Behind the scenes. Out of the spotlight. Team managers form the backbone of any athletic endeavors. They are… MANAGING SUCCESS

Photo: Mim Brown
Football team manager Will Courtney does everything from holding towels to setting up the coaches’ handsets. In five years, Courtney worked his way up from ball boy to manager.

Sometimes, the most vital members of varsity teams never touch the field or the court. In fact, they don’t even dress out, yet they earn a varsity letter. This may appear strange until the role these individuals play for their respective teams is examined. These individuals are seniors Will Courtney and Heather Stevenson, who act as team managers for the football and volleyball varsity teams.

Heather Stevenson has been the manager of the varsity volleyball team since she came to St. George’s as a freshman. She initially declined an invitation to play on the team, but Head Coach Emmy McClain then offered her a spot as a manager, which she accepted.

Stevenson had little idea of what was to come. She soon found herself helping out in warm-ups, keeping the books and occasionally making reservations for team meals. Before the hiring of an assistant coach, Stevenson found herself being involved with the team during warmups as well as being responsible for the equipment when the team traveled.

“She is what makes my job easy,” Coach McClain said. “She’s like my wingman.”

Now a senior, Stevenson keeps an immaculate book. The bookkeeper is in charge of recording the team’s stats and substitutions. Opposing coaches are welcome to challenge the score during the game, but the bookkeeper’s score is final, and Stevenson always knows she is right. Additionally, Stevenson is now in charge of the music before games, including the national anthem.

Stevenson said that the time commitment after school is the most difficult aspect of being a manager. She attends all of the team’s games regardless of location, and she sometimes has to work all day at tournaments.

“I’ve learned a lot of lessons,” Stevenson said on the perks of being manager. “I learned commitment, responsibility and dependability. I learned how to laugh at myself, and I made a lot of friends.”

Stevenson now leaves shoes to fill, as she will graduate this year as a four-time varsity letter holder.

“I’ve had managers, and some have been super, super good, and some have not been as consistent,” Coach McClain said. “But, Heather has been there every time since her freshman year. She’s been there, and that’s been huge.”

On the football field, Courtney technically manages the team, but he is more accurately referred to as “a combination of assistant coach, team manager and teammate” by Coach David Carter, the head coach of the varsity football team.

“I get there at 5:30 before the game on Friday, and I set up the headsets, cameras, footballs [and] the fans that blow the water,” Courtney said.

Courtney is quick to note that the workload is intense but manageable. He enjoys being with the team and said that the team gear he receives for his role sweetens up the deal. In fact, Courtney enjoys his work so much that he is looking to continue his role as a manager into college.

During the games, Courtney tags the plays for the team. The team uses a program called Hudl that archives the film, and Courtney is in charge of plugging all of the information into the system. The tags allow for the team to find specific plays when they review the game film. For the tags, Courtney indicates what yard line the team is on, how many yards they gain and what type of play is run.

He also holds towels for the players and assists with any equipment problems during halftime.

Courtney started helping the team in eighth grade as a ball boy, and the team went on to win state that year. He enjoyed helping out, so he set out to help again during his freshman year. He was slowly given more and more responsibilities, and now, the role he plays on the team is clear.

Courtney will graduate from St. George’s this year as a four-time letterman in football. He is actively looking for a replacement that he would be happy to train.

“He’s a lot more than a manager to us,” Coach Carter said. “He does a lot more than a manager ever would.”

Soon, Stevenson and Courtney, will leave for college, as they are both seniors, but the legacies they leave will always remain on the fields and courts.