For Cody Crump, equipment manager, it’s the grand production of the thing. It’s the offseason workouts and the Spring football. It’s the work putting drill equipment together and following instructions from the coaches. It’s the camaraderie in the locker room and on the practice field.
It’s the hard work, the 60-hour weeks, and yes, the swag and the laundry. It’s stepping out early onto the field on game day to see it. The entire production of each football game in all its pageantry, all its competitiveness, all its emotion and nuance and brute force.
“It’s the final production. You see the fruits of your labor,” said the Northwestern State University equipment man. “I have so many great memories. And I want more.”
Cody grew up in a small farming community north of Shreveport, Louisiana and was a student manager for all but a few weeks of his four years at Louisiana Tech University where he earned a degree in Kinesiology. It was after graduating Byrd High School, an academic magnet school, he saw a Twitter posting for the Tech student manager job. He applied but didn’t get the job. When another student failed to show up, he was first in line and started the next day.
“By the end of my sophomore year I was pretty certain I wanted to be an equipment manager—I wanted to pursue that as a career,” he said. “Sports had been an important part of my life. On away games, I would talk with the student managers and equipment managers. I started to build a network.”
But it was a home game, against Texas A&M that provided his most memorable game.
“We lost by two on a failed two-point conversion. It was the most devastating loss I’ve ever experienced, but it was also the greatest game I’ve ever experienced,” Cody says.
“It was probably that day I decided that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was great. I loved it.”
He interned at Oregon for a year, where his experience and knowledge of the industry expanded.
“Cody’s responsibilities increased during his time as a direct result of his hard work and dependability,” writes Aaron Wasson, Director of Equipment at the University of Oregon. “Those responsibilities included receiving and issuing all Nike product for us, assisting the full-time equipment staff packing for road trips, inventory, laundry, as well as assisting in post-season NCAA Championships we hosted in Softball and Track & Field. Cody was well respected by his co-workers and athletic department staff as a direct result of his hard work and loyalty to the Oregon program.”
Oregon served as a model, a training ground for Cody’s next stop. He was hired at Northwestern State in Natchitoches where, as Director of Equipment Operations, he oversees 14 sports.
“The first year here has been filled with ups and downs. There was no Equipment Manager for four months before I got here and so there was a lot of catching up to do,” he said.
“That has made me a much better Equipment Manager. I had to learn things on the fly.
“I was thrown into the fire and had to do or die, but it was good because it taught me about myself. I learned what I could accomplish.”
Cody oversees one graduate assistant and up to 10 student managers. It’s a big job and the pageantry of each game, each event, just stokes the fire for more. He and his wife Lindsey love to travel and someday want to work for a major university, overseeing all equipment for its football program.
“I know that with hard work, we will get there.”