BY MARY RINGWALD, SPORTS EDITOR
Every team has essential parts to maintain a well-oiled machine. There are the athletes who play the game, the coaches who call the plays in the game and the referees who control the game.
But there is one piece of the machine that continuously moves the gears of the Bellarmine basketball program: the seven managers who keep everything organized.
Austin Galloway, Grant Walker, Alexandria Thompson, Joe Simon, Ben Thompson, Ashley Weaver and Ta’Nae Williams have all of the skills that drive the men’s and women’s teams toward success.
Being a Bellarmine basketball manager requires a strong work ethic, a knack for doing laundry and a love of basketball.
Managers are in charge of road trip food orders, setting up Knights Hall for practice, washing the uniforms, keeping statistics, passing out water and many other responsibilities.
Head women’s basketball coach Chancellor Dugan said they are an important cog in the program’s machine that does more than fold the laundry every day.
“We would not be as organized, successful and my stress levelwould be higher without them,” Dugan said. “They make our jobs run smoothly and so much easier.”
Head men’s basketball coach Scott Davenport said the program would be lost without them, and he has always tried to treat them with the utmost respect and admiration.
“Between daily work, school and game responsibilities, they are amazing and an unsung group of heroes,” Davenport said. “When you think about it, they are doing it for the right reasons.”
While the “right reasons” could mean many things, managing the team is helping two of them prepare for their future careers.
Alexandria Thompson wants to go into sports law following graduation, and being behind the scenes has given her new perspectives on the administrative side of the sports world.
“I am seeing a lot of the administrative side,” Thompson said. “My freshman year was more just meeting people such as the athletic department, and now, I am networking, getting my name out there and just seeing how it works from a coach’s standpoint so ideally when I am a lawyer, I can appreciate and relate to their side more.”
Galloway joined the managing staff to prepare for a future career in coaching basketball. He said he is lucky to be able to learn from Davenport and be able to call up assistant coaches Doug Davenport, Beau Braden and Felton Spencer.
“This year, I am working in the offices before and after practice, running errands for the coaching staff, and I am also helping with our players’ individual instruction,” Galloway said. “These tasks are helping me prepare for coaching as I am learning every aspect of the game through scouting teams and helping breakdown film.”
Being a manager also has its perks, such as receiving rings for GLVC conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances, traveling with the team on game days and being a member of the close-knit Bellarmine basketball family.
Walker said that although managers’ relationships with each person on or associated with the team may be different, they are all very close.
“With the coaches, it is more like being at a job where they have things for me to do,” Walker said. “With the players is more informal and I am better friends with them. We all hang out together, they will text me if they need anything and it is more personal with them.”
The appreciation for their work, commitment and friendship does not go unnoticed from any member of the team, especially the players.
Senior guard Al Davis said their importance to the team is huge because they do all the work that occurs behind the scenes.
“Regardless of the task, we consider our managers to be a part of the team because without them the work wouldn’t get done,” Davis said. “We truly do appreciate our managers.”