Whether one plays in the actual game, keep the stats book or fill the water cups, every member of a sports team plays a role in its success; even the student managers.
Most mangers at Harding put in just as much time as those that are competing. They are required to take care of all the equipment, laundry, and be at all of the practices and games.
Student manager for the football team, sophomore Hayden Hobdy said that he puts in 15 to 20 hours of work outside of practice each week.
“My job requires taking care of every players equipment needs and doing a lot of laundry,” Hobdy said. “We take care of pads, gloves, helmets, uniforms and any other thing that the team needs to be able to perform their best on Saturdays and throughout the week.”
Student manager of the volleyball team, sophomore Lauren Suddath said she sometimes even jumps into the drills the team is doing when needed.
“I come to practices and help in any way that I can, whether that is running drills or getting in drills sometimes if girls are injured and not able to play or warming up with someone,” Suddath said. “They have a grad assistant who it’s her paid job to do most of the assistant work. I’m really just there to do whatever else they need done.”
Mangers also play an important role when it comes to their relationships with players on the teams.
“I was very close to our previous manager, Braden Allman. He would be up here in between laundry loads and we would study and do homework together,” senior Jack Thomas baseball player said. “I really like our current manager, Clay. He’s a solid dude and fits in with our team.”
Freshman basketball players Brandon Reeves and Garrett Sanderson said they spend a lot of time just hanging out outside of practice with their managers.
“They are more than just helpers on the team, they are members,” Sanderson said. “They are like brothers to me.”
The feeling is mutual for the men’s basketball manager, Kirby Christopher who is a junior and first year manager for the team.
“These group of guys are awesome. They don’t look down or treat us any differently just because we are managers,” Christopher said. “They treat me and all the other managers like players and we have a bond that can’t be broken.”
Coaches also value the hard work of managers as they play a huge part on the team.
“They play a huge role,” head football coach Paul Simmons said. “If we did not have our managers doing the jobs they do, it would be impossible for us to get things done because there are so many hours that are required that we just do not have without them. So they play a vital role and are really important to us.”
Often, the jobs managers do go unnoticed because sports fans do not see or know all of the work that goes on in the locker room
“They do a great job making sure we have everything we need. They sacrifice nights and weekends to do the dirty work, literally,” Thomas said. “They work odd hours and I’m grateful for their service for our programs.”