Helmet Tracker interviewed outgoing AEMA (Athletic Equipment Managers Association) President Dan Siermine recently to ask him about his term, accomplishments, career, and future.
Siermine, the Assistant Athletic Director in charge of Equipment at the Air Force Academy, oversees two assistants and a student staff of about two dozen student managers. The Falcons football team has more than 200 players.
Siermine began his equipment management career at his Catholic High School in Philadelphia after injuring a knee. He continued at the University of Pittsburg (“I knocked on the back door of the stadium and offered to help the football team.”) where he graduated with a degree in political science.
He then spent a year working with the legendary Equipment Manager Jon Falk at Michigan during Bo Schembechler’s final year as Wolverine Football Head Coach. Then it was on to Towson State and the University of Connecticut. When the Air Force job opened, he applied. “It intrigued me. It is, of course, in Colorado and a service academy. I got the job and have been here ever since. Twenty years.”
The questions and answers here are edited for clarity.
What has been accomplished during your terms as AEMA President?
“I felt I had a knack to bring people together and make them feel a part of something important. My goals included helping members feel a certain inclusion and belonging and feeling good about the association itself. That is a major accomplishment I will look back on.
“We brought more professionalism to the job of Equipment Manager—mainly by taking certification to another level.”
Tell us more about Certification.
“We are not even close to where we need to be with that. Our most unpopular decision was to require a four-year degree to take the certification exam. We will not make a guy doing the job for 20 years go back and get a degree, but people who were just starting in the profession—they need a degree.
“We also got the NFL in. The door was opening to them and we opened our arms to them. A majority of NFL teams right now are part of our association and that wasn’t true two years ago. These equipment managers are the top of the game and we need them to be in.”
Tell us about your career in the AEMA?
“I was a district director, then Associate Director in 2000. Then ran for the president and won. During my time we changed the by-laws to change the term from three years to four years. I ran again and now have served for eight years—the longest president.”
“Now it’s time to step away, let someone else come in.”
What needs to be done for the AEMA now?
“The biggest thing still is that we need to get further with certification. The thing is—it’s not required in many places. But you cannot be an athletic trainer without certification. You cannot be a strength coach without certification, but you can still work as an Equipment Manager at a university at the highest levels and not be certified.”
“We need to educate the universities, see it mandated state by state, or the NCAA could step in.”
“Also, we need full time staff. We’ve got to get to a place where we need someone running this organization who is not a full time equipment manager. We need marketing and fundraising.”
Dan relinquishes the reins of the AEMA Presidency at the Phoenix Convention next week. Tomorrow, we post our interview with incoming president Clifton Perry.