Handling dirty laundry and practice equipment might not appeal to some, but the athletic department’s equipment managers consider it another day on the job.Head equipment manager Adam Borts, who oversees all of the equipment staff’s functions while focusing primarily on the football team, said he loves his job because it allows him to interact with college athletes on a daily basis.
“My favorite thing is that I don’t have to grow up,” he said. “I hang out with the college football players all day long, listen to their stories, shoot the (stuff) with them. I’ve always been a big fan of college sports and I get to be around it every day.”
An equipment manager’s primary duty is to clean all of the teams’ dirty laundry — and there is plenty to go around. Borts said there is sometimes 500 pounds to wash in a single day “We always have a student down here pumping it through,” he said. “We have two 60-pound washers and three 75-pound dryers, so we can get going. That’s about 13 household washers going at once, so we can plow through laundry pretty quick.”
Borts and assistant equipment manager Lacey King receive help from 17 student workers, who also have plenty of other duties with the job.
“All of my students are responsible for a coach during practice days,” Borts said. “Someone will be responsible for Randy Hedberg, the quarterbacks coach. They will be snapping balls, making sure the field is set up, placing the ball where it needs to go so we are ready to run drills during practice.”King handles sports other than football, and her students don’t always have the chance to be involved with the practices themselves.
“I’ve got kids down on my end doing laundry all day for the other sports, so we are making sure that all of their practice equipment and workout gear is getting clean and getting it back to them,” she said. “We don’t have to do as much during practice as football does, we just make sure their stuff gets to them so they can have what they need on the court while they are practicing.”
Borts said the student workers he employs tend to be sports management or parks and recreation majors who enjoy being around athletics. He said the job gives these students an opportunity to see college athletics from all angles.
“Seeing the management and how it works, you see all aspects,” he said. “You’ll work with the ticket agent, you work with game-day operations, so you get to see everything that goes on and how it works, which will help you in the future when you want to be a manager at a sports complex or you want to run a professional team.”
Borts said the worst aspect of the job is the tremendous load of hours he must work, which is typically 60-80 hours a week during the season. However, he said he is rewarded by the opportunity to help student athletes.
Junior punter Austin Pucylowski said the majority of student athletes respect the equipment staff.
“They are good kids,” he said. “I kind of look at them as football players as well because they are up just as early as we are getting ready for practice. They are spending just as much time at school and practice as we are. They work hard.”