The Equipment Guys: The Crew That Keeps The Cougs Clean - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The Equipment Guys: The Crew That Keeps The Cougs Clean

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PULLMAN, Wash. -

Below the giant WSU football operations building on the edge of Martin Stadium in Pullman, a team of guys is hard at work.  But we’re not talking about the football players, we’re talking about the equipment managers who work around the clock to make sure the team is looking good when they hit the field on game day.

Hours before the first players arrive, Equipment Manager Josh Pietz walks into his equipment room on the bottom level of the WSU football operations building.  It’s something he’s done every game day for about the last 15 years.  If someone didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know that the equipment room even exists, and that 12 of Pietz’ student managers are the reason the WSU Football team looks so good every time they play.

The equipment room looks like a store; some might describe it as the ultimate dream closet.  Uniforms are cleaned, helmets are shined, coaches’ uniforms are dry cleaned and pressed and hung neatly.  Each piece of clothing and equipment has a home.  Each player and coach has a special section dedicated to the gear they wear on game day, and on the practice field too.

The crew of managers dressed in WSU athletic shorts, t-shirts and Coug baseball hats don’t look like a group who would know how to sew, but they do.  It’s part of the job and the student managers say their moms and grandmas are impressed they know the skill.  They need it to fix tears and sew Pac-12 patches and nameplates onto jerseys. 

Laundry is also a daily job for the crew in the equipment room.   And, the ultimate laundry guru in the house is Equipment Director Milton Neal.  He’s been on the job longer than Pietz and once mentored him when Pietz was a student manager.  Neal says he loves laundry conventions (who knew those existed), and he takes pride in getting grass stains, blood, and pine tar off his players’ uniforms in some of the biggest commercial washing machines that exist.  They each hold a hundred pounds of laundry.  The average household washing machine holds about 20 pounds.

The point of the job, Pietz says, is to take responsibility off the team’s plate.  He says the players need to focus on school and football and coaches need to focus on coaching.  Pietz says his team’s job is to do the rest: laundry, packing away game gear to and from other universities, and making sure every player has everything they need for practice and on game day.

Pietz says he knows his managers are doing a good job when others are surprised to hear they exist.  He takes that as a sign that shows their work is seamless and that the players and coaches are getting everything they need to be successful on the field.

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