Managers serve as unsung heroes for women’s basketball

Women%27s+basketball+managers+Quinn+Faeth+%28center%29+and+Mikey+Garven+%28right%29+sit+on+the+bench+during+Marquette%27s+76-54+win+against+Butler+on+Feb.+16.+

Photo by John Steppe

Women's basketball managers Quinn Faeth (center) and Mikey Garven (right) sit on the bench during Marquette's 76-54 win against Butler on Feb. 16.

Athletes get all the glory. When Marquette women’s basketball has record-setting seasons and makes it to the NCAA Tournament, it is players like junior Selena Lott and redshirt junior Lauren Van Kleunen who get the credit.

But there’s another group of students that plays a pivotal role in the success of the program: the student managers.

“(Managers) do all the dirty work. They do all the little things,” assistant coach Justine Raterman said. “Whether it’s what you’re seeing during practice, from always having a ball ready or running the shot clock … what people don’t realize is all that they do outside of practice.”

In total, there are nine managers, doing all of the little things that make a program run.

“(Being a manager) is definitely a thankless job,” Raterman said. “The managers make sure everything is running smoothly, and (the coaching staff) doesn’t have to think about those details because we know that they’re going to be handled on a daily basis.”

Quinn Faeth, a junior in the College of Communication, is the head manager for the program.

“We have laundry responsibilities, game day stuff, whether it’s setting up the bench or the locker room, traveling or packing for road trips,” Faeth said. “Honestly, it’s just anything that comes up on a daily basis. It’s not a very consistent job, just whenever something needs to be done, we’re the ones that are looked to.”

Faeth started as a manager his sophomore year at Marquette, having played basketball all four years of high school and served as a practice player for the women’s team in his first year at MU. 

As head manager, Faeth oversees the other eight managers.

“We have six new managers this year, so me and three other (returners) basically had them shadow us for a day,” Faeth said. “It’s a lot of teaching, understanding that you’re going to mess up, you’re going to make mistakes, but it’s just how to make them better for the next time.”

Jaela Preister, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, is one of the other managers for the team. Preister also played basketball throughout high school and stumbled upon the manager position in a unique way.

“At (first-year registration), Lauren (Van Kleunen) was here at the women’s basketball booth, and I was asking questions about intramural and club basketball,” Preister said. “She was saying that the women’s team had managers, and it’d be a really cool idea for me to come check it out. … I’ve been here ever since.”

Preister said the amount of work put on all of the managers is always tough to handle.

“Laundry is done seven days a week, so one person has laundry all the time,” Preister said. “We’re here 45 minutes before practice starts to set up hoops, put cones and everything everywhere for each drill, fill up the water bottles and just make sure everything is ready. It’s just a lot of work.”

Despite the workload being a lot to deal with, Preister said she loves her job.

“To have the ability to be a part of something bigger and to be around basketball all the time, it’s a huge plus,” Preister said.

For Faeth, his favorite part is getting to build strong relationships with the team.

“My favorite part of the job is just being around the players,” Faeth said. “Usually, they make the job a lot more fun. If you can connect with them, have a good relationship with them, that makes the job a whole lot easier.”

Preister’s most valued part of her role is getting to travel and see new places.

“I have gone on almost every (road) trip,” Preister said. “I went to California for the first time, we went to New York — that was my first time on Broadway. So I’m doing something I love, but I’m also seeing so much new stuff. It’s amazing to be part of it.”

As far as the best moment in his time with the team, Faeth said it will be hard to top last season’s NCAA Tournament games.

“My favorite game has to be the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year,” Faeth said. “Anytime you get in the postseason, it’s a lot of fun, different energy. It was the first time I had ever experienced anything like that, and obviously we got a win.”

Through his two years as a manager, Faeth said he has cultivated strong relationships with a number of players, often hanging out with them outside of the Al McGuire Center.

“I’m really close with Selena,” Faeth said. “Obviously, I was pretty close with last year’s senior class. Isabelle Spingola I’m also pretty good friends with, and I’m starting to get to know all the new (first-years) too.”

Preister said there are often misconceptions about how much work the managers do.

“I feel like a lot of people think, ‘Oh, you just get cool gear, you get to travel,'” Preister said. “But I think I’m here 30-40 hours a week. We might not have to be at practice until 12, but I’ll be there at 9:30 or 9:45, getting everything ready to leave (for a road trip).”

Even though fans and onlookers may not notice the importance of the managers, the coaching staff certainly does.

“We know as a staff and as players how important that is,” Raterman said. “We definitely don’t take that for granted. They are just always there, always helping make our jobs easier.”

This article was written by Dan Avington. He can be reached at daniel.avington@marquette.edu or on Twitter @danavington.