Reid Reissen’s journey to the equipment room of Ball State University’s Cardinals began at his father’s side on high school football fields throughout Iowa.
“My Dad is the football coach in Ft. Dodge. He’s coached since I was born and I grew up around football,” Reid tells us.
He played basketball, football, and ran track in high school, then went to Iowa State and followed a normal path. He soon became bored.
“I had to find a way to get involved in football, so I reach out and they offered me a job as a student manager. I didn’t even know what that installed, but I said yes.”
49ers and Kaepernick
He learned the basic ropes, graduated with a liberal arts and science degree with an emphasis in business management. Soon, he was working in the equipment room of the San Francisco 49ers.
“Two days after I graduated Iowa State, I flew to California and did a full season—a paid internship!”
Along with some unpaid internships, Reid worked through three different coaches: Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula, and Chip Kelly. It was the team’s quarterback at the time, tough, who drew the attention.
“When he (Colin Kaepernick) was kneeling—it gets a lot of attention throughout the media, but in the day to day locker room, among the guys, it wasn’t that big of deal.
“He was always a nice guy to me. Every day he said hello to me and asked me how I was doing. He is a good guy, as far as I’m concerned.”
Ball State Cardinals
When his gig with the 49ers completed, his old boss at Iowa State offered him a job—at Ball State.
“Ryan told me that one of my main responsibilities was to be in charge of the student managers, make sure of the practice schedule, and set up drills,” he said.
It is the classic equipment manager story: high school football, student manager in college, intern with the NFL, then to a college program. But don’t mistake classic with mundane. Equipment managers are a breed apart—selfless, hard-working, behind-the-scenes types who keep the programs humming along. Now, Reid is one of them.
Ryan is Ryan “McGoo” McGorry, the Head Equipment Manager at Ball State University.
“Reid has a passion for working in the equipment field and comes into work every day with a positive attitude. He does a great job leading our student managers,” McGoo wrote Helmet Tracker. “Reid is a very independent worker and takes players’ safety very seriously.”
McGoo, an AEMA certified Equipment Manager, supports Reid’s desire to pass the certification test.
Now, as Assistant Equipment Manager, Reid also sets up the coaches’ communications and cares for the teams’ three sets of helmets. One is white with a cardinal and the players’ jersey number, another is black with an oversized cardinal and the words “Ball State,” and the third is Red with “Ball State” and a cardinal.
“At the beginning of the season, Ryan and I go through all the combos—jersey, helmet, mask. This past season we didn’t wear the same combination more than once.”
Reid says he enjoys being around the athletes, seeing how hard they work, and how that, usually, pays off on the field.
“This past year started off promising,” he says. “We were 2-1 and had a close game against Illinois. Then the injury bug bit—we lost our starting quarterback and running back, and others. We had 15 freshmen playing this year.”
The Cardinals ended up 2-10, but can see success coming in the 2018 season.
Reid also sees a bright future for himself.
“I see myself doing this for 10 to 15 years,” he said of working in the equipment room. “Then maybe I’ll make a transition to the administrative side.”
He told us it would be fun to return to Iowa State, work close to home, at his alma mater.
“I like the college atmosphere.”
Reid is a Helmet Tracker AEMA Scholarship candidate.
To learn more about the scholarship program, please visit the Equipment Room.