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Role of an Athletic Equipment Manager

These days managing an athletic equipment operation is akin to running a business; being responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory and maintaining a budget. Today’s sports equipment manager handles a variety of duties and responsibilities.  There are many top sports management programs that emphasize equipment management.  Often there are opportunities to become a student equipment manager within the school.  If you look at most equipment managers working for Division I schools and for professional sports leagues they have student athletic equipment manager on their resume.  If you look closer many of them were student managers at the exact sports management college they now work for.  Building these contacts while you are in school is a great career plan.

So, what does an athletic equipment manager do exactly?  There are different tiers within the equipment management field.  Even within the different levels of sports there are tiers.  There are equipment managers in the professional sports leagues, college leagues, high school leagues, and in private athletic/health clubs.

In professional sports, equipment managers work closely with the athletic directors, coaches and staff members.  Thirty percent of an equipment manager’s time is spent communicating with these other departments, according to the Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA).  There are many details that go into filling a professional team’s daily needs in regards to equipment.  Responsibilities include outfitting players and coaches in safe and advanced equipment, as well as ordering and maintaining all of the team’s equipment and sideline apparel.  The position of professional athletic equipment manager grew out of the need for qualified athletic personnel to fit helmets and other important pieces of the equipment.  Improper fit can affect an athlete’s concentration, impair their vision and hearing and cause them to be prone to disabling accidents.  Today’s athletic equipment manager needs to be computer savvy as well; using software programs that control inventory, track usage, and help with equipment room productivity.

Many times in high school sports, the end responsibility for the equipment is on the athletic director and the coaches of the different sports.  Student equipment managers play an important role in high school sports; they are an integral part of the team. Working as a student manager in high school will also look good on your college application especially if you are interested in pursuing a sports management degree.

In colleges there is an athletic equipment director or manager that oversees all of the different sports programs.  Many of these schools have at least 16 different athletic teams, which is a large equipment inventory to be in charge of.  LSU has 20 varsity sports programs and a group of trained equipment managers working industriously behind the scenes.  They have one manger and four assistant managers that oversee about 32 – 35 student managers.

The following is a recent ad for a “Head Equipment Manager” position:

Job Description: A southeast regional university is accepting applications for the Head Equipment Manager to oversee and manage equipment operations for 16 Division I NCAA sports teams.  The Head Equipment Manager will be expected to comply fully with all NCAA, CAA and university rules, regulations, procedures and policies.  This manager will also be responsible for purchase and inventory of all athletics equipment, practice gear and uniforms, working closely with the athletic business office and coaches.  The successful candidate will control the athletic department vehicle keys, this includes distribution of vehicles and keys, and maintenance of the key log. Coordinate all apparel and equipment issue for the department.  Formulate and implement equipment procedures and policies this includes issuing equipment, inventory control, storeroom usage and access, laundry services and equipment security.  Meet with coaches to determine apparel and equipment needs, research new upgrades and innovations, and negotiate the purchase of apparel and new equipment.  Oversee the equipment-fitting program to ensure athlete safety.  Coordinate all laundry.  Supervise a staff of hourly and student assistants.  Salary will be commensurate with experience and education.

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and three years experience required.  AEMA certification preferred.  Application, resume and three letters of recommendation must be sent.  A criminal back ground check is a condition of employment

This job advertisement is a good example of just how much an equipment manager actually does in their job.  It can also help a student decide on their career path as they pursue a sports management degree.

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