MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Football games, practices and day-to-day operations would not be able to run smoothly without the equipment staff.

College football teams are appreciating them during national equipment managers’ appreciation week, including K-State.

“We, at some point, probably touch everyone that’s within the football program because at some point, everyone has a piece of gear on,” Al Cerbe, K-State’s head equipment manager, said.

K-State’s equipment staff manages thousands of pieces of equipment every day.

“[It’s] organized chaos,” assistant equipment manager Preston Flack said. “Players and coaches have their storage bins where we store everything. Each shelf has its own purpose.”

Fans see their work on game day, but it goes beyond those 60 minutes.

“Practice, we always say, is our No. 1 priority,” Cerbe said. “…Everything from the chains to all the field equipment for individual, to making sure all the footballs are passed out, ready to go.”

Just about 15 people get it all done.

“We have a Helmet Tracker database that has profiles for everyone that we take care of,” Cerbe said. “We print reports all the time.”

The staff has an extensive Excel spreadsheet with more lists, too.

“This is our packing list from everything that will go to the field down to locker room, so it’s all divided by destination,” Cerbe said.

Season preparations start in the offseason. Equipment is even evolving as the year goes on.

“Keeping an eye on the trends,” Flack said. “Just watching NFL games and college games, seeing what’s popular because guys will tend to go to that.”

The equipment staff’s job isn’t limited to helping with drills and setting up field goal nets.

“Bringing out all of our sideline trunks. The headsets. Making sure all the jerseys are on pads. Decaling helmets, touching them up. Putting out their pants and their game cleats. Their game loops. Warmup shirts that they wear for the period when they’re just hanging out outside,” Cerbe listed.

K-State equipment managers are the oil that keeps the Wildcat football machine running fast and smooth.

“We dot our I’s and cross our T’s with many lists,” Cerbe said.

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