It’s the chills.
Running out of the tunnel onto Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium always brings the chills for Pete Stevens, now the Blue Hens Assistant Athletic Equipment Manager.
“Seeing all the fans, the band lined up, everything ready. Every time it gave me chills—and it still does to this day,” Pete says. “We’ve always been a Blue Hen family. For my first Halloween, I was a Blue Hens football player.”
It’s no longer pretend. Pete is part of the team. At the AEMA (Athletic Equipment Management Association) convention in Atlanta next month, he takes the exam to become a certified Equipment Manager.
Basketball Manager and State Championship
His path began as St. Elizabeth baseball Viking, but on the basketball court, he served as a manager. “It was cool knowing you are a part of the team. I’ve never been mistaken for a good basketball player,” Pete says. “But I was part of the team and people knew that. It was a good feeling.” He took that feeling to the football field where he worked as a manager his senior year.
The football team won the state championship and Pete was hooked.
“I knew at that point that I wanted to be behind the scenes in sports, as a career.”
Equipment Manager Career Path
He enrolled at the University of Delaware, where his Dad worked in the Math Department, and began work toward a sports management degree. He started working in the equipment room in 2011 and as he learned about caring for the equipment and the players, he learned about himself.
“My degree, it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I found out I’m more of a hands on, get down to the nitty gritty, get down to the work kinda guy.”
Kyle Martinelli, the Blue Hens’ Head Equipment Manager (who is AEMA certified), learned about Pete as well.
“Pete was one of those managers who always felt more like a full time employee then a student,” he wrote Helmet Tracker recently. “Early on he exhibited a strong passion for safety, a dedication to learning his craft, and ultimately an ability to connect with coaches and student-athletes.”
“It is for these reasons that Pete earned a full-time position on our staff where he has since been instrumental in equipment fitting and maintenance, budget planning, and brand consistency and maintenance,” Kyle continued.
Indeed, Pete graduated in 2015 with a degree in History, and graduated from a student manager to a full time job.
“I love teaching,” he says. “And I love sports. I love working with our student-athletes and teaching them about proper fit of equipment, how to put together a helmet, that sort of thing.”
Happy to Go To Work
Pete works closely with the student staff. “They place a lot of students here who need hours for an internship or practicum.” His team focus is with the Olympic sports, men’s and women’s’ lacrosse, baseball, soccer, and tennis teams.
The Stevens family has been season ticket holders for the Blue Hens for 40+ years. Pete got his own seat when he was 7-years-old. He remembers game-days as a kid, and remembers that first game as a manager.
“Coming out of that tunnel, that was a moment,” he says with enthusiasm. “I was not in the stands anymore. I was a part of it!”
When not on campus, you’ll find Pete engaged with family activities, or on the beach.
But being a part of the team, that is what Pete loves and what he wants. His dream job is to continue serving the Blue Hens. “Maybe someday I’ll become head equipment manager, then work in administration. I want to be here. I want to be in athletics.”
“I wake up every day happy to go to work.”