Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Part of the football off season is getting organized for the next season. Yes, the work never seems to end.

To me, the official ending of a football season is when your helmets and shoulder pads go off to the reconditioner. Well, since Fed Ex picked up our 30 bags yesterday, today is the first official day of "off season".

One of the things we noticed in working on our helmet and shoulder pad order during inventory was that our Pad Room which stores all of our helmet and shoulder pads, as well as accessories for those pads had lots of years of un-used stuff. Plus, we have decided to issue and fit "concussion reduction" style of helmets from here on out. We still have a few VSR-4 helmets, but we are only going to use those on individual situations where Revolutions do not fit or work properly.

So, we are completely starting over with stocking that room. Benny is in charge of the operation and is doing a great job. He is so familiar with Riddell product since he worked at their factory for awhile. He is such an asset, not only for his hard work and knowledge, but the guy is funnier than all get out. It seems all we do anymore around here is laugh (which is a GREAT thing!!).

Another thing we have noticed is that the label on the CPX pads (which we now use exclusively) which lets the customer know what style and size the pads are come off way too often. So to remedy that problem, we are engraving the style and size on each pad. We will now make that standard operating procedure when they come in new. We have always engraved an inventory number on each pad when they arrive new.

Along with the project, we are taking all of the VSR-4's out of there along with the facemask and parts. We are also now taking all of our non CPX pads to surplus stores. We are no longer offering the PM pads.

Some of the never worn CPX pads we still have left over from this past season waiting for an engraving job:

Zac Cook helping out with organizing of the Pad Room:

Tim and crew working hard in Pad Room getting organized for next season:

Tim engraving style and size on the CPX pads before putting them away:

Tim and Banker getting organized in Pad Room:

Benny putting the newly engraved CPX pads away by style, and having fun doing it:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jack Banker turns 19

Last Friday was one of our favorite worker's birthday, Jack Banker. Jack is from West Lafayette Indiana. He is a freshman and has been working in the Equipment Room from the first day he stepped foot on campus last August.

His main duties his first year was assisting Benny Conger with Men's Basketball and Baseball. Because he was so dependable, he quickly began doing all kinds of other duties. If only all the students were as hard working and responsible as him!!!!

This past spring he approached Tim and I about the possibility of becoming a football student manager. He volunteered this spring during Spring Football practice, and he also came out for early morning conditioning drills in February.

We have had the pleasure of meeting both his mom and dad and it is easy to see why he turned out to be such a great kid. A bunch of us took him to Dirtbags for lunch for his birthday. Benny was out of town for a rare day off, but he called Jack and told him to come into work at 11am on Friday. Of course, Jack showed up 15 minutes early and wanted to know what Benny needed him to do. Once every one showed up at 11 too, we surprised him with a birthday lunch. Fun times indeed!!!!

The equipment room gang wishing Jack a Happy Birthday. We took him to Dirtbags for lunch. Back row (left to right): Tim Pfennig, Justin Kokowskie (basketball trainer), Tom Boesel, Ryan Ewalt, Ben Hulka, Armando Altamando. Front row (left to right): Zack Cook, Jack Banker

Birthday boy at Dirtbags with the guys:

Jack with one of our favorite waitresses at Dirtbags:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Someone call Fed Ex

Well today is the day all the helmets and shoulder pads got bagged up and ready for Fed Ex Freight to pick up so they can go to Riddell/All American in San Antonio.

We called in the super stars of Riddell/All American, Dan Vooletich and Jeff Watson to make sure everything will go as planned when the bags are at the plant.

Jeff Watson is the Tucson Rep for Riddell/All American, and Dan Vooletich is one of Riddell/All American's Regional Sales Managers. Dan also serves as our Key Account Manager. Dan is based out of San Antonio.

We also turned in our new helmet and shoulder pad order today. We ordered 46 CPX shoulder pads and 60 helmets. We are ordering 30 Revolution IQ helmets, and 30 of the new Revolution Speed helmets.

Today we are shipping 30 bags to San Antonio that include 124 CPX shoulder pads for reconditioning, and 226 helmets. They will clean and sanitize every item and check for any defects and repairs. Every helmet and shoulder pad will come back looking brand new!!!! If it can not be fixed they will reject the piece of equipment.

As mentioned before, we believe 100% in Riddell/All American and know two things for sure. One, we will get the best service available, and two, we will be protected with the best insurance policy in the business.

Voo putting the finishing touches on the bags bound for San Antonio:

Dan Vooletich calling Fed Ex Freight to come pick up the bags:
Jeff Watson getting shoulder pad bags tightly secured:

Jeff looking at helmet with Benny looking on:

Getting the helmets ready for the bags:

Benny helping out with all the work:
Jeff Watson making sure everything is written down correctly:
Voo and Benny working hard:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reconditioning Preperation

For the last couple of days, the managers have been coming in individually and carefully going through each of their drafted players helmets and shoulder pads and recording information to help us check those items in when they return from the plant.

I believe this is very important for a few reasons.

One thing it does is familiarize the managers with the equipment. It helps them be able to tell the difference between different styles of helmets and shoulder pads.

The other thing that it does is keep records up to date. From time to time during the season players change things with their equipment and it does not always get recorded and documented. Record keeping is essential in my opinion. It always allows you to know up to date data in terms of what your players wear and easier to break down by position. Knowledge is powerful.

Then the other important thing that it does is give you a record of what each player was last wearing so if by accident the factory did something different than what we sent we know how to adjust that. Sometimes name or number recognition on a particular piece of equipment can get lost while of being reconditioned. Doing this exercise makes it very easy to see what piece of equipment belongs to what player.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reconditioning Time

Well, it is that time of the year. Collect all the gear from the players and then send off all the helmets and shoulder pads to be reconditioned.

Once again, we will be sending our helmets and shoulder pads to San Antonio, Texas to the Riddell/All American reconditioning plant. I have been sending my teams equipment there for 25 years now.

I sent in there when I was the equipment manager at Sam Houston State. Back then it was called Alamo. Then, while I was at Washington State University I sent it there too. Now, in my eleventh year at UofA, I still send it there.

Riddell/All American have other plants around the country, and once or twice I would send my stuff there for more specific reasons like special paint jobs or something like that.

I have always been a big proponent of reconditioning. I see it as a necessity in terms of doing what is best for your team. There are many reasons I use Riddell/All American, but one of the biggest is the amount of liability insurance they back up their work with. One of the other big reasons I continually use them is because the kind of people that they are. I have been using them pretty much my entire career and they have had nothing but top notch people working for them. Mr. Cecil Jones is the best way to describe that. He was running Alamo when I was a student manager at University of Houston and he is still there today.

So a week from today, another couple of great guys will be here to bag up our gear for another year of reconditioning at Riddell/All American. Dan Vooletich and Jeff Watson will be here so we don't have to worry about our stuff being re-certified for another year.

This decision is one of the easiest things I do each year. Just pick up the phone and say "let's do it again".

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's Miller Time

Yesterday was another exciting day to come to work at McKale Center. After a long wait, Jim Livengood brought his guy, Sean Miller, to Tucson so he could introduce him to the media and a host of loyal fans.

Coach Miller also had his family with him for the introduction. His wife Amy, and three boys also seemed excited about the frenzy. They arrived at McKale with hundreds of Zona Zoo fans chanting and cheering for the new coach. Coach Miller went through the large student body of fans and shook hands and thanked them for coming.

The students were not the only fans happy with Livengood's choice. Many people flooded the lower level of McKale and the floor to witness the new era of basketball in Tucson.

The first thing Coach Miller did was thank Coach Olson for being in attendance and he told Coach Olson that he was honored to be the coach that carries on the tradition he started.

Many were in attendance at the Sean Miller press conference:

Coach Miller addressing the media at the press conference on the floor of McKale Center:

Coach Miller addressing the reporters on the floor of McKale:

Steve Kerr and Coach Olson two of the many excited Wildcats in attendance at the press conference:

Jim Livengood very happy and all smiles at the press conference:
The best AD in the business with his newest coach, Sean Miller:

Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 Spring Game White vs Blue

Well the Spring Game was a huge success, and it actually had a very exciting ending. Matt Scott threw a touchdown pass to Terrell Turner on the last play of the game to win it for the White Team over the Blue Team.

Once again, we had many visitors for the game. We even had some hang out in the equipment room with us for awhile. I am trying to get better at asking for pictures, but I forget too much of the time.

Pictured below is Barrett Baker's beautiful family. They were nice enough to come down and visit with us for some time after the game. Barrett will go down as one of the nicest players of all time. He was a key member of our 12-1 Holiday Bowl Championship team.

Barrett Baker, Team Captain of the 1998 Holiday Bowl Champions and his family:

Part of the very nice crowd for the game:

Erick Harper (left) talking to Terry Swartz of Nike during the game:

From left to right: Chris Henry of the Tennessee Titans, Wilrey Fotenot of the Arizona Cardinals, and Mike Thomas (Pac 10 Career Receptions Leader)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Football Alumni Weekend

From left to right: Ronnie Platt, Tim Pfennig, Wendell, Ben Hulka:
Today caps the Football Alumni Weekend with the Spring Game over at the Stadium. Yesterday was the golf tournament at Arizona National.

Once again, Frankie Acosta of the former letter winners office put on a terrific event. Yours truly even won the Closest to the pin on Hole #6 and won a bag and cap donated by yours truly.

I had a blast playing with current co-workers, Tim Pfennig, Ben Hulka and Ronnie Platt. Even though our score did not get in the top 3 (actually we weren't close), I feel certain we had the most fun. The highlight of our round was Ben making an unbelievable up and down on number 10 from the desert. It did cost him numerous cactus needles to his back side. What a team player!!!!

It was a lot of fun had by all. There were former players from way back in the day, up to guys like Longacre, Bonzio, Trethaway that finished playing this past year. Many of my all time favorites were there too, but my highlight of the day was getting to see Bobby Wade again. He will always go down as one of my all time favorite players and all time favorite people. It was fun getting to visit with him again.

Coach Stoops has done a great job of getting these former players involved in today's program, even if they didn't play for him. All the former players seem to love what Coach Stoops has done and what he is doing for the Arizona Wildcat football program.