By Hannah Lutz
Behind every great team are people who are often overlooked. Supporters of teams usually focus on the top few players who score and who are the “face” of the team. But who are the people who actually make the games happen?
Three student assistants for the men’s basketball team, as well as the athletic director’s assistant, go above and beyond what they are asked.
“These students get very little money, if any money at all, to be an assistant,” said David Niven, men’s basketball head coach. “They do it because they are selfless and have a heart to serve others and their teammates.”
Scott Cravey, freshman undecided major, is in his first year as a student assistant for the team. He attends every practice to run the clock for the players and sometimes helps with the drills. Cravey is in charge of putting out the jerseys before home and away games and is also responsible for preparing the Gatorade after games.
“I like getting to know the guys on the team,” Cravey said. “They are fun to be around. I figured being an assistant you would not be part of the team, but they make you feel like you are a valuable member.”
Cravey said this experience is good for him because he wants to be an assistant coach in the future.
“I have learned to be more professional. Although I am a volunteer, I still have to be on time and act professional,” Cravey said.
Hollis Belton, freshman math major, is not only a student assistant but also plays on the team. Belton keeps the players looking good on the court. He does the laundry for the team.
“I have more responsibilities than the rest of the team because I have player responsibilities and student assistant responsibilities,” Belton said.
Belton said he enjoys being one of the student assistants and would like to do it again next year.
“My favorite thing about being part of the team is the relationships I have gained with all of the players,” Belton said.
The third student assistant is Leslie Piercey, sophomore elementary education major, and her duty is to film the games for the players to view and critique their play. She also helps with the laundry. This is her first year as a student-assistant, a job for which she receives a Student Leadership Award scholarship.
“My favorite part about the job is being able to meet new people all the time,” Piercey said. “A lot of the players are from different countries so it is neat to see how players interact with each other.”
The athletic director’s assistant, Teresa Thomas, is in charge of scheduling transportation for games, making sure students are eligible to play and handling insurance for the players. Thomas has worked at Union for nine years.
“I enjoy the relationships that have been built,” Thomas said. “They are like part of my family.”
Thomas also volunteers her time to work the concessions stand for the Bulldogs’ home basketball games.
“We have a good group that works,” Thomas said.
Niven praised her work.
“Teresa is a tireless worker; she goes above and beyond. She goes out of her way to make sure all the teams’ needs are met. She is a special lady to all of us at Union,” Niven said.