Not many can say they landed their dream job at 26, but Harley Warren finds himself the assistant athletic equipment manager at Southern Mississippi and being part of the Golden Eagles program is his dream realized.
“It took a while, but I finally started getting paid for this,” cracks Harley, who finds a way to interject humor into about every conversation.
The Golden Eagles have dominated Conference USA in Helmet Bowl. The team has rattled off five weeks in a row after losing Week 1 to the Florida Atlantic Owls. They cannot be caught and qualify for the National Helmet Bowl Championship. Harley, put in charge of social media for the equipment team by Assistant AD for Equipment Pat Stewart, heard about the contest from an email from the Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA).
“This is the perfect year for us. It is the first year in six years we’ve changed our helmets a bunch. The fans love seeing the different looks, and we get the votes!”
Harley sends us a new look for Southern Miss nearly every week. It’s a throwback, an anniversary helmet, a giant eagle head, whatever. “We are showcasing our past and showing our new logos.”
For Harley, being an equipment manager is a second career—though his first, as a teacher, lasted less than a year. “I tried the real world for a year—it didn’t work out.”
He earned his teaching certificate, but the classroom wasn’t any friendlier to him as the teacher as it was when he was a student (Harley says football is the only thing he misses from high school. He was an underappreciated quarterback turned receiver). “I was half the size of a kicker, so I figured I needed to do something else with my life.”
Now, he works toward his Master’s degree in Sport Management.
“I grew up near here and have always been a fan. It’s so fun to travel and see the stadiums and be a part of the team,” Harley said.
Stewart, with Southern Miss for an astounding 23 years, got him a job with the arena football’s New Orleans Voodoo before they folded, then an internship with the New Orleans Saints. The dream beckoned, and he returned to Hattiesburg,
“This is my dream job. I never thought I would make it this far!”
He works with 12 student managers and another full time equipment manager. The team, on the field, is 4-2 with two conference wins. Harley loves being part of the team.
“If you love sports and don’t mind getting yelled at occasionally – it’s a great job to have.”
All seven teams undefeated a week ago scored victories this week to qualify for the Helmet Bowl National Championship Johns Hopkins, Bowie State, Army, Valdosta State, Central Michigan, Howard, and San Diego State. Congratulations!
Kansas State also qualifies for the National contest, as does Southern Mississippi and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. These teams cannot be caught! Congratulations.
Remember, a team’s seeding in the 64-team bracket is based on its total number of votes, so keep voting!
Conference Standings Ties
There are many, many close Conference contests to watch, but SIX Conference have overall ties going into Week 7.
In the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, the Gallaudet Bison and Husson Eagles both have 2.25 points. These teams play one another on Hotchkiss Field Saturday in Washington, D.C.
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic shows three points each for the Ashland Eagles and the Ferris State Bulldogs.
The Avila Eagles and the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers are knotted at 2 points each. Right behind them in the Heart of America Athletic Conference are the Benedictine Ravens and the Culver-Stockton Wildcats with 1.5 points each. This contest is anyone’s to take!
In the Northern Athletics Collegiate, the Benedictine Eagles and the CUW Falcons are tied with 2 points each, just ahead of the Aurora Spartans and the Concordia Chicago Cougars with one point each. Additionally, the Lakeland Muskies and Rockford Regents are tied for third with a half-point each. Even the Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors could win this with a good four-week run though they sit at the bottom of the conference with zero points.
In the Southern Conference, the East Tennessee State Buccaneers and Western Carolina Catamounts are tied at 2, with the VMI Keydets a half point behind.
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic sees the Stout Blue Devils and the Whitewater Warhawks knotted at 3. Who will rally the votes to with the Conference Championship?
Crazy ride. The Bruins sent us a cool white facemask on a white helmet a couple weeks ago and scored a point. They were tied for the lead. Then, this week the Arizona State Sun Devils took advantage of the double points and went from zero points to leading the PAC-12. Bruins—not even one vote!
The SEC, which we at Helmet Bowl continue to wait in wonderment for truly SEC voting levels, saw Arkansas vault to the lead by taking both points in Week 6.
In the Colonial, the Richmond Spiders make their debut in Helmet Bowl by grabbing both Week 6 points. They now trail Elon, but can catch them with a couple strong weeks.
Helmet Bowl is for everyone. We include every conference and every team. In the South Atlantic, Lenoir-Rhyne got the memo and sprinted from a tie for second with Carson-Newman and Catawba, to passing Mars Hill for the lead!
Jumping Four Teams
In the USA South Athletic, the Greensboro Pride moved past NC Wesleyan, Ferrum, Averett, and LaGrange to grab the lead by .25 points! This is one to watch!
Week 6 Ties
In the American Athletic Conference, the Navy Midshipmen split the two points with the Southern Methodist Mustangs.
In the Big 10, the Michigan Wolverines tied the Ohio State Buckeyes.
In the Central States Football League, one point each went to the Lyon Scots and the OPSU Aggies.
The Upper Midwest Athletic saw the Greenville Panthers tied up the Minnesota Morris Cougars. They each get a point.
This week there were no three-way, four-way, or five-way ties.
Another Peek Behind the Curtain
Look, Helmet Bowl is for every conference, every team. That’s 777 college football teams. And, it’s a blast! Do you have your conference under control? I tell you what, your vote could make a dramatic difference in many other conference contests. Just hit that orange NEXT button and vote! We vote in every conference every week. It’s fun and you see some pretty savage lids. Try it. You’ll like it.
Question of the Week
Check out the Concordia Nebraska Bulldogs in the Great Plains. They lead the conference with a simple white block C on a dark blue helmet. This is Helmet Bowl. Is this the best helmet in the Great Plains Conference? The Briar Cliff Chargers have a very angry horse on their helmet, the Dordt Defenders have a cool DC intersected with a cross. The Hastings Broncos cover nearly the entire helmet with a horse head and the Midland Warriors have the orangest, most flowing Viking hair we’ve seen in quite some time adorning their lids. Now, am I saying that the Bulldogs have the least attractive helmet in this conference? Maybe. Check it out yourselves and vote.
The Charleston Golden Eagles must score this week, then the next, and the following and the final week to win the Mountain East. This helmet ROCKS. Instead of putting their graphic on the side, they put this menacing bird of prey on the brow to stare down the opponent. The Eagles have one-half point in Helmet Bowl, with UVA-Wise leading the conference, followed by Fairmont State and Notre Dame College. Vote for Charleston here: http://helmettracker.com/helmet-bowl-i/mountain-east-conference/