The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Behind the scenes, equipment managers keep everything in order

Equipment manager Michael Shiffert 18 played on the football team during his time at Lafayette. (Photo courtesy of Lehigh Valley Live)
Equipment manager Michael Shiffert ’18 played on the football team during his time at Lafayette. (Photo courtesy of Lehigh Valley Live)

Whether it is the hundreds to thousands of pounds of laundry a week, the occasional 18-hour game day, cleaning up the football house or the constant lifting and moving of equipment, the equipment team works behind the scenes of Lafayette athletics to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

The equipment team primarily provides attention to in-season teams, so the beginning of the academic year corresponds with the daunting tasks of supplying the football team with its gear.

“There’s so much there that has to go on days beforehand,” volunteer and member of the team Paul Goddard said. “Prepping footballs, getting the helmets ready, hanging jerseys, setting up kicking nets, things like that — just getting everything ready before and after the game.”

Equipment managers have the responsibility of preparing players by responding to equipment-related concerns raised by the coaches.

“Answering questions like, ‘What jersey are we gonna wear this week? Are we gonna wear white, maroon or black? Or what color pants?’” Goddard said.

The equipment staff also sets the coaches up for success.

“[We make] sure all the headsets are ready to go for the coaches, so when they come out, they go right to work,” Goddard said. “They put the headsets on, and they’re talking to the coaches up top.”

The equipment managers also work to respond to any equipment malfunctions that occur throughout a game. Director of equipment services Mike Shiffert ’18 takes on malfunction-related responsibilities.

“Mike will actually go and if somebody’s chin strap breaks on their helmet, or their cleat breaks or a piece of equipment gets torn or broken, he’s the one that’s overseeing all that,” Goddard said. “‘Let’s get them a new cleat. Let’s get them a new face mask.’”

Goddard recently returned here as a volunteer equipment manager, following a five-year hiatus.

Shiffert worked with Goddard when he was an athlete on the football team. Goddard cited his relationship with Shiffert as part of his motivation to return to equipment management.

Shiffert worked for Lehigh Univeristy football and lacrosse for several years as he pursued a Masters in Educational Leadership in Bethlehem. This season marks his second year back at Lafayette.

“When the opening at Lafayette came available last year, I was very interested in being able to come to where I went to school,” Shiffert said. 

Helmet Night, which is a tradition of the equipment team, involves a lengthy process of disinfecting helmets and replacing team stickers. During his time as a student-athlete, Shiffert assisted the equipment staff in the cleaning process. Now, Shiffert coordinates Helmet Night, which he described as a “full-circle moment.”

While Goddard and Shiffert are a two-man team, they do not work alone in the department. Both Goddard and Shiffert referenced interns Louie Orth and Terrence Amos, in addition to grounds workers, members of the sports medicine team and licensing and branding executives as being reliable resources for the equipment management team.

“We have great staff that work here. We have great access to coaches and other people around campus, and the actual academic community supports us a lot more than a lot of other schools that I’ve been around,” Shiffert said.

Both Shiffert and Goddard expressed their enthusiasm in working with the football team.

“The student-athletes that I work with, I remember being in their position [and] having those relationships with … four different heads of equipment during my four years at Lafayette,” Shiffert said. “I’d like students to be able to have a familiar face in the area of equipment and the coaches that have somebody that they can rely on and come back to.”

Goddard referenced the history of the football team and its long-time rivalry with Lehigh as attracting him to work.

“I’m willing to work my butt off for free,” Goddard said. “It’s a great camaraderie and being able to actually watch a free football game is kind of like the icing on the cake.”

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Benjamin White, Staff Sports Writer

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