Not his first rodeo: head men’s basketball manager discusses wranglin’ the Bulls
As the Bulls traveled to Cleveland for the 2017 men’s MAC tournament, the team received a text from the equipment manager.
The game was the next day and the practice jerseys were nowhere to be found.
Wesley Scheier was to blame.
Scheier, a senior business major, has been a men’s basketball manager with the Bulls for four years. This is his first year as head manager. His duties range from setting up practice to taking food orders and everything in between.
“That’s the only mess up Wes has ever had,” said former Bulls head manager Dallas Comstock. “We were on the bus and someone asked about [the practice jerseys] and his eyes lit up because he knew he forgot them. Chaos completely broke out. We had to figure out how to get the practice jerseys from Buffalo to Cleveland.”
Scheier pulled strings, and arranged for the practice jerseys to be brought from Buffalo to Cleveland on a Greyhound bus.
Scheier always knew he wanted to be involved with sports. He loved every sport as a kid, especially basketball. But Scheier was not athletic enough to play basketball at a high school level, let alone collegiately, despite his passion.
“If you looked at me when I was younger, I would have been cut when I walked into the gym,” Scheier said. “But I knew I wanted to do something in basketball… I figured the best way to get in involved was to be a manager, get hands on experience.”
Scheier spends 25 to 30 hours a week helping the Bulls. Scheier didn’t take the commitment seriously at first. As a freshman and sophomore, he never grasped the importance of the job.
Tom Fox, a video coordinator for the Bulls, recalls a time when the floor needed to be mopped for player safety two seasons ago.
“He was sitting at the scorer’s table. I said to him ‘can you please go on the court? Just in case anyone falls over,’” Fox said. “He said to me ‘I should do it but I’m not going to.’… I chewed him out a little bit. The first impression I had of him was very bad… This year he has been fantastic. He has gone above and beyond.”
Scheier learned discipline and the importance of responsibility and time management as a manager. He has found a balance between his role as a student and a manager; his colleagues agree.
“He has developed so much. He is a completely different person from when I first started at UB,” Comstock said. “Before he didn’t realize how serious that manager job was. They do all of the dirty work.”
Being a manager is an integral part of a program. He sets up practices and organizes meals and equipment. If a meal is not provided by the hotel, it is up to Scheier to make it happen.
“If you mess one guy’s order up, they start complaining,” Scheier said. “Any little thing, they will pick it out. You got to make sure that it is as close to perfect as it can be. The coaches and players get on me about that.”
Scheier realized the importance of his job during a road trip in Ohio last season. After the game there was a miscommunication between Scheier and the restaurant. Half of the food order was missing. Luckily for Scheier, the players were in a good mood after winning their game.
“Thank God we won that game,” Scheier said. “Otherwise I would have been cursed out… Everyone was missing their order. Everyone said, ‘screw it, I’m going to Chipotle.’”
Luckily, strength and conditioning coach Mike Snowden pitches in. His role is to work with players on their physical preparation and to work with the athletic trainer to improve recovery.
Snowden helps with meal preparation and stresses the importance of a nutritious diet on the road. Snowden credits Scheier for playing a major role in contributing to team health.
“Wes is a jack-of-all-trades for us,” Snowden said. “Wes is a guy who I can rely on to get things done right the first time... He plays a role in a little bit of everything.”
Jeremy Torres is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org