Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

The team behind the team: Miami football’s equipment managers

<p>Miami football equipment coordinator Adam Boyer addresses his student team before a mad dash to set up the locker room for Miami’s game against Toledo. Photo by Jack Schmelzinger</p>

Miami football equipment coordinator Adam Boyer addresses his student team before a mad dash to set up the locker room for Miami’s game against Toledo. Photo by Jack Schmelzinger

It’s 2:30 a.m. and 15 Miami students burst out of the loading dock on the east side of Yager Stadium, covered in sweat (much of it not theirs), grime and the shine of an upset win over a big football rival. 

It’s now Sunday, Sept. 17, technically the day after Miami University football pulled off an unlikely win at the University of Cincinnati, Miami’s first win over the Bearcats since the guys (and gal) currently hustling away from the stadium toward their cars were toddlers. 

The players had been let loose hours ago. The football buses stopped at Brick Street on the way home from Cincinnati, and the players poured out and into Oxford’s favorite watering hole, Victory Bell in tow.

The buses continued to Yager where, at that point, the equipment team’s job had barely begun. They would be at Yager for hours more, unloading Miami’s trailer, starting the laundry, getting everything back in its place. 

Finally, their job is finished (or at least the rest can be postponed until tomorrow). Word is out. One of the bars in Oxford is staying open late for the football team after the win. Many of the equipment managers hustle home, shower, change and are able to make it to celebrate for 20 minutes or so before the authorities pull the plug. Then they hustle home, jump in bed and hurry to sleep, for the busiest two work days of their week are fast approaching. 

Such is the life of a college equipment manager.

The Miami football equipment team — a group of 15 Miami students overseen by Equipment Coordinator Adam Boyer and Associate Athletic Director Darrell Hallberg — does so much for Miami football. 

They do laundry. They have two 80-pound laundry drums and one 40-pound one. According to junior student equipment manager Patrick Reaves, it still usually takes two or three loads to finish all the laundry after practices and games.

Photo by Jack Schmelzinger | The Miami Student
Laundry is one of the main responsibilities of Miami's football equipment team.

They order, fit, distribute, maintain and repair all of the equipment and apparel around the team, all while keeping an inventory that’s audited every year. They pack a full-size trailer with equipment for every road game. 

Photo by Jack Schmelzinger | The Miami Student

Miami football’s trailer is packed with jackets, gear, extra gear, a training table, two bikes, fans, 40 footballs and much more for each away game. “We have to be ready for literally anything,” Boyer said.

The equipment team sets up the sideline with all the necessary equipment before the games. They deal with requests from players regarding equipment.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

“For about the first three weeks of the year, [redshirt-sophomore running back] Rashad Amos would come in here almost every day asking for new cleats,” Reaves said.

Photo by Jack Schmelzinger | The Miami Student

The equipment team is responsible for transporting and handling Miami’s CoachComm unit, which allows communication between coaches on the sideline and in the press box. The unit cost $250,000 and weighs 1500 pounds.

The equipment team’s headquarters is located just inside the loading dock on the east side of Yager Stadium. It’s filled with cleats, equipment, apparel and helmets from almost every college team you could imagine.

Photo by Jack Schmelzinger | The Miami Student

The Miami football equipment headquarters contains walls of helmets, equipment and cleats.

Photo by Jack Schmelzinger | The Miami Student

Miami’s game helmets are lined up by number. This week, the equipment team will remove each of those white facemasks and transfer them to Miami’s white helmets for Saturday’s game at Ohio. Right: Often when Miami plays another team, the equipment squad will trade a Miami helmet for one of theirs. 

Ahead of the game against Toledo last weekend, Miami’s equipment team gathered 113 pairs of pants and as many jerseys and warm-up hoodies, then loaded them into the lockers of each player who would dress the following afternoon.

The jerseys and practice hoodies are stored with hangers on two racks. The equipment managers wheel the racks into the locker room and hang each player's jersey and hoodie in his assigned locker. 

They put the pants in a wheeled-bin, separated with towels placed on top of the last pair of each size. Players don’t have their own pants; the managers just wash them all after games and dole them out by size next time.

First-year Spencer Bath tried to carry all the medium pairs of pants at once. He held on to most of them.

Once pants, jerseys and hoodies are loaded into lockers, it’s time to fit each jersey onto the players shoulder pads. That’s what takes the most time.

Sophomore equipment manager Chance St. John checks a row of the Miami football locker room, making sure each stall looks uniform and neat.

After that’s finished, they load all of the equipment that needs to go on the sideline the next day into a hallway near the door out to the field. Finally, they sit down and wait for SDS pizza to come, one of the perks of working with the equipment team.

The next day, Miami would lose to Toledo. Starting quarterback Brett Gabbert went down with what’s almost certainly a season-ending injury. The equipment team would still have to do hours of work following the game, getting everything washed and back in its place, plus starting to pack for next week’s road trip to Athens, Ohio.

“It’s a lot more fun when you win,” Reaves said.