Football equipment managers troubleshoot for the team

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    Luke Tarazewich proudly sports an official Rose Bowl polo as he walks through campus. The senior business management student is not a football player, though he has been to every game.

    Tarazewich is an equipment manager, a part of the group that works behind the scenes of TCU football to make sure everything runs according to plan.

    “It’s time-demanding,” Tarazewich, who works  40 hours a week, said. “It’s like a full-time job.”

    Being an equipment manager involves much more than transporting and providing the correct equipment for players.

    “We make sure all the players are properly equipped both for practices and games, but we also assist coaches with any other needs they have on and off the field,” Tarazewich said.

    Each coach has his own equipment managers. Tarazewich, who works for the safeties coach, said he often gets out on the field in practices to help the athletes prepare. 

    “I’ll have to imitate another player to get a better look for the safeties,” Tarazewich said. “We’re more like troubleshooters. Whatever coaches need to get done, that’s what we’re there for.”

    Tarazewich said he heard about an equipment manager position from Mike Sinquefield, director of football operations. Sinquefield had an opportunity available that paid scholarship money, he said.

    Tarazewich’s teammate, senior Cam Cunningham, also joined the equipment management team his first year at TCU.

    Cunningham said an equipment management spot opened up two weeks before his first year at TCU. Cunningham was invited to interview with his current boss, Matt Lewis.

    “I took the job and never looked back,” Cunningham said.

    Like Tarazewich, Cunningham is required to attend all of the team’s practices and games.

    “Each one of us is a liaison to each of the coaches,” Cunningham said. “Whatever the coach needs during practice, we help out.”

    Luckily for equipment managers, the job description includes attending bowl games, too.

    “[The Rose Bowl] was the best week of my life,” Cunningham said. “We flew out with the team and got to do a lot that the team did, like visiting Disneyland.”

    All of the football student equipment managers work for Matt Lewis, TCU’s athletic equipment manager.

    Lewis gained national recognition last year by receiving the 2010 Glenn Sharp Award, which honors the National Equipment Manager of the Year and is awarded by the Athletic Equipment Managers’ Association .

    Last fall in New York City, Lewis unveiled the team’s new Nike uniforms for the 2010 season. Now, the Frogs have another new design for the 2011 season.

    A description of the new uniforms can be found on the athletics website. 

    “We became a Nike promo school, which means they have a lot more equipment for us since we’re getting more recognition nationwide,” Tarazewich said.

    This year, the equipment managers will still put in 40 hours a week to help the Frogs succeed on the field.

    “We put in a lot of time, and people don’t recognize it,” Cunningham said. “It’s all worth it.”