KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — College basketball student-managers are constantly working in the higher education sports field. They make sure everything is set up perfectly for the coaching staff and student-athletes.
“I wanted to get involved as soon as I stepped foot on campus ’cause it’s just a way of life,” said Vol Basketball Senior Student-manager Coby Hollins. “It’s all I’ve known my whole life.”
Like the Vols’ long-term goal of winning the national title, the managers are working toward something bigger.
“My goal ultimately is to be a coach one day,” said Vol Basketball Junior Student-manager Blake Sexton.
The one-game-at-a-time attitude translates to the managers. In the short term, they are hoping a trip to Houston for the Final Four is in their future, and they have more than one shot at the opportunity.
“In 2016 and 2019, the managers that were here, they had a chance to go to the Final Four locations,” said Sexton. “Basically, it’s a voting process through Twitter, so there is this account called ‘Manager Games,’ and basically you have this opportunity, your team will be nominated against another team, and basically you have to out vote them, but ultimately our goal is to get to Houston to the Elite Eight.”
The final eight squads get to match up against each other at the Final Four for a chance at some hardware. The managers know the support Vol Nation has for the student-athletes, and they are hoping the same fans can lock up a spot in the Elite Eight.
“I know Vol Nation loves to win, so we just put that aspect out there and just ask people to vote for us,” said Hollins. “Take time out of their day and use that Tennessee pride.”
The managers will continue to work behind the scenes, but the Elite Eight would be a chance for their one shining moment.
“I mean it’s just a great way to end my senior year,” said Hollins. “I love this group of guys, and I love coming to work every day with them. They’re like my brothers and my family. Just to go out in Houston both our real team and the manager squad will be there. It would be a great way to end my senior year and just go out on the floor and compete for a championship.”
A family passing to each other on the court in the short term but assisting one another in the game life.
The Vols tip-off with Louisiana in the first round of the NCAA tournament this Thursday at 9:40 p.m.