Although there is little recognition, student managers are vital to their team’s successes.
By Elizabeth Klemm
With Northeastern’s varsity athletes back on the courts and fields, and coaches strategizing new plays, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done behind the scenes. That’s where student managers come in.
The baseball and men’s and women’s basketball teams currently utilize student managers. These students, who mostly played sports throughout their high school career, dedicate hours and hours to the teams they serve, completing any task a coach or player needs.
“We’re kind of a Swiss Army knife for the team. [We] have a lot of different responsibilities that we got to take care of,” said Tim Ryan, one of two head managers for men’s basketball.
These responsibilities range from making sure water bottles are filled and laundry is done to helping coaches develop practice plans, setting up film, and collecting data.
The students, who are unpaid volunteers like all student managers across the country, feel that the process to become a student manager was not a difficult one.
“You reach out, you get interviewed, and then, for the most part, unless you really bomb your interview, you’re probably going to become a manager,” said Patrick Isberg, the other head manager for men’s basketball.
Chloe Gosselin and Jarred Martin, who are both student managers for baseball, have become very familiar with many of the data collection tools, such as Rapsodo and Synergy, which are commonly used to analyze both the Huskies and opposing teams’ players.
Last year, Gosselin was able to use this technology to look at opposing teams’ pitchers and to chart their pitch tendencies so team members could have a better idea of what types of pitches would be coming their way in different situations. She was also able to film Northeastern’s athletes and use Rapsodo to show them the spin, velocity, and other characteristics of their pitches, as well as exit velocities, trajectories, and launch angles on hits.
“I’m helping them with data collection and being able to have more information readily available to help them improve as a team,” Gosselin said.
Martin particularly enjoys charting in-team scrimmage games right behind home plate.
“I was tracking where exactly the ball was pitched and whether it’s a fastball, curveball and just the location of it,” Martin said.
Gosselin hopes to have a career in the baseball industry, and believes that being a student manager on a Division I team will help her get there. Through this position, she said she has the opportunity to use the same technology that MLB teams are using and to network with scouts who come to intrasquad scrimmages and scout days.
“I want to start off maybe doing something relating to statistics and data analytics, and then hopefully eventually move my way more into kind of personnel and team management and rosters, things like that,” Gosselin said. “And maybe end up somewhere in management, but that would be the ultimate goal, which is a lofty goal.”
While the baseball industry is still heavily male dominated, Gosselin would not be the first female in MLB management. In November 2020, the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their General Manager, making her the first female GM in MLB history.
Head baseball coach Mike Glavine believes that the experiences Gosselin will gain as a student manager will help her break into the industry.
“I think all of those things are really going to help her as she progresses through baseball and she wants to get involved on that side. And I definitely think this is a nice little stepping stone for her,” Glavine said.
Martin, a finance major, would also love to stay involved with sports, with a goal of working on the financial side of things.
“I really do believe if they want a future in baseball they have one,” Glavine said. “I think they’re very well rounded, and like I said, have a passion for the game and an understanding of it, and also know the nuances and definitely are invested in our team and our success.”
Martin and Gosselin are not alone. Men’s basketball head managers Ryan and Isberg also plan to stay involved with sports after they graduate.
Ryan, who played ice hockey until three concussions ended his career during his senior year of high school, currently referees junior college hockey in addition to managing the basketball team.
“I’m still involved in hockey and I definitely, when I become a real adult, want to get back into coaching hockey,” he said.
Ryan believes one of the most valuable things he has learned from working so closely with head basketball coach Bill Coen is that coaching is not necessarily sport specific.
“The skills that you bring into leading a team are transferable between different sports,” Ryan said. “And being able to learn and understand the ins and outs of coaching young athletes, who are developing not just as athletes but as people too, it’s been really, really interesting to watch his leadership style and be able to take notes and draw from that.”
Isberg, who played basketball through high school, plans to remain in the sport post-graduation. He would like to either coach high school basketball and use his business major, or coach college basketball full time, depending on where life takes him. In his position as a student manager, Isberg has worked extensively with video clips for the team.
“I’ve considered myself basically an assistant video coordinator in terms of how much I interact with the coach, the film and stuff like that,” Isberg said.
He has also been able to use his role to network when applying for co-ops.
“I was applying to co-ops last semester and one of the coaches had a former player who was working at one of the places I was applying to, and he helped me connect with him and talk to him, which was really nice,” Isberg said. “So I think just the relationships you build there are kind of irreplaceable if you use them right.”
The relationships Isberg and Ryan have formed through managing the basketball team extend past those formed with coaches. Junior forward Jason Strong, who is also one of Isberg’s roommates, says that he thinks of both Isberg and Ryan as members of the team.
“I don’t look at it as like a manager relation,” Strong said. “It’s like they’re part of the team.”
Isberg said that the networking and career aspects are a huge benefit of becoming a student manager, but he also believes that the memories he has made are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
“My favorite things are definitely the traveling and just learning from everybody. The stories you hear or the things you get to see or learn about are irreplaceable. I’ll never have opportunities like this outside of Northeastern for sure.”
Traveling across the country also stands out for women’s basketball team manager Ana Ozuna. Last year, the team traveled to Oregon to play the top ranked team in the country.
“You’re playing probably one of the best teams in the U.S., when it came to college, and it was really cool to experience that court side,” Ozuna said. “You’re seeing the game up close, getting to experience a different style of game, while also doing the job.”
You won’t find Ozuna, Ryan, Isberg, Gosselin, Martin, or any of the other student managers listed on any rosters, but that doesn’t mean their work goes unnoticed or unappreciated.
For women’s basketball, Ozuna keeps the team organized and on task. Junior guard Katie May believes that Ozuna has the ability to make sure everybody’s in game needs are met and to keep the team focused.
“[Ana is] always very on top of things and a very organized person so I feel like the coaches appreciate that as well, but we definitely appreciate that,” May said. “We can definitely be a scatterbrained team, and I feel like she pulls us together and makes sure we’re always on top of things.”
Glavine echoes that statement. “They are sort of the unsung heroes,” Glavine said. “They don’t get any credit or anything, but I know every day when they get off the bus or when they show up that we’re always like ‘Oh, Chloe and Jarred are here, that’s great!’”
In Isberg’s eyes, being that unsung hero is imperative to the job. It’s what makes a good manager great.
“Not caring about getting recognized, that’s one of the biggest things as a manager. You do a lot of things that nobody really sees, nobody notices and it goes unrecognized,” Isberg said. “But you have to know at the end of the day, everyone really appreciates what you do, and you’ll get those moments here and there that you do get recognized and it feels great.”