Terry Named Winner of Yarborough Award
Jay Terry has been an equipment manager at Nebraska since April 1997, and has served as the head equipment manager since 2002. Terry also spent two years as a student equipment manager before moving into a full-time role. Terry maintains the Husker football locker room and is in charge of the football team's equipment needs. A native of Cozad, Terry has been a member of the Athletic Equipment Managers Association for nearly 20 years, and recently received the 2019 Bobby Yarborough Equipment Manager of the Year Award for District VI, which includes Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Manitoba, Canada. Terry visited with Brian Rosenthal of Huskers.com about his duties, and his award, named for the late, longtime equipment manager of the Kansas City Chiefs.
BR: What’s it mean to you to receive such an honor?
Jay: “Well, it’s a nice honor. It’s nothing you’re ever looking for or expecting. For your peers to choose you and vote for you for that, it’s a cool thing. It’s good to be appreciated, especially among people who do your job and do the same thing. It was a surprise.”
BR: What’s one fact about your job that might surprise the average fan?
Jay: “Like in the summer, people will ask us if we’re busy in the summer. I think people for all sports, they think that sports are just during the season. I don’t think they realize what our student-athletes are doing, that we’re here all year round. You’ve got offseason laundry, and right now we’re waiting to start getting all of the new Adidas products. I think people don’t think it’s all year round. Or during the season, people are kind of surprised you go to work on a Sunday. Yeah, it’s seven days a week.”
BR: How much staff do you have, and how do you divide their duties?
Jay: “There’s five of us full-time. Bryan Harrod helps with football and also has bowling and rifle, then Kyle Kotrous has soccer, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s tennis and over at the Devaney Center we have Pat Norris, who has men’s basketball, wrestling, men’s gold, men’s gymnastics and swimming and diving, and we’re currently replacing the other position, which does volleyball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track, cross country and women’s golf. We have some student workers that help out here, and some who help out at Devaney, also."
BR: How soon do you begin preparing for fall camp, and what all does that entail?
Jay: “We’ve already received some of our product for next year. I was just in the middle of checking out our inventory program and getting ready to have the kids hang it up in the coaches’ locker they have here in the equipment room. You’re working toward next season … we were doing that clear in the spring when we were having helmets reconditioned and painted. We’ve already ordered all our shoulder pads and you’re just kind of waiting for July 1 for it all to get here. As soon as last season was over, we were already looking toward next season, getting our jerseys ordered. We’ve already received almost all our practice jerseys. It’s kind of a tricky thing when you’re waiting for Coach to assign numbers to everybody, and then there’s still some changing, but you try to get them in here as soon as possible. I mean, it’s a never-ending deal. You’re never done.”
BR: Once fall camp starts, what’s an average day like for you?
Jay: “For fall camp, we’re probably here 5:30, 6 o’clock in the morning, just depending on what time we’re going to start practice. You’re staying until we get done with meetings at night, which are usually 9, 10 o’clock. It’s pretty much seven days a week. I know we have one day a week off, but you’re still in here getting caught up or doing other things."
BR: That probably doesn’t change much during the season, does it?
Jay: “Nope, not really. But during the season for me and my equipment staff, we’re probably out of here by 5:30, 6 o’clock in the evening most of the time. There’s not the meetings at night that the team has for training camp, where they have speakers in, and this and that.
BR: What’s a normal home game day like for you and your staff? I know you basically start on Friday, laying out equipment and jerseys at each player’s locker. What else?
Jay: “It’s kind of like when we talked about getting ready for the season. As soon as the previous week’s game is done, Sunday, you’re getting ready for the next week. If it’s back-to-back home games, you’re washing stuff, getting it organized. During the week we’re cleaning helmets, fixing hardware, different things like that on the helmets. Friday, you start putting everything out and setting up the locker room, depending on the practice schedule. You’re working on that all week, getting ready for it.”
BR: And what about the week of a road game?
Jay: “We start loading up the truck on Sunday. Monte will usually bring the trailer down for us on Sunday and drop it off. We’ll start loading stuff that Sunday if we have things ready, and just throughout the week we keep taking stuff out to it. With us practicing in the morning, it’s been able to leave around noon or early afternoon on Thursdays now, instead of having to drive all night when we were practicing at night on Thursdays and it’s leaving after that. That’s been a nice thing."
BR: How often are you paying attention to the weather forecast?
Jay: “I’m pretty much looking at it every day. As soon as Sunday hits, I’m checking it out, looking at it, almost two weeks to the next game ahead, just trying to prepare. If you’re going on the road, you’re still taking everything because you never know what’s going to change. Last year it seemed like we were big into cold games, making sure the sidelines were warm with how many cold games we had. We have our heated benches and heaters and big winter coats and keeping players warm during the game. That was a big thing last year, it felt like.”
BR: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your profession during your time at Nebraska?
Jay: “The amount of product, the contracts with Adidas. When we moved into this facility (in 2006), this equipment room was absolutely unbelievable and awesome. Now it’s like we’re bursting at the seams with the amount of Adidas product we have and just other gear. There’s just more stuff. Trying to find places for it is hard. But that’s the biggest thing. When I started in 1995 as a student worker, each coach had his own contract, and it might be for ‘X’ amount of T-shirts and socks and shorts, and that was about it. When we switched to Adidas, it just keeps getting more and more every year.”
BR: When a football player first arrives on campus as a freshman, what all does he receive from you initially?
Jay: “Right now, we’re just getting them workout gear. Multiple T-shirts, shorts, tennis shoes, socks, cleats, stuff to get through the workouts during the summer. When training camps starts is when we give them all the new stuff for the season."
Reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.