For sophomore Grant Miller, a typical day as an equipment manager for Nebraska Athletics includes doing laundry.
Lots of laundry.
“So I come in, go pick up the laundry from all of the locker rooms, go put it in the washer, then I move it to the dryer and then I fold it,” Miller said.
The main duties of the equipment managers is to make sure laundry is clean and the athletes have everything they need for the games, including warm-up outfits and athletic sleeves. For the students, a typical day in the life includes loads upon loads of laundry.
“We do laundry for both basketball teams, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, track and field and cross country,” Miller said.
He initially found the job after he heard his brother’s friends talk about working in the equipment room. Miller said it seemed like fun, and decided to pursue the job. He talked to Patrick Norris, head of the Devaney equipment crew, about his interest in the job and started working for the crew shortly after.
In addition to the towering loads of laundry, the group works the men’s basketball games and makes sure the team’s equipment is ready. Freshman Kalli Meyer said being a part of the games is one of her favorite things about the job.
“It’s amazing going to the basketball games,” she said, “and you are right out on the court, and you are with them when they are getting ready for their game and when they are singing and dancing out on the court. It is just so different than what you would see when you are out on the bleachers.”
Whether students work directly with the teams or in the background as equipment managers, Norris said that every position at Nebraska Athletics has some importance.
Norris said having students in these positions can help with the efficiency of the equipment room.
“Since we’re in a university setting, it just seems natural to have students around to help with day-to-day tasks,” Norris said. “The help that they provide in the equipment room allows for the full time equipment managers to be more focused on things like adidas orders, budgets, inventory, travel, etc.”
Norris said there is a mutual benefit that comes along with employing students. Having worked in the equipment room for 15 seasons, getting to know his student coworkers is one of his favorite things.
“Keeping up with everything that they do after they leave here and hopefully having a positive impact on their time in school is my favorite thing about getting to work with students,” Norris said. “Plus, as someone who is almost 20 years removed from school, it helps keep me feeling young.”
The students work around 20-30 hours a week, depending on the number of sporting events going on. But, even with the hefty hours, the schedule is fairly flexible. For senior Jake Kuhlman, that was one of the more appealing things about the job.
“We send Pat our class schedule, and he schedules us around that,” Kuhlman said. “So, you never have to worry about a class and work conflict. If you need to go study for a test you have coming up, usually someone is able to cover for you.”
For many students working within the equipment crew, the opportunity to be on the inside track of Nebraska Athletics is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
“I mean, just being a part of sporting events, even in college,” Meyer said, “I know many people can’t say they are a part of that.”