The Team Behind the Team…

Getting to Know Rob Mangan, Liberty Equipment Manager

Whenever a new season begins, there is always a lot to take in. The new faces of the players, coaches, scenery – and this year, it’s those new uniforms the WNBA players are donning.

Have you ever wondered who is responsible for making sure the players have those uniforms in time for the game? Or curious as to who checks in that each player is following the League rules about appropriate sneakers, socks and other accessories?

Well, wonder no more, and say hello to Rob Mangan. The 26-year old New York-native stays hard at work ensuring that each Liberty player is outfitted with the correct uniform, coaches are decked out in the latest practice gear and the locker rooms are set up for home and visiting teams at Madison Square Garden.

With the 2007 Liberty season underway, Rob took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with NYLiberty.com to shed some light on what an equipment manager for the Liberty does from day-to-day.

What exactly is an equipment manager responsible for?
An equipment manager is responsible for all attire a team wears during the season. This includes uniforms, warm up pants and shooting shirts, practice gear, sneakers, socks, head/wristbands, as well as any sweats or t-shirts a player may need to do an appearance. I also outfit the coaching and training staff.

It is important to make sure all players follow the guidelines set forth by the WNBA in regards to the uniforms they wear. If their shorts are too big or they are not wearing the right color sneaker, they can be fined by the League. I try to prevent that from happening to any of our players.

What do you handle on game days?
I am in charge of the basketballs, ball racks and all the products that the team uses such as beverages, towels, coolers and water carts. I manage our locker room attendants, making sure we have enough of everything. Also, I set up all locker rooms for the Liberty, the visiting team and the referees.

How did you end up with the Liberty?
It was a gradual process. I started as a locker room attendant for the Knicks during the ‘99-‘00 season. During the ‘03-‘04 season, I became the game day coordinator for the Knicks and would assist the visiting teams’ needs on game days. I started working with the Liberty in 2002 and accepted my current position in 2006.

After so many years working with the Liberty, which season was most memorable for you?
It was in the 2002 season when the Liberty made it to the WNBA Finals. It was a great team, with a great group of players. They all made me feel welcome. And I remember just being amazed by the Liberty fan base.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Being around something I love, basketball. I love the team dynamic and how a small group of people can come together for one common goal. Since becoming the equipment manager, I see how hard these women work day in and day out and it’s something I enjoy being a part of it.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
This job is most challenging when there are back to back games. I have to be quick and on point to make sure that every player has what she needs when the team goes on the road the day after a home game. It's the same thing when we are playing a team that is on a road trip. Sometimes a game will end at 10pm and then I would have to wash the visiting teams uniforms and drop it off at there hotel the night before they go to there next destination. It can get pretty late, sometimes 2am, and if we are practicing the next morning, it's a long night.

What is a typical day like for you?
My day starts by getting to the practice facility at least two hours before practice begins. I have to make sure the court is set up properly and check to see if the players have everything they need for practice. During practice, I run the shot clock and scoreboard for Coach Coyle. Afterwards, I handle all deliveries to the Liberty, and then wash the team’s practice gear, as well towels used in the training room, shower areas and on the court.

Have you ever forgotten a player’s gear on a road trip?
It's only my second season and nothing too dramatic has happened yet. All in due time I guess!

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in sports?
My advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in sports is to just do what you love and know your limits. Working for two professional sports teams in New York is the greatest thing I can think of, so just do your job, smile, and hope that someone notices the hard work you put in to your job, no matter how big or small it may seem.

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You can catch Rob, along with the latest and greatest Liberty gear, all summer long at Madison Square Garden. Liberty season ticket plans are available by calling (212) 465-6073 and individual game tickets may be purchased at www.nyliberty.com, The Garden Box Office or by calling 877-WNBA-TIX.