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Senior football managers ensure team runs smoothly

Anna Boarini | Friday, October 7, 2011

Behind every sports team, there is a legion of coaches and staffers that makes sure everything goes according to plan.

Senior football managers Justin Cullen, Nathan Feldpausch and Claire Kueny are Notre Dame’s 12th men both on and off-season.

Cullen oversees the essentials to all football games — equipment.

“I’m the head student in charge of the equipment room and the locker room on both a day-to-day basis and on game day,” he said.

Cullen’s job involves coordinating the laundry service with St. Michaels, issuing apparel and gear to the players and fixing any equipment malfunctions that occur during practice.

Cullen said his role behind the scenes on game day often goes unnoticed.

“What people don’t know is when the team goes out for practice, we set up white boards where different positions meet with their position coaches before the game,” he said. “We do this at halftime too.”

Away games make his job a little more challenging, he said.

“For away games, after halftime we immediately start moving stuff to our semi because the buses and the semi pull out within an hour of the end of the game,” he said. “That process usually takes through the end of the third quarter and sometimes the beginning the fourth quarter.”

While Cullen oversees the equipment, Feldpausch is in charge of administration.

Feldpausch works under Chad Klunder, director of football operations.  His main job is to monitor the players’ whereabouts, he said.

“I actually get issued a work phone that has the player contacts and figure out where they are when they aren’t on time,” he said. “I always jump a little bit when I hear the [work] phone. [I think,] ‘Uh, oh what do I have to do now?'”

His most unique job is watching over Irish coach Brian Kelly’s bag, he said.

“I got Coach Kelly’s bag [and] I have to keep it with me at all times,” Feldpausch said. “I carry it on the plane with me and make sure it does not leave my sight.”

Kueny oversees personnel involved in making the football game days run smoothly.

“I’m the personnel manager, so I’m the person responsible for organizing, scheduling and training all the sophomore and junior managers,” she said.

During practice, Kueny makes sure the junior and sophomore managers set up the field properly and know what drills are being performed. She is also responsible for setting up the field before the game and helps run the pre-game warm ups.

While the program is fairly fluid now, it is in the midst of changes, she said. Next year, the number of football managers will decrease. Only those who express a deep interest in the football program will work with Irish football, while the other managers will specialize in the Olympic sports, Kueny said.

“We’ll have a football pool for people who really want to do football and an Olympic sports pool, so people really go towards their interest,” she said.

Cullen said the managers support the team both on and off-season, but their hard work comes to fruition 12 Saturdays a year.

“We work for about eight months of the year, [but] when you really think about it, it comes down to 12 football games,” he said.