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Michigan State University

The Team Behind the Team

MSU Football Equipment Team

The Team Behind the Team

Running a Big Ten football program’s equipment department is an exercise in constant preparation and organization.

“We plan ahead to set the team up for success,” says Andrew Kolpacki, head football equipment manager.

Kolpacki, who started in the MSU equipment room as a student in 2011, leads an agile team of equipment experts who together manage every piece of football gear from top to turf. It takes planning, commitment and grit.

Sound familiar? Toward the end of the 2021-22 season, we went behind the scenes to catch a glimpse of what it takes to get MSU Football ready for the road.

EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE


MSU Football equipment team room.
Thursday before an away game in the MSU football equipment room. Custom cases and trunks loaded with everything from spare chin straps to emergency medical equipment are precisely packed and ready to roll onto the truck.
equipment team member places decals on MSU football helmet.
Assistant Football Equipment Manager Ryan Marsom carefully applies fresh decals to player helmets before sending them on the road.
MSU football jerseys hang before washing.
An industrial laundry setup and a constant cycle of washing, treating and repairing keep the Spartans looking clean on the field.
Football players' cleats put away neatly.
Like a library of gear, every piece of equipment has its place in the deep rows of shelves and drawers. It’s a major operation as Kolpacki and his team must purchase, maintain, repair, transport, store, clean and inventory all of it.
Closeup of football cleats.
Like a library of gear, every piece of equipment has its place in the deep rows of shelves and drawers. It’s a major operation as Kolpacki and his team must purchase, maintain, repair, transport, store, clean and inventory all of it.

BATTLE READY
76 players travel to a typical away game. But at home, up to 105 players can be dressed on the sideline. Each player is custom fitted for helmets, cleats, gloves and pads.


BRINGING THE HEAT
Fall and winter in the Big Ten can be brutally cold. Kolpacki and his team pack and transport industrial heaters and heated benches (plus the propane to fuel them) to away games.


SPARTAN GAME BALLS
MSU brings about 18 game balls to every road matchup. Used on offensive possessions, they’re inspected by the refs prior to kickoff. The team also brings 50-60 additional balls to use in warmups.

ROAD WARRIORS


Loading benches to truck
MSU Football takes enough equipment to fill an 18-wheel semitrailer when it travels to away games. In addition to uniforms, pads and player gear, the rig is packed with heated benches (above), sideline bikes, kicking nets, equipment for the video team and a host of other vital pieces that need to be secured in the trailer.
Moving boxes
Kolpacki takes charge as the equipment room's quarterback on loading day.
student preps equipment
After Thursday’s morning practice, individual player bags are double and triple checked to ensure they’re fully prepared for the gridiron.
Student packs equipment
After Thursday’s morning practice, individual player bags are double and triple checked to ensure they’re fully prepared for the gridiron.
Triple checking equipment list.
After Thursday’s morning practice, individual player bags are double and triple checked to ensure they’re fully prepared for the gridiron.

equipment team members move gear.
Loading day is all hands on deck as equipment truck driver Glenn Edgett and athletic trainer Jensyn Bradley prep cases to be loaded onto the trailer.
equipment team members move gear.
Player bags are logged by hand and loaded onto the truck.
the truck the equipment team uses.
As equipment truck driver Glenn Edgett will tell you, barreling down the road in a green and white semi emblazoned with MSU logos turns a lot of heads. But it’s not all “Go Greens” on the highway. Edgett has seen his share of choice fingers in the 13 years he’s been hauling MSU’s gear.
the team behind the team.
Edgett, Kolpacki, Assistant Football Equipment Manager Jacob Crane and Marsom ready to head out after a successful load.

CHECKLISTS
From pads and uniforms, to chin straps and shoelaces, detailed checklists help the equipment team keep every piece of gear in order and ensure nothing is left behind.


SUITING UP
This year’s uniforms included three different jerseys, four different pants, two helmets (one green, one white) and a host of various helmet decals. The team wore a different combination for every game of the 2021-22 season.


CLEAR CHANNELS
Ahead of gameday, headset technicians Adam Joyce and Mike Lark coordinate with TV networks, the opposing team, referees and even local cell towers to ensure there are no overlapping frequencies (or stolen gameplans).

Author: Tim Cerullo, '08
Contributing Writer(s): Iain Bogle, Photographer

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