MWCConnection was fortunate enough to be allowed to interview the Wyoming Director of Athletic Equipment Operations, Joshua Donald (JD) Jordan. If you’ve ever wondered what that position does, your in for a treat! As you will read below, Jordan brings experience, practical knowledge, insight, and attention to detail to the position, understanding how his role directly connects to the goals of the program.
MWCConnection: How did you get into your current position at Wyoming?
Jordan: I was previously in charge of football equipment along with track and field, partial swim and dive, and ran an initiative called Z Basics that provided all sports non-sport specific apparel and footwear at The University of Akron. Prior to my role at Akron, I interned in various summer and training camp capacities with the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, and the Cleveland Browns. My undergraduate experience as a student manager at The University of Louisville is what put my on my current career path/trajectory.
MWCConnection: What are your general responsibilities in your position? What does a typical day during the season and in the offseason look like for you (if there is such a thing)?
Jordan: My general responsibilities include: fitting and maintaining protective equipment (helmets and shoulder pads), sizing new athletes for apparel and footwear, issuing and ordering apparel, footwear, and protective equipment. We are in the beginning stage of a new Adidas contract to be our apparel and footwear company so I work closely with them to ensure the needs of our athletes are being met and we’re taking advantage of all of the offers and opportunities they have for their collegiate teams.
A typical day in season is to come in and work on game prep (packing trunks, organizing coaches clothing and footwear, organizing and packing player game jerseys and pants) and prepping anything we need for practice later in the day. In early afternoon we start working on getting ready for practice with the student managers and ensuring everything is set up and ready to go. In football off-season there is more prep work for the season that’s coming. We’re also working with all of our other sports who vary between finished season, in-season, and preparing for their season. This year will be my first at Wyoming as Director of Athletic Equipment Operations so working with more of our sports will become the new normal.
MWCConnection: What does your job look like on game day?
Jordan: Typically I arrive 6-8 hours prior to kickoff depending on the game and what needs done and if we’re expecting inclement weather or a nice day. Bad weather equates to more prep work and more items to put out and get ready. My student managers are typically in 6 hour prior to kickoff and we start setting up inside the locker rooms and the sideline using dual groups. When players arrive we make sure they’re all set and ready to go and then hit the game field to prep for coach’s headsets and final sideline set-up. Post-game we’re picking up laundry and either trying to get the truck loaded for away games or cleaning up multiple locker rooms for visitors, referees, chain gang, players, staff, and coaches for home games.
MWCConnection: What is it like overseeing the student managers and what have you learned about being in that role?
Jordan: Each year the group takes on a different personality. I enjoy watching my managers grow as people and take life lessons from what we’re doing. We’re in it together and we couldn’t do our jobs without them. They fully embrace that no one is bigger than the team and never balk when we have an oddball task or duty to do. They jump right in with me and the groups at Wyoming have been very special so far with many legacy managers and kids who are passionate about Wyoming Football and doing things the right way and making sure we are supporting the team in the best ways possible. I stand on their shoulders because I couldn’t accomplish anything without a great group of men and women helping me get everything done.
MWCConnection: What does your communication with the players or coaches look like? For instance, do they come to you to talk about the feel of the football, tweaks or adjustments in how pads fit, if they need better visibility in a helmet?
Jordan: I’m in constant communication with our players and staff making sure we’re doing everything we can to support all facets of our program. I’m always looking to improve and take the next step in preparation, protection, gear, practice logistics. The minutia is my responsibility from what color expo marker a coach prefers to what kind of wristband a player is comfortable with. My responsibility along with my staff is to allow coaches and players to focus on football and what they need to focus on. If they don’t have to worry or think about anything under my purview, we have done our jobs.
MWCConnection: You have an up close look at watching the coaching staff each day. What are some unique parts of the coaching staff or the program that an outsider wouldn’t know about?
Jordan: How much this staff cares about players and where they end up after football. There is a high level of investment in every player on the team and this staff cares about what kind of people they are growing up to be.
MWCConnection: What are you most excited about this season?
Jordan: I think the opportunity to go to a bowl game with this group is what I’m looking forward to. Going 6-6 and not being selected was tough especially seeing how hard the team battled back from a tough mid-year stretch to get bowl eligible. I hope this year’s team gets to have the bowl experience.