As Vanderbilt’s equipment director, Jordan Hunt oversees all aspects of equipment operations for the Commodore football team, including a staff of two full-time assistants and 14 student assistants during the season. Hunt began his career as a student manager at Alabama before professional stints at South Dakota State and Connecticut. He came to Vanderbilt two years ago, and his life changed again six months ago with the birth of his first child.
I grew up in Tuscaloosa going to Alabama games.
I would work a concession stand for my middle school basketball team just so I could get in the games for free.
When I got to college, I became a student football manager and that led me to this career.
We don’t win games in the equipment room, but we can help lose games if we aren’t prepared. While we can’t make plays on the field, we do everything we can to minimize distractions. We make sure the helmets fit, we make sure everything is in place for the guys to do the best they can on the field.
This is a great place to be because the football equipment room is part of the football family, and that’s not always the case. The culture here is that we have a great group of guys, a great group of players, and doing everything we can to help them play makes our job more fun.
When people think about equipment, they think underwear and socks. It’s that, but it’s everything from helmet screws all the way up to making packing an entire 18-wheeler for our road games. It’s a huge production. We fill the 18-wheeler with everything from uniforms to shoulder pads to white boards to use at halftime to Gatorade towels for guys to wipe their face when they’re sweating on the field.
We pride ourselves on attention to detail.
I’m pretty organized, pretty structured. We keep our house very minimal to make sure we only have what we need. If you only have what you need, instead of a bunch of stuff that just gets in the way, it makes organizing a lot easier.
It’s hard to do this job and not be organized.
I love what I do, I love working with Nike, I enjoy equipment, I enjoy apparel. A lot of times a job is a job. But here in collegiate athletics, you actually do have a real team. There is a result on Saturday. While I can’t affect that result, that’s a true driving force behind job satisfaction.
I enjoy working with my students, being able to try to mentor them, and then being around our players who are the best young men at any school I’ve been around. It really does make the job more enjoyable.
During a game you’ll find me on the sidelines. I’m usually around 30 yards away from the play where I can get an angle. You’ll always see me when a helmet comes off. With the new rule where the player can’t play the next play, you’ll always see me sprinting to the player to make sure there’s not something wrong with the helmet.
If we have a game on Saturday somewhere, the truck will get back on Sunday, we’ll unload at 2 in the morning or whenever. We’ll work all week to get ready. Get the helmets re-stickered, the jerseys washed, the coaches stuff drycleaned. We will load the truck Thursday after practice. We always try to have the locker room set up at the away site before the team leaves campus, just in case we forgot something. Hasn’t happened yet.
My wife, Jana, and I went to high school together and went to the University of Alabama together. We went to the prom my senior year and her senior year.
We have a six-month-old daughter, Jojo. She’s amazing. She’s changed our life.
We love to travel. We’re going to Hawaii at the end of the month and we will take her with us.
Having a child makes you prioritize what’s important. I tell people in this profession, if you’re going to be a good equipment manager and you’re going to be a good husband, you can’t be a good “insert hobby.” A good golfer, a good hunter, whatever your hobbies are, you’re probably not going to be as good at them as you once were.