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- The gift of education
While most have been focused on the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team’s performance in its inaugural season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, few have been aware of the equipment and gear the team embodies.
Since taking over in the 2007-08 season, Bobcats head coach Tom Moore has made the decision to be represented by Nike.
“Coach Moore had a relationship with Nike from his UConn days,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Eric Eaton said. “I think it’s the most widely-recognized brand. That being said, I think it holds up the best. The shoes hold up the best and the gear holds up the best so we get more bang for your buck with it.”
Along with the personal relationship with the brand, the coaching staff makes the ultimate decision to go through Nike when ordering equipment. Once it evaluates the equipment, the next step is to know how much to order.
“We have a budget that we have to stay within so I have to go month by month and kind of figure out where we are with the budget and how much I have left and figure out what I’m going to spend on certain things,” Eaton said. “Because then we would have no money left, if we need things towards the end of the season or even in the summer then I can’t use it so I got to keep on top of it the whole year.”
When breaking it down to the specifics, coaches must be aware of what type of shoes to order. By getting a variety of shoes, it allows the players to get a feel for what type of shoe they think is best.
“With our Nike contract, they give us usually four or five different styles to wear,” Eaton said. “So we’ll usually have the guys choose the style that they like the best. Some of the guys have wider feet, some of them have more narrow feet so they kind of adjust over the first month of the season as to which ones they like the best.”
Each player has their own way of choosing what style to go with as the season progresses. Some players care about the look of the shoe while others prefer the one’s that fit the best.
“I just go for the brightest shoe you know,” junior guard Zaid Hearst said. “I like yellow so I just try to get an all yellow shoe or something like that.”
While Hearst tries to flash his taste of color with his Nike Hyperdunks, players such as sophomore James Ford Jr. focus on comfort.
“I choose the shoe based on what I’m more comfortable with,” Ford Jr. said. “Like what shoes are broken in and what shoes basically fit the jersey. So I got a shoe that I wear for away games and the home games I got the KD’s because they fit more comfortable since I broke them in.”
With shoes being the main attraction, players are also welcomed with plenty of other gear such as practice equipment and dri-fit T-shirts. As any would be, each player is ecstatic when new equipment arrives.
“First time getting the gear, it’s like receiving candy as a little kid,” Ford Jr. said “You want to just go around, see what you get like sort out what your going to wear. I separate the short sleeves and the long sleeves and then I go to the shorts to match with them.”
Players aren’t selfish with the gear they receive either. Knowing that they have a virtually unlimited supply, they want to share and distribute some of the equipment to friends and family as well.
“Well first when you get all the gear, of course you want to give your family and your friends some gear,” Hearst said. “I give a lot of my gear to my friends and stuff on campus. Basically I’m a distributor, so every time I get some gear I just share it.”
Although players aren’t required to wear their gear on campus, they often feel the need to in order to represent their school and its colors. The same applies for when they are back at home as well.
“I like representing my school,” Hearst said. “When I go home I always wear my Quinnipiac stuff. Everybody says, ‘I always see you in a Quinnipiac shirt or Quinnipiac sweatpants.’ I’m just trying to get the name out there. Some people back home, they don’t even know how to say Quinnipiac so I just try to wear the gear whenever I can.”