Loyola sports managers, often overshadowed by Wolf Pack Athletics sports teams, prepare the athletic program for success behind the scenes.
While not every sports team at Loyola has a manager, both of Loyola’s basketball teams do.
Having worked for the team since late August, Sam Ater, freshman music and elective studies major, said he has had his sights on being involved with the basketball team since he started at Loyola.
“I joined them in the hope to help them out and still get some reps in because I love the sport,” Ater said. “I played basketball in high school, and I wasn’t ready to call it quits on the sport yet. I met with Coach Tyler and Coach Stacy before the season started and told them that I love basketball and I’m not ready to step away from the sport. I said I would like to be a part of the sport in any way that I can, and they said I could help out during practice. After about a month or so of helping them out, the coaches gave me a practice jersey and said I could now act as a practice player for them.”
Ater said he performs quite a few duties for the team.
“For practice, I usually run the clock for drills,” Ater said. “I act as a practice player and run drills or plays with them, or play on the scout team so they can get a feel for what the opponent is going to be doing. I film home games and away games on the road. I just try to help in any way I can.”
While assisting the players, Ater also bonds with them.
“The guys on the team are my brothers,” Ater said. “I love them all and just like the atmosphere of the team — how close we all are and how they have accepted me, especially with coming to the team later.”
Ater’s role as the team’s manager doesn’t just act as a practice player during drills.
He sings the National Anthem before the games.
“I love to sing,” Ater said. “Back in high school, I would sing then go play in the game. I told the coach here if they needed anyone to sing during the game, I can do that for them and they said I was more than welcome to. I’ve been singing since 3rd grade, and the National Anthem is kind of second nature to me now so I figured ‘hey, why not keep singing it?'”
Also working within Loyola’s basketball program, Cailey Turner, marine biology freshman, manages the women’s basketball team.
“I got the job because I was already working at the gym,” Turner said. “I used to play basketball and figured it would give me an inside look at what goes on in college sports.”
Similar to Ater, Turner has a list of responsibilities to perform to keep the team on track.
“I basically handle laundry and the camera during the games,” Turner said. “While we travel I handle the food for pre and postgame, and I help the coach with the recruiting database as well. During practices, I do the score board. When we travel, I help with the men’s [basketball] as well, pre and postgame.”
Turner said being a manager is more than just the responsibilities.
“My favorite part about being a manager is being a part of the team and getting to travel with them,” Turner said.