The team behind the team
While the rest of the Clemson student body is soundly sleeping in their beds, resting up before a home football game, preparation has been long started for the game.
The 21 members of the Clemson Football Equipment team run the drills at every practice, arrive at the stadium five hours before home games, travel to away games and stand on the sidelines wearing headsets and holding up personnel cards.
“Sometimes they call us Team Miscellaneous because we do so much more than equipment. We do just about everything except cut the grass and paint the lines,” said student manager Tyler Floyd.
Eighteen student managers and three staff directors make up the Clemson Equipment team. Although that is the official name of the team, every single one of the members will be quick to tell you that they do much more than fix helmets and wash jerseys.
It seems like a pretty sweet deal; however, there is a lot more pressure behind being on the equipment team than just being able to snap a ball during practice.
Although they have never had a major slip before, DJ Gordon explains, “We always tell people that you don’t know who we are until we do something wrong.”
While that may be true, the Clemson Equipment team is gaining popularity by the day, and it’s for all the right reasons. With more than 5,000 followers, the Clemson Equipment Twitter account — @ClemsnEquipment — is becoming very well known on social media. Posts include photos of the team preparing for the game, behind-the-scenes videos and insider looks at the football team’s locker room.
Gordon, who’s the equipment assistant on staff, gives a short excerpt of some daily tasks it takes to prepare for games.
“Monday we prepare for practice. Tuesday we do laundry from last night’s practice, issue out new gloves for Saturday’s game, and start packing game jerseys. Wednesday is heavy pack mode: change batteries on headset, pack coaches bags, pack all player equipment bags. Pack little things like QB towels, gloves, extra shoes, facemasks, shoulder pads, helmet parts.”
The list goes on and on, and this is not even all of it — not even close.
“I didn’t realize it was such a huge commitment coming in; it’s a 40-hour-per-week job on top of school,” said student manager Kelly Mullane.
While football season is the most hectic time of the year, being on the Clemson Equipment team is a year-round job. After traveling to the bowl game, there are winter workouts, then spring ball in March, summer workouts and back into the regular season in early August.
It is a heavy obligation. So are all the late nights, road trips, missed school days worth it?
“All the late nights are 100 percent worth it. I would do it for free, I really would,” Floyd said.
Because the student managers run practice drills and are on the sidelines of the games, they get to interact with some of the biggest names in ACC football.
While most students place football players on a pedestal, fifth-year manager William Shuler says, “You come to realize that these players are just other college students like us. We all have great relationships with players and hang out outside of the football offices.”
Self-described as a fraternity, they are a family where there is never a dull moment because you can always hear laughter coming from the equipment room. Student managers have the opportunity to be the backbone of a huge football program they grew up cheering for.
If you are interested in applying to be a member of the Clemson Equipment team, visit http://www.clemsonequipment.com/Application.html.