Nick Watson, Director of Equipment Operations, Illinois State University
It used to be that in the life of an equipment manager there were months of rest.
March brings Spring football, helmet reconditioning, plus all the Spring sports are in full swing— baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, track and field and more.
Nick Watson, the equipment manager at Illinois State University, also reminds us that winter sports aren’t quite completed.
Even swimming and diving continue to roll.
Nick has two assistants and about 10 student managers, so he doesn’t have to get elbow-deep in sports outside of football. Still, running the program and making sure everyone is heading in the right direction takes time and effort.
“There is always, to be sure, things to do,” Nick told Helmet Tracker on the eve of March. “Inevitably things we put away after the football season can’t be found where they’re suppose to be. There are new drills and equipment the coaches want.”
For an equipment manager, March is as busy as any off-season month. Spring football begins the last Saturday of the month and Nick has to have everything ready.
Nick ordered new helmets and shoulder pads to take advantage of early-bird specials, and this new equipment is coming in—along with the new players—transfers and the occasional walk-on.
“We’ve got to get all those guys outfitted with jerseys, practice clothes, lifting clothes, and workout stuff.”
Come summertime, ISU will have 115 or so guys working to get ready for the season. Because seniors are allowed to purchase their own helmet before they graduate, Nick orders about 35 to 40 new helmets every year.
“It’s always busy,” he said. “The only quieter times now are in December if we don’t go deep in the playoffs, and Spring Break.”