Student managers explain role on women’s basketball team
Teagan Dillon | Wednesday, February 7, 2018
It’s just after midnight and senior Maggie Rogers has put on her pajamas to wind down after a full day of classes and work. Suddenly, she realizes that nobody took care of the laundry after practice, and the team leaves for an away game in the morning.
Rogers has no choice. She throws her winter boots on over her pajama pants and runs a half-mile through the snow to the JACC to put the laundry in.
“But I’d rather be elbow-deep in our laundry than any other team’s,” she said.
Rogers, along with senior Annie Timmermann, is one of two head managers for the women’s basketball team. Together, Rogers and Timmermann lead a team of five managers — six before freshman Nicole Benz walked onto the team in late December — that act as the glue that holds the program together.
“Maggie and Annie sort of run the ship,” Katie Capps, director of basketball operations, said. “They come to me and let me know if there’s problems. If we’re low on this or need to order more of that — they run it. It becomes their team; I’m just overseeing and making sure there’s no big issues.”
They are assisted by fellow student managers Saint Mary’s senior Maggie Maloney, junior Colleen Iannone, junior Jackie Collins, sophomore Molly Light and Saint Mary’s sophomore Meghan Mulroe.
Armed with each of the manager’s class schedules, Rogers and Timmermann are in charge of scheduling the staff to ensure that there are enough people available for practice, meetings, equipment training and packing.
In order for practice to run smoothly, the managers arrive an hour early to set up and stay an hour late to tear down, Rogers said. From organizing the practice uniforms and filling water bottles, to running the shot clock and keeping track of player-specific stats, the managers are involved in every aspect of practice.
“You really have to pay attention to what’s going on in front of you. You can’t just go through the motions of starting the shot clock or passing the ball when they need it,” Timmermann said. “You have to actually be engaged in what you’re doing.”
On average, Rogers and Timmermann estimated they spend about 15 to 20 hours per week dedicated to the team. If they’re traveling — one head manager must be present at every road game — then another 24 hours is tacked onto the weekly total.
When it comes to creating a schedule that can accommodate this time commitment, the managers benefit from an early registration time, Rogers said. If their majors permit, the duo strives to finish their classes by noon. Unfortunately, that can be difficult.
“There’s a lot of good history classes at 2 o’clock,“ Rogers said.
But it’s all worth it, they said.
“When they’re competing at such an elite level, you can’t help but get wrapped up in all of it,” Rogers said. “We still get that same thrill when we walk out of the locker room on game days.”
With a program as successful as Notre Dame’s, that thrill usually continues well into the postseason.
“When you go to those [tournaments], you’re not thinking you’re going to be leaving the next day,” Timmermann said. “You plan on staying the whole time. Whether the team is celebrating afterwards by going out to ice cream or getting called up on the podium with confetti and cutting down the net, we’re part of both of those things.”
But before any celebrations, Rogers, Timmermann and the rest of the managers have all hands on deck to make sure the players and coaches’ only focus is the game itself. Either sitting on the bench or at an arm’s length behind it, the two must be prepared for anything.
“You’re almost like a waitress at a high-end restaurant, sometimes, behind the bench,” Rogers said. “So-and-so only likes gold Gatorade, and so-and-so likes this color, but watered down. This player needs her Chapstick at this time. … You know more about these people than I think their moms sometimes.”
Even though both Timmermann and Rogers grew up fans of Notre Dame basketball, Rogers said she never expected to reach this point when she got involved with the team her freshman year.
“There’s not a lot of people that can say they’ve had their head in a Muffet McGraw huddle on a regular basis,” she said.