the department heads together for meetings once every couple of weeks to address any problems that seem to be cropping up, and the approach is working well.
“We have the heads of the support staff get together and just bring up any sort of issues, go over topics that happen at a higher level that sometimes we’re not aware of,” says Bacsik. “Things that may be happening on campus or decisions that may be made that — possibly in the past — you heard through the grapevine. Now, it’s more of a, ‘Hey, we want everybody to be a part of this process.'”
RELATED ARTICLE: Helmet Fitting For Football Coaches
Notre Dame’s associate head coach brings everyone together — whether it’s administration, personnel, equipment, training, strength and conditioning — and everybody brings something to the table, any issues that may be coming up that they want to address.
“This is a recent addition for us, and it’s worked pretty well so far,” says Bacsik. “Sometimes, you may not see somebody from a specific department for a couple days, maybe a week or two. It’s a great time for everybody to get all their stuff out on the table.”
This article was written by Paul Markgraff, managing editor of AFCA Magazine and AFCA Insider. Follow him on Twitter at Football Coach Daily.