MSU Womens Basketball: The Life of a Student Manager

You are on, ELi's old domain, which is now an archive of news (as of early April, 2020). If you are looking for the latest news, go to and update your bookmarks accordingly!


Thursday, February 19, 2015, 6:00 am
Peyton Lombardo

Photo: Student managers and MSU Athletic Marketing worked together to place pink poms on every seat for last Sunday’s breast cancer awareness game against Maryland.

In September, I applied for a job as a student manager for the Michigan State University Women’s Basketball Team. After a try-out and interview, I was selected. I knew I wanted to keep basketball as an integral part of my life after playing the sport from the first grade up until the varsity level in high school.

What I didn’t know was how much I would learn and experience in a short time. In less than six months, I’ve become part of the professional world of sport management, learning how both college and professional sports teams run successfully.

What does a student manager do?  The answer depends on the day. For practices, I arrive an hour before the session begins and stay at least an hour after it’s over. I rebound for the girls as they warm up, set up the game clock, prepare the players’ water bottles and jugs of Gatorade, and take both offensive and defensive statistics for each player. After practice, I clean everything up and rebound for any players who wants to stay and shoot some more.

I do all of this alongside my fellow managers. We all work together as our own team. There are twelve of us, and six or seven of us are required each day for practice. This means we each work around 25-30 hours a week, but there are some days off so I have time to join other student organizations, do my homework, and even have some free time. (And write for East Lansing Info.)

On game days, however, eight or nine managers are needed. A few of us will work shoot-around (a short, pre-game practice) exactly five hours before game time. The rest of us arrive three hours before game time to set up the benches, the locker rooms, water for both teams, and everything necessary for the players and coaches.

First-year managers like me also help out with our kid’s club before the game and work berneath the baskets during the game wiping water and sweat off the floor. Experienced managers sit on the bench with the team, taking statistics and helping with water, and also get to travel to “away” games. After each game, we stay until the referees and opposing team leave, so we can clean up.

Sometimes it can be hard to get out of bed at 7:00am on a Saturday morning, but there are definitely perks. While the job is unpaid, I get lots of Nike. Every day is a networking opportunity as I work with professionals like Head Coach Suzy Merchant and Director of Operations David Thomas (“DT”). I even get to see Tom Izzo quite often, and there’s really nothing cooler than personally wishing one of the best collegiate coaches good luck before his biggest rivalry game against Michigan. (He always smiles and says “thank you,” even when he is deep in game mode.)

We also have a lot of fun. When practice ends earlier than expected, we might arrange a pick-up game with the managers, graduate assistants, and sometimes even DT, a former pro.  Lately, we’ve been able to arrange games against our opposing team’s managers when they are in town.

The managers are like afamily, and even though most of our work is behind the scenes, we love and appreciate each other and all of the hard work we put into running the program. Many of my friends wonder why I choose to do this; I tell them I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Being a student manager allows me to develop my work ethic, work under pressure, and gives the opportunity to network on a daily basis all while keeping the game I love in my life.

Related Categories: © 2013-2020 East Lansing Info