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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

THE TEAM BEHIND THE SCENE

Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals posted this on his twitter last night and I wanted to run a portion of it on our blog today because I have long believed in the value of student-managers.  I've been blessed to have been associated with some amazing young women and men that have made huge sacrifices behind the scenes to make our program successful.  I remember having a conversation many years ago with former LSU Coach Dale Brown about some of our great managers and he made a profound statement: "If I owned a company and wanted to hire competent, self-motivated young people with great work ethics, I'd hire basketball managers."

The following comes an article written by Jon Shields for The Lantern.  You can read the entire article here -- but I wanted to post a few excerpts in honor of all the managers on all levels that make sure a huge difference in our programs.  Please click and read the entire article -- it's worth it!


While the actual team wins the games and earns the headlines, the staff supporting the team is happy to sit behind the bench on game days, out of the spotlight. They’re OK with the idea that the outside world has no clue how important they were to coach Thad Matta and his teams’ preparations for victory.

“A lot of people just think we’re all ‘water and towels’ and just kind of there,” said Weston Strayer, manager and a fourth-year in marketing. “But they don’t understand just how much time and work we put in each week to the program.”

Their contributions are noticed by those who pay attention though.

“The managers do everything you really don’t want to do, and they do it with a smile on their face,” said senior forward Evan Ravenel. “They’re one of the key components to our team, and we wouldn’t be half as good without those guys.”

A typical OSU student gets up, goes to class, maybe goes to work afterward and then juggles homework with a social life. The managers have those same obligations, but in addition to their school obligations, they deal with between 35 and 40 hours a week of unpaid work for basketball activities.

They show up for 10 a.m. practice an hour before to set up. They stay two hours after to rebound for players who want to get extra shots up or to run errands for coaches. It can end up being a five-hour shift. On game days, they’re there for the pre-game shootaround five hours before tip-off and will stay at the arena for the next eight hours, through the pre-game team meal and the game itself.

During the games, they take advanced stats for the coaches, set up chairs on the court for the team during timeouts and manage Matta’s play-calling whiteboard.

“Once the game starts, nothing we have done is going to change anything, but preparation-wise, we definitely help them out where we can,” Strayer (shown below holding Big 10 Championship trophy) said. “We try and do our best to help them prepare and make everything a little bit easier for them.”

The man in charge of the managers is David Egelhoff, director of basketball operations. He’s been on the OSU staff for 10 years and in his current position for seven. In addition to handling the day-to-day, off-court activities of the basketball team, he handles the application and hiring process of the team’s managers and serves as their boss.

It’s a position his past has qualified him for.

Egelhoff served as a student manager for OSU’s basketball team from 1998 to 2002 under former OSU coach Jim O’Brien. He said his times as a manager make up some of his favorite college memories.

“I’ve made lifelong friendships, not only with the managers but the coaching staffs and players I’ve worked with as well,” Egelhoff said. “We had a really enjoyable time doing a lot of things … those experiences we had were pretty special to me.”

The sheer quantity of time the managers spend with each other has allowed them to form a special bond.

“It’s a great group of guys, we joke and mess with each other and it’s a lot of fun,” Strayer said. “We kind of joke when we walk out of the tunnel (during home games), they announce the ‘three-time defending Big Ten champions’ and then we all kind of just come out before everyone, so I always wonder what people think when they see us in the suits walking out by the team.”