Friday, July 31, 2009

Exciting Day Today

Well, today finally got here!!!

Our fifteen student equipment managers showed up for work today at 9am. Today is officially their first day of the season. It appears that we have a GREAT group of managers. We return a bunch of great kids, and we were fortunate that we had a great group of kids that approached us about becoming a manager.

At sharply 9am, they had to endure my 1 hour sermon on what I expect of them. I covered everything from A to Z. I know they hate hearing it all, especially the veterans, but I enjoy doing it, and it is something that has to be done.

We have a great breakdown of younger and older, and from all over the country. We have 4 from Chicago IL area, 4 from California (3 Bay Area and 1 Sacramento), 1 from New York City, 1 from Orlando Florida, 1 from West Lafayette Indiana, 1 from El Paso Texas, 1 from Idaho/Ohio, and 2 from Arizona (1 Tucson and 1 Scottsdale).

After the sermon, they went right into this years draft. This is not only one of the most important things we do, they have alot of fun doing it. This is where the managers choose what players they will be doing Helmet and Shoulder Pad maintenance on, in addition to other responsiblities they will have for their players.

Below are pictures from this years draft:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today the Focus is on the Coaches

Anyone that knows me very well, knows that I love working with the coaches and student athletes here at UofA! I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. Our football coaches are without a doubt the BEST I have ever been associated with. Not only are they GREAT football coaches, but they are tremendous men and a bunch of fun to be around.

Each year, before the players report, we bring in seamstresses to custom fit our coaches slacks so they properly fit and our coaches are comfortable. Not only do they have their slacks fitted, but we have them try on their shirts, shoes to make sure we have the proper sizes. Then, they pick from the huge assortment of caps and visors from Nike that they want to have put out in their lockers on game days. We have found that this is the best way to cut down on confusion and rush right before games. The coaches really seem to appreciate the effort.

As you can see in the pictures below, we set up a little dressing room right here in the equipment room outside of my office with pipe and drape so they have some privacy. Ben Hulka had a list of everything they needed and recorded all the info the coaches gave us. Once they changed into their game gear, they went into the conference room and had the slacks marked for tailoring.

Once again, we brought in Tucson's best seamstresses from Mendel's Wife the Tailor, Susie and Diane (picture below). THEY ARE THE BEST!!!!! We never have problems, but if a coach loses weight during the season, they will touch them up with no problems.

Today is a very fun day each year, because it reminds us that the season is about to get under way!!! Enjoy some pictures below of today's activities:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Equipment Room has Special Guest Today

Amongst all of the hustle and bustle of getting the team ready for 2009 Training Camp, we had the Morning Trio of Max, Shannon and Porkchop of KIIM FM of Tucson stop by and pay us a visit in the equipment room. They have always been big supporters of the Wildcats and they wanted to check in to see what was going on. They love having Coach Mark Stoops on their show every Monday morning during the football season. I was so excited about having them stop by that I forgot to get pictures. Oh well, maybe next time.

We are almost done fitting all of the players for training camp in their Riddell helmets and shoulder pads.

One of the premier players in the Pac 10, Earl Mitchell of Northshore High School in the Houston Texas area, stopped by to get his gear checked out. Earl is one fierce dude on the field, but he won't say two words when he is in here.

We continue to put barcodes on all the new gear from Nike. Right now Tim has a couple of the guys getting barcodes on the golf team gear. Our golf team has their own contract with Nike in addition to the All School deal. Needless to say, we are doing alot of barcoding this time of the year.

Willie Salzman, Palo Alto CA, showed up a few days early and has volunteered to help out before the managers officially report on Friday. Willie is without a doubt our most spirited student manager!!!! The thing I love the most about Willie is his passion and enthusiasm about Wildcat Football. He loves this team!!! That is why we gave him the job of handing Coach Stoops the game balls for handing out after each win. No one deserves to be in the middle of that than Willie Salzman. Willie took summer school in the country of Chile this summer.

Enjoy today's pictures:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Help Arrived Today

We are very fortunate to have a very nice staff of student football equipment managers, and they all officially report this Friday. Each year we have a few that come in a few days early and help us get a jump on the first day. This year we had Jordan Bates, Ben Hulka, and Ryan Ewalt come in early to join Jeff Gallego (Sahauro HS, Tucson) that has worked in here all summer.

Today they are busy getting all the gloves barcoded and put away in the cabinet right next to the issue window. Gloves are something we issue everyday, so we store them handy to the window. Gloves are a very important piece of equipment that each player wears everyday.

We are still fitting and re-fitting about 20 players a day in their Riddell Helmets and Riddell CPX shoulder pads. The new Speed Revolution helmet is a hit among the players. We will definitely be wearing every single Speed helmet we brought in this season. We will only fit Revolution style helmets on our kids this season, whether it is the IQ or the Speed.

We are also very fortunate to have a bunch of really good guys on our football team!!! It is an absolute JOY to work with all of them. Our players really seem to appreciate our work that we do for the team. We love having them stop by and chit chat with us during this time. All of them seem very excited about the upcoming season. Tomorrow is their last day of summer lifting.

Two of our many favorites, Jovon Hayes and Herman Hall (George Bush HS in Houston):

Tim refits Robert Golden in his Riddell CPX shoulder pads:

Rob Gronkowski goes through refit of his Riddell helmet and CPX shoulder pads:

Jordan Bates, Orlando, FL, hit the door working with Benny on fitting helmets:

You have to have plenty of Nike gloves to get through a season:

Ryan Ewalt, El Paso, TX, putting gloves in drawers:

Ben Hulka, Chicago IL, getting glove cabinet ready:

Monday, July 27, 2009

We are Getting Into Full Swing Now

Tomorrow we have a few of the managers coming in early to help us get even more ready for the upcoming season. It looks like all of us have had a chance at a vacation or two this summer and now we are all back and ready to get things going.

We have done a pretty good job of putting things away as they come in during the summer, but with time off and vacations, it gets tough sometimes to keep up.

All of the managers report this Friday for the season. The players report on Tuesday officially, even though all of them have been here almost the entire summer. As a matter of fact, we have been able to fit many of the players already.

The seamstress will be here Thursday to custom fit the coaches slacks. From there, the next few weeks will seem like a blur.

The fun has officially begun today!!!!!! I posted a few pictures for you to enjoy:

Zac Cook getting ready to count in basketball gear that just arrived for the year:

Tim getting Tom up to date on things after Tom's vacation:

Jeff making sure we have inventory barcodes ready to put on pkgs for the cabinet:

Daniel is not only the hardest working guy we have, he is the nicest too:

We got our cabinets all loaded up with barcoded gear:

Benny drilling holes for strap locks on the helmet:

Benny fitting Kyle Day in his Riddell Revolution IQ helmet:

Austin getting Coach Stoops gear ready for his locker:

Armando having a social moment with the hardest worker in the room, Daniel:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We're Getting Close

Erick Harper (Director of Football Operations), Tim and I just got back from a brief meeting at Fort Huachuca where we will be spending about 5 days of training camp next month. Last year was a tremendous success, so we are going back this year, but for an extra day or two. The team bonding with the soldiers is exceptional!

We will be hauling all of the equipment down there on August 12th and getting set up for a few practices down there.

The weather is somewhat cooler down there, which is always nice. They have two huge Field Turf fields so we have a lot of room for practice.

One of my favorite things is that there is a Popeye's Fried Chicken right next to the gym where we set up each day!!!!!

I hope to blog each day with pictures while we are there for training camp.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gearing up!

Tim and I are here by ourselves, just like yesterday (poor Tim). Benny, Tom, Armando and Zac are all still on vacation.

Today we got many of our Nike shoes delivered. Yesterday, all of our new CPX shoulder pads hit the door. We are getting close, and we are EXCITED!!!

The players are working incredibly hard, and seem to have a winning attitude. Nic Grigsby came by yesterday admiring the new Speed helmet. He is a regular visitor to the equipment room. I always joke with him that when his playing days are over in the NFL, he needs to become an equipment manager. He loves talking shop with us.

Coach Dykes hung out with us some yesterday too. He is another regular visitor to the eq room. Even though he and Coach Nichol can never wait to get their new stuff each year, he generally doesn't come down for the gear and equipment, he just likes to visit. He, just like his older brother Rick who coached here with Coach Mackovic, is just a GREAT guy. Also just like Rick, he likes taking us to lunch every now and then.

July is one of my least favorite months for a few reasons. Mainly because a lot of the people I enjoy being around all the time are gone on vacation. Plus, it begins to be like a child at Christmas time, the days leading up to the start of football season just seem to drag on. I am definitely ready for camp to start.

As we get closer to camp starting, I hope to have more to write about. Then my goal is to blog as much as possible from start to end of the upcoming football season.

Oh yeah, with Benny being out on vacation, Tim and I got to issue the gear to 3 of our new basketball players. Wow, these guys are exciting to have around. They are great guys too!!! Sean Miller is the REAL DEAL!!!!!!