Great peek behind the curtain to hear from one of the group of hardest working people in college athletics — the student manager.
You’ve seen them, the guys tirelessly rebounding for players during warm-up and hustling for water and towels at every timeout. The unsung heroes of the basketball program. These are the UF Basketball Managers, a proud fraternity of students that do the day-to-day tasks that help things run smoothly all season long. You always see them on the sideline, but do you really know what they do? In an effort to find out I reached out to Ryan Jackson, a current manager for the team. He was gracious enough to give me some insight about what it’s really like being on the support staff for the team.
This is the secret life of a Florida basketball manager.
EF: Thanks so much for joining me Ryan! I know this is a busy time of the year for you so I really appreciate it. First, can you tell everyone where you’re from, what you’re taking in school, and what your role is with the Florida basketball program?
RJ: Thanks for having me Eric. My name is Ryan Jackson and I’m from Ocala, Florida. I’m majoring in sports management. I’m a second year manager at UF but this is my fourth year as a manager. I worked at Central Florida in Ocala for my first two years as a JUCO manager. As a manager here I am given many responsibilities each day that can include working players out before or after practice, setting up practice, helping out the coaches with anything they need and if there is any administrative-type work we try to help out with that as well.
EF: We’ll get into more details of your job in a moment, but before that I’m curious, growing up in central Florida did you grow up as Gators fan? Or what was your first exposure to Gators basketball?
RJ: I definitely grew up in a Gators household. My dad graduated for UF in the eighties and had season tickets to football games since then. I went to my first football game when I was three I think, and started to go to the basketball games as well. I can remember really starting to like it when the Gators won the back-to-back national titles. Great time to start loving Gator basketball, right!
Read the entire interview at GatorCountry.com.