Saturday, March 27, 2010

A GREAT Friday!

Yesterday was just another ordinary GREAT day as a Wildcat! As I have mentioned, J.T. Galloway is down in Tucson during his Spring Break this past week, so he joined Tim and I as we went to visit Jeff Bopp of the Seattle Mariners. The four of us had a short visit, but it was AWESOME. I am so proud to be associated with these three guys! I have so much to be thankful for, but being able to have worked with these 3 AWESOME guys has been a true blessing.

Tim and I returned to McKale and got ready for Friday practice in Arizona Stadium. We are having to practice a lot in the stadium since we are totally renovating our practice facility. Our newly renovated Jiminez Practice Facility is going to be so nice!

Our football coaches and players continue to work hard each day this spring to build on what Coach Stoops has built here the past six years. It is so encouraging to go out to practice each day and see the development of our players each practice. Coach Edmonds and his staff have once again done a GREAT job of developing our players during the winter, and now you can see the difference out on the practice field.

We are about to have a scrimmage over at the stadium this morning. I hope to have pictures and a short story about today's events. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from yesterday.

Me with 3 SUPERSTARS of the industry (from Left to Right): Jeff Bopp, Seattle Mariners Clubhouse Attendant; Wendell, J.T. Galloway, University of Colorado Director of Equipment Operations; Tim Pfennig, UofA Equipment Manager:
Ryan Ewalt working hard catching up for passing drills during individuals:
Ryan Ewalt catching up for passing drills:

Mike Harlow helping run DB drills:

Managers working very hard as usual:
Zac Risdon catching up for the DB drill:

Coach Scelfo is already making a huge impact on our QB's and the entire offense!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Week Just Keeps Getting Better

Yesterday was a GREAT and EXCITING day with the official announcing of Greg Byrne as our new Athletic Director.

Today was another GREAT day because of the visitor we had today. I realize I throw out the word "BEST" a lot, but I have been blessed with the opportunity of working with some GREAT people, and one of the BEST dropped by today - J.T. Galloway who is the Director of Equipment Operations for the Colorado Buffaloes of the Big 12 Conference.

I had the pleasure of working with J.T. when he was a student at Washington State University in the early 1990's. I figured out real quick one thing extraordinary about J.T. He has NO enemies. J.T. is one of the rare kind of people in this world in that he has NO ONE who dislikes him! To know J.T. is to love him! If everyone in the world was like J.T., the world would have no problems. He would be the answer to world peace!

J.T. left Washington State after graduation and did an internship with University of Virginia. Then he went to the Atlanta Falcons as an intern, and left there as the number one full-time assistant. After the Falcons, he was the Head Football Equipment Manager for the Wake Forest Deacons of the ACC.

Not long after I arrived here at Universtiy of Arizona, I realized I needed to hire a hard working and loyal assistant to help me build what I dreamed of building here at the GREATEST school in the NCAA. I knew right away who I needed to hire and that was J.T. Galloway.

J.T. is the whole package!!! He made an immediate impact here at McKale. He deserves much of the credit for everything that has been accomplished here in the equipment room. He understands this business. He realizes that this is all about customer service and doing whatever is necessary to assist student-athletes, coaches and administrators. If I had to sum up J.T. in one word though, that word would be TRUST!

As I mentioned, J.T. deserves so much credit for so many things, and his impressions are still here today. Today, I rely on Tim Pfennig, just like I relied on J.T. 12 years ago. Having Tim as my right hand man today is just like having J.T. as my right hand man when he was here. Tim learned so much from J.T. when he first got here from University of North Carolina almost 8 years ago.

J.T. spent a few hours with us today since University of Colorado is on Spring Break and J.T. and his family are vacationing here in Tucson. We shared a lot of laughs and stories from years past.

I am so proud of everything J.T. has accomplished in his career as an equipment manager! He is one of the most respected equipment managers in the entire nation. Some might call me his mentor in this business, but I am here to tell everyone that I have learned much more from him then I could ever teach anyone about this business. It is funny how things work out. Because of my association with J.T. in this business, HE has made me a better equipment manager!!!

Two of the best guys I have ever had the pleasure of working with: Tim Pfennig and J.T. Galloway (Tim to my right and J.T. to my left):

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We just got out of our first All Staff Meeting with our new Athletic Director, Greg Byrne and all of us in the equipment room are very excited after hearing him talk.

My good buddy, Phil Silva, the equipment manager at Mississippi State where our new AD is from can not say anything but GREAT things about Greg Byrne! After this mornings meeting with him I can understand what Phil was telling me.

All Wildcat fans can feel certain that he is going to be a GREAT leader of this athletic department. One of the messages he told our staff this morning is how important our fans are, and how it is each and everyone of our jobs in the department to make sure our fans are satisfied.

I can not remember the last time I have been so excited about something. I have always said how fortunate I am to be a Wildcat at University of Arizona, but after this mornings meeting I feel even more excited than ever!

As I have noted on this blog many times, here in the equipment room, we are all about service, and that was his number one message: "we are all here to serve."

He also talked about how excited he is to be here in Tucson. He is ready to get here and get started.

Oh yeah, and for those of you worried about him graduating from need to worry. There is NO QUESTION where his loyalty is now. You have to believe me when I say, TODAY IS A GREAT WILDCAT WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Bopper

I have mentioned many times on this blog just how fortunate I am to have this job, and how fortunate I have been and how fortunate I am to be able to work with GREAT people.

Well, last Tuesday was an awesome day because one of the ALL TIME GREATS, Jeff Bopp dropped by the equipment room for a visit.

Jeff now works as a clubhouse attendant for the Seattle Mariners, and he is working in Peoria with the club as they go through Spring Training. This past Tuesday he got a day off and he spent the day with a drive down to Tucson to visit with us in the equipment room.

I have had the pleasure of working with Jeff at two different places, Washington State and here at Arizona.

I first met Jeff as a student at Washington State where he worked as a student assistant in the equipment room with us in Pullman. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my 31 year career was to hire Jeff as a full time assistant! Not long after arriving here in Tucson, I convinced him to come down to UofA and help me build something special here. He did not disappoint, as he came and built a solid base for Men's Basketball and Baseball here in McKale equipment room.

I knew when I hired Jeff that one of his dreams was to work in the clubhouse of a major league baseball team, especially his hometown Seattle Mariners. So I was not upset at all when he left UofA to be the clubhouse guy for the Triple A Tacoma Rainiers of the Seattle Mariner organization. He told me then that it would be a step closer to achieving his ultimate dream.

It was an easy decision to support, especially since he did such a GREAT job here in the short amount of time he was a Wildcat.

I am so proud of "Bopper" because he is proof that good things happen to good people who work hard! He has always had the best attitude about our line of work. He understands our role within our teams and he always did a great job of executing the plan.

Coaches and players alike have always loved the "Bopper". He is an easy guy to love. All of us that have been fortunate enough to work with him still use many of his "famous" one liners and other funny lines.

I will always be thankful for his hard work and loyalty towards me! I was taught to surround myself with great people and things will work out for the best. Well, again, "Bopper" proves things to be right, because my association with him over the years has made my situation a GREAT one, and he deserves much of the credit!

Thanks Jeff for making last Tuesday, and my whole career a great one. You are one of a kind, and will always be one of the BEST OF ALL TIME!

Wendell and Jeff Bopp of the Seattle Mariners:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First Annual Football Equipment Clinic

We are very excited to announce our First Annual Football Equipment Clinic, which will be held June 19, 2010 here in Tucson.

We already have commitments from some of the industries top people to lead in workshops, ranging from football helmet and shoulder pad safety and fitting, to professional laundry service, and everything in between!

We will also have equipment managers from some of the top programs in the country that will be leading workshops and also be available to answer any questions on important topics.

We have made a commitment to have at least .5 CEU's available for those equipment managers who are certified through the Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA). We hope to have even more available for CEU's.

We realize many certified equipment managers will not be able to make it to the national convention in Chattanooga this summer, so we hope any of those interested will plan a trip to Tucson this summer to help make this annual clinic a success.

We encourage any person that follows this blog to contact me if you are interested in leading a workshop, or have suggestions to help make this the best clinic possible.

We are very close to having our website launched that will provide much more information on this annual event. Stay tuned for more information about the website.

We are also planning a golf outing the day before at Dell Urich Golf Course here in Tucson. We will also have information coming soon about hotel headquarters for those coming from out of town that may want to play golf on Friday, June 18 and stay for the clinic the following day.

The golf outing is for ANYONE who wants to have a lot of fun and have a chance to win incredible prizes. We already have many items that will be given away through raffle tickets that will be given to each participant. Extra raffle tickets will also be available for purchase.

Anyone interested in just playing golf can contact me to get on the list to play. The golf tournament will also be part of the Football Equipment Clinic website. You can sign up as an individual, or as a team. Cost is only $50 per player, and it includes everything from Green Fees, Golf Cart, Tee Prizes and raffle tickets. The golf will begin with a shotgun start at 12:30 on Saturday, June 18, 2010. Again, ANYONE can be a part of the golf on Friday, you do NOT have to be signed up for the clinic to play golf.

This big weekend is sure to be very beneficial for the professional equipment manager and/or football coach that wants to learn more about safety in football equipment, PLUS a lot of fun too.

Please contact me if you are interested at any level of this HUGE event.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What a GREAT Weekend!

Not just because we got to have three AWESOME football practices this weekend, the weekend was a huge success for a number of reasons.

First of all, the visit to our campus of Dan Vooletich, our key account rep for Riddell, was a huge benefit for the Wildcats! Voo arrived on Friday morning and he went to work immediately with our staff and players.

As I mentioned before on this blog, not many shoulder injuries occur from a direct hit on the AC joint of the shoulder, but most of the time the AC joint will become injured from falling wrong, either landing on the elbow or arm and causing an injury in the AC joint. There are other ways also, but the key is that once that injury occurs, the AC joint becomes very sensitive to more direct hits. That was the case with every single one of our shoulder injuries this past season.

One of the things that we worked with Voo on for some of our players is "beefing up some pads" on certain players. Hopefully this will minimize the re-occurring of problems with some of our past shoulder problems. The shoulder is a very delicate part of the body that doesn't do well with much of the hits and motions that players put it through in the routine of a season.

One of the things that will help shoulder injuries more than anything is strength, and that is why the weight room is so important! Coach Edmonds in his staff do an INCREDIBLE job with this and that is why we have seen such a decrease in injuries since Coach Stoops has arrived. Injuries are going to happen, there is nothing we can do to prevent ALL injuries, but we can all work hard together to minimize them. Dan Vooletich being here this weekend will help with that effort so much. We are fortunate to have him as a part of our team! He also works with about a third of the NFL teams and fits many of their players in helmets and shoulder pads. Thanks Voo for all you do for us!!!!!!

We had three GREAT practices and I love the way our team is set up for the future!!! Coach Stoops has done an incredible job with this program and he has made this team even better during the off season!!!!! I love our team attitude and work ethic. I feel so fortunate to be this teams equipment manager!!!!!

It was also a great weekend for Men's basketball, sweeping UCLA and USC in hoops over the weekend. Coach Sean Miller and his staff ended up fourth in the conference playing 5 freshmen most of the year. Coach Miller reminds me so much of Coach Stoops in the fact that he does NOT cut corners and try to fix things quick. He is building this basketball program back to the Championship level it once use to be, on day at a time. I guarantee that when it comes back to Championship level, it will be stronger than before!!!! These guys are LEGIT, not to mention great guys to work with on a day to day basis. They are not only great coaches, but better people. I am so happy they are here!!!!

One of the equipment room's favorite people, Andy Lopez, our baseball coach, led his team to win 2 out of 3 from the strong Cal State Fullerton baseball program. Again, just like Men's basketball, coach Lopez is playing with a lot of freshmen.

This weekend was just a reminder of how fortunate I am to be the equipment manager of this AWESOME athletic program!!!! We have the BEST student-athletes and coaches of any program in the country!!!

Managers snapping balls to the QB's in yesterdays practice at Salpointe:
Coach Stoops talking to new secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator, Greg Brown, on first day of spring practice in the stadium on Friday:

Tim adjusting a helmet during practice yesterday at Salpointe:
Three incredibly important people which make our operation a success! (Left to Right): Tim Pfennig, Dan Vooletich of Riddell, and Benny Conger:

Voo fitting Paul Vassallo in new CPX shoulder pads for spring practice:

Voo fitting Derek Earls in new shoulder pads for spring ball:
Voo showing the customized cup on the new CPX 50 pads we brought in for Nic to try this spring:

Voo adjusting some "beefed up and customized" CPX 50 pads on Nic:

Voo showing Nic the different kind of channels that can be put in the PM 86 RB style shoulder pad:

Nic with PM86 RB style shoulder pads:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring Football Starts This Afternoon

This morning has been a GREAT morning already! We are awaiting the arrival of Dan Vooletich of Riddell who is going to work with us on next years order, along with trying a few different pads for some players. We are always looking for ways to get better, and Voo works with many NFL teams along with major college programs, and he is going to show us some things that are happening in the industry. Many shoulder injuries occur without a direct hit to the shoulder area, but once an injury occurs, any hit a player takes in the shoulder compounds the pain and injury. Voo is going to spend the weekend with us and be at our first two practices!

We are very excited about getting Spring Practice started! Our players seem ready too! They have all been by to see us to make sure their helmet and shoulder pads are fitting correctly. This is something we do before every spring practice season.

I hope to have pictures up from our practice later this afternoon.

Now, as far as the exciting news! I have received many calls and emails wanting to know what we are so excited about and I feel like the news is much more exciting to us than it is to others, but none the less, WE ARE EXCITED!

This summer we (the equipment room) are hosting a Football Equipment Clinic and Golf Tournament here in Tucson. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time and I finally decided to JUST DO IT!!!

I have already lined up some good speakers for some workshops on Helmet and Shoulder pad fitting and safety, and there will more workshops too. The clinic will be held on Saturday, June 19, 2010 and the golf tournament will be the day before.

So, if you are interested in joining us, please mark down June 18 and 19 this summer and come join us in Tucson for a great time. I will be releasing more details in the very near future about both the golf and clinic, so stay tuned. Please email me if you have any questions or suggestions for the clinic. We want this to be a premier event in terms of educational value for football coaches and equipment managers.

Sorry if the "exciting news" was a huge disappointment!

Have a GREAT weekend!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NO! This is NOT the Exciting News

Well, today was a busy normal day in the equipment room as we continue to fit and re-fit football players for Spring Practice that begins this Friday.

Plus, today at 5pm is a Baseball game against UNLV, so Benny and his guys are busy getting the team ready for the game this afternoon.

Then I got a visit from two of my favorite cheerleaders, Jill Moore who is a Freshman from Orange County, and Kendall Conedera who is Senior from Scottsdale. The Cheerleaders are some of our best athletes in McKale, and some of the hardest workers.

We treat our Cheerleaders like all of the other student-athletes of our 19 varsity sports. They get work out gear and uniforms just like the other athletes.

Of course we get excited each time athletes, current and former, come by to say hello, but that is not the exciting news we are waiting to share with everyone. I am afraid many will think getting a visit from Jill and Kendall, along with MoMo Jones and Nic Grigsby within an hour of each other is a lot more exciting than what I am hoping to announce later this week.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A GREAT Wildcat Monday in McKale

One of my favorite things to do in my free and spare time is to read It is without a doubt one of my favorite things to read when I want to know what true Wildcat fans are really thinking.

Early this morning I clicked on there as usual just to see what is going on and I saw where this blog was being mentioned and where I said there was some exciting news coming. I sure am hoping that I didn't set expectations way too high. What is exciting for us, may NOT be so exciting to the normal fan.

I want to clear one thing up for certain. It has nothing to do with anything about football uniforms. Sorry. Hopefully it is a little more exciting than a copier or water cooler (it is for us for sure).

We are very passionate about what we do in the equipment room for all Wildcats, and with this passion comes excitement. That is who we are! I have received emails today from some followers, co-workers in McKale, and others about the big news coming. I apologize for getting peoples hopes up. Again, it is HUGE news for us in the equipment room and hopefully exciting for some of our followers.

I am waiting on some confirmation from others before I release the information we are excited about, but as soon as I feel we can release the info I will get it out.

This is a GREAT opportunity to thank all of you who read this blog. I love hearing from all of you and I appreciate your interest in our equipment operation. Stop by and see us anytime you are in McKale, we would love to say thank you in person!

Everyday is a GREAT day in McKale, but we really enjoyed a visit from Antoine Cason earlier today. It is always fun to have former players come back to say hello, but Antoine is one of the nicest and classiest players to ever suit up for the Wildcats, and his extended visit made this Wildcat Monday a GREAT one!!!!