Husker Equipment Manager Describes Sign of the Times
By Randy York
A Cozad, Neb., native, Jay Terry has been a Nebraska equipment manager since 1997 and has served as the Huskers’ head equipment manager since 2002. In charge of Nebraska football’s equipment needs, Terry coordinates the transportation of all Husker football and support equipment to road games.
“I’m guessing a hundred years ago, Nebraska didn’t have an equipment manager,” Terry said. “They didn’t have all the options we have. A century ago, they didn’t have the multiple uniforms we have for all kinds of weather.”
From an historical perspective, Nebraska’s first-ever football game on the West Coast was a 1916 matchup with Oregon Agricultural College, which became Oregon State, the same school that Nebraska Coach Mike Riley resuscitated from an annual loser to a program that beat USC, UCLA and other Pac Ten Conference members.
In 1916, it was an eight-day round trip via train from Lincoln to Corvallis, Ore., and back to Lincoln from the West Coast. A century later, the Husker football team flies from Lincoln to Eugene, Ore., in less than four hours.
“I could never imagine something like that,” said Terry, whose equipment team packed the Huskers' iconic truck on Wednesday, so two drivers could swap driving and sleeping in their 24-hour trip. They arrived in Eugene Thursday night. Husker players, coaches, administrators and athletic staff members fly from Lincoln to Eugene on Friday.
Huskers Haul Flags, Medical and Radio Equipment, Headsets and Yes, Even Team Mascot Gear
“In these modern times, there are so many different items that we provide. They would not have had video to watch, let alone at their fingertips on the plane. We have our own semi that takes everything,” Terry said, pointing out that Nebraska has more than just football equipment onboard in its own truck. The Huskers also haul cheerleader flags, medical and radio equipment, headsets and yes, even team mascot costumes.
For Big Ten Conference games, Nebraska can only take 70 players on the road. For non-conference games, the Huskers can take more, depending on various factors.
Terry shakes his head about the differences between equipment issues a century ago compared to today. “I’m pretty sure what they would take with them would be pretty bare bones,” he said. “I would also bet that a century ago was the first time most kids left the state.
“Football just gets bigger and bigger every year,” Terry said. “That’s why we’re so much more efficient now than we have ever been. We have more people and more staff to optimize every road trip we take. We are close to having 60 staff members who help us outfit the team on all road games. That includes doctors, strength coaches, interns, graduate assistants, full-time coaches and everyone else who has a role to help.”
The continuous growth is dramatic. “When I started here in 2002, I packed for all 10 full-time coaches and that was it,” Terry said. “I was able to put all of their needs in one big trunk. Now, we pack six big trunks to take care of everyone. Our mission is to provide the best experience for all of our student-athletes. We optimize every part of the experience, and I can’t imagine anybody in the country that travels better than we do.”
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