There are a lot of little things that you rarely think of, that have to happen everyday in order for an SEC football school to run smoothly. When you look to the sidelines on gameday, there are about as many people wearing UK polos running around as there are players wearing jerseys. That leads me to think, who are those people and what do they do? Well most of them are equipment mangers or trainers, and lucky for me 2 of my friends can tell me all about it.
Myles and Jeffrey Poole literally grew up in Commonwealth Stadium. Their parents, Jeff and Mary, have been taking their sons (including the eldest Mack) to games and their great red lot tailgate spot since they were born. All of the Poole boys played football with me at DeSales High School and Jeff is still an assistant coach. Myles led our team in tackles and rushing yards his Senior en route to a Final Four appearance (only the 2nd in school history at the time) and is now a 5th year senior on the managing staff. Jeffrey led the team in receiving his Senior and played on our 2009 State Runner-up Team. I sat down with the guys the other to figure out what it’s like to be apart of the Wildcat Football Team.
What got you guys started in the managing business?
Myles: I always wanted to be apart of the Kentucky Football program because our family has always been around it. My Dad and his older brother have had season tickets since the late 70s. They couldn’t afford basketball so they went with football. We’ve always had a love for the program and figured if we couldn’t play for UK, we could at least be on the field and help out.
What’s a typical day in the life of a Kentucky Football manager?
Jeffrey: Well you wake up early in the morning depending on your class schedule. You come here and do a little laundry, fold towels or something like that, then you have to set up for practice. Then there’s practice; sometimes a coach will need you to help with a drill, like today I was playing cornerback for the receivers. Sometimes we even have to be referees for team periods.
Myles: We’re not standing around with our thumbs up our ass, that’s for sure. But the day ends usually with more laundry, you go to class and wake up the next morning and do it all over again. It’s a constant grind so to speak.
As someone who gets to cover KY football I get some pretty cool perks that the kid in me would love. What’s the coolest part about being a manager?
Myles: It would have to be having the inside scoop with players, getting to know them not from a fan level but a personal level because we have to be around them everyday. Getting to know the guys and helping them out is pretty cool. Going to road games and traveling around the SEC is pretty sweet; going to the different stadiums around the country and seeing what SEC football is really all about.
Jeffrey: For me it’s close to the same thing. I like getting to know the players on a personal level like that. You get to bond with everybody inside the program instead of just being a fan. When you’re a fan you think you know them, but when you’re a manager you really do know them. You know what they go through and you know how tough it is to be a college athlete. Nothing is like gamedays, home or away, and being in that atmosphere it’s great.
There’s got to be some days where you feel like those managers that we used to pick on in high school, what’s the worst thing you all have to do as managers?
Myles: The worst thing we have to deal with, besides waking up at 5:45 every morning, is the hours probably. Like during camp we pull 14 hour days everyday. In terms of the actual job there’s just things you don’t want to do, like dealing with laundry, nice stinky nasty laundry. Some tasks are just really annoying. One of the things we have to do on gamedays is cleaning all of the cleats and all of the helmets. He have to make them look good and its an arduous process that takes about 4 hours to go through all of the helmets, but it’s worth it in the end.
Jeffrey: The players do look pretty good, if I say so myself. They’ve got swagger, and it’s all because of us.
On a more serious note, what does KY football mean to you guys?
Jeffrey: Being a part of this it’s a special experience. It gives you a totally different view on any athletics because you know what these guys go through everyday. Just being with KY football, it’s one of our dreams.
Myles: For somebody that’s grown up with it, I know that ever since I was a little kid I was dreaming about putting on the Blue and White. It’s an awesome experience for somebody that grew up a KY fan to be really apart of the program, maybe not as a player but at least to be a part of it and around the team. It’s special.
Myles you’ve been around the program awhile, what’s the one memory you have that you’ll tell your grandkids?
Myles: That’s a tough one I’ve got a few. Our victory against Auburn, when we beat them down there which was the first time in 47 years was pretty awesome. Up here, I think that the win over Tennessee would definitely be something to talk about but that’s a little obvious. But I’d like to share with my grandkids a lot about the camaraderie we get with the players out here in practice.
Jeff technically now you’re an upperclassmen, what are you looking forward to most now that you can boss kids around?
Jeffrey: At least now I don’t have to do the REAL dirty jobs like taking out the trash or sweeping up after long days. Really the best part about being an upperclassmen is that you get to go to more road games. I want to go to Florida and Missouri this year, I should get two of them this year.
When it’s said and done, what are the Poole’s plans once this college thing is over?
Myles: I’m going to take the knowledge I learned here from the coaching staff and maybe take it into coaching. After being around football you have an idea of how you’re supposed to coach I’ve really thought about taking that into coaching. I could coach strength and conditioning having learned from Rock. You get good connections while being a manager and you get to learn how things work in Division I, which really helps you once college is over.
Jeffrey: If my major works out I want to have my own Physical Therapy business. But if that doesn’t work out this has really made me interested in coaching for the same reasons as Myles.