To Muncie and back: Inside a road trip for the Toledo basketball team | Toledo Blade

Just a three hour road trip, you say. How much could possibly go into that? Check out this great account from the Toledo Blade on what it takes to get the Toledo Men’s Basketball team from Toledo to Ball State University and back — and everything that goes into the preparation for a road game. Of course, behind the scenes lurks a solid Director of Operations. For Toledo, it’s rookie Ops guy, Justin Ingram.

It’s Friday, Feb. 16, and the Toledo men’s basketball team is more than 24 hours away from playing Ball State.

The Rockets owe the Cardinals a dose of revenge after they ended UT’s seven-game winning streak Jan. 30. Kowalczyk said it was the only game all season in which Toledo just didn’t have it.

Inside an auxiliary gymnasium in Savage Arena, UT is in the midst of a 90-minute practice before departing for Muncie. Defense is one of the main themes, and it isn’t going entirely well for the team’s first unit.

A Blue Lakes charter bus with “Toledo Basketball” emblazoned on the side sits in front of Savage Arena, awaiting its cargo for the three-hour drive to Muncie. Driver Tad Dunlap, a Defiance native, is in his first season chauffeuring the Rockets around the Midwest.

“Coach said, ‘I want him,’ and I said, ‘All right. Cool,’” Dunlap relays. “These guys take care of me.”

The team’s previous driver, who retired before the season, became like family to the Rockets — so much so he accompanied the team on a road trip earlier this season as a guest. What might seem like a minor detail to some keeps Brian Jones up at night.

There are no horror stories on this day, as the food arrives on time, the bus is loaded in an orderly fashion, and traffic flows smoothly between Toledo and Muncie.

A meal prepared by Boston Market is sitting on each player’s seat before he steps on the bus. Inside the serving container are ribs, chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn, cornbread, and a chocolate chip cookie. Director of basketball operations Justin Ingram and head manager Deshaun Cole coordinate the meals, with help from manager Evan Calendine.

On Wednesday, two days before Toledo departed for Ball State, Ingram and Cole started planning the upcoming trip.

“At home, they typically like to eat at local restaurants that are friends of the University of Toledo community,” said Ingram, a 2007 UT graduate who played for a decade in Europe.

Read the entire article at ToledoBlade.com.

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