Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Student managers are Texas women’s basketball behind-the-scenes heroes

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

From steaming jerseys at 1 a.m. to sharing random pictures on their social media accounts, the Texas women’s basketball student managers are there to do everything necessary to get the team ready for the next day. 

Fourth-year manager Brett Haden described what they do as “the random things people don’t even think about.”

The students who take on this role work directly with the team and help with uniforms, packing for road trips, practice and more. 

“All of us are close with different groups of players and coaches,” Haden said. “It works because everyone has their own point of contact that they go to in the managers.”

For many of the managers, this role is a stepping stone to a professional career in sports and they take advantage of the different backgrounds and insights of coaches to find a path that aligns with their interests.

“It’s a good opportunity to get your foot in the door to work in sports,” Haden said. “It’s a great way to make connections and meet people who are high up and well established in the program. And it’s also just a fun team and they win a lot.”

Through their Instagram account, the managers share behind the scenes moments of the players and staff. 

Rodriguez or graduate assistant Ryan Yablonsky post “Almost Gameday,” a series of candid pictures, to celebrate the day before each game. Yablonsky took inspiration from Barstool Sports’ “Friday Beers” and put his own spin to make what is now the face of their social media.

Within a year, the account grew from 200 to 950 followers.

“There’s been some times where I’ve missed ‘Almost Gameday’ and I’ve gotten a call the next day from Sydney Carter, our director of player development,” third year manager Ari Rodriguez said. “She was like, ‘Where’s “Almost Gameday”? We missed it yesterday and that’s why we didn’t score as much as we were supposed to.’”

By having social media presence and showing the personalities of the people in the program outside of being on a basketball court, the group hopes to bring more people to the games.

“It makes people more interested to come to the games because if you feel like you know (the players) on a personal level,” Haden said. “(If) you know their funny side, you start to feel like you know the players better and then you want to come (to games).”

In her first year at the job, Rodriguez watched her team win the Big 12 tournament against No. 1 seed Baylor. 

“(The managers) got to celebrate on the court,” Rodriguez said. “There was tons of confetti, and that being my first season with the team, part of the conclusion of the season, it was like a surreal moment being like ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy.’ I can’t believe I get to be a part of this even though I’m almost like a small part of the team, I still get included.”

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