Student Managers: The Backbone of Cornell Athletics
In college athletics, most of the glory is typically awarded to the athletes themselves. However, there are many staff members constantly working behind the scenes who keep the programs running. Student-managers are some of the most valuable, yet most overlooked, people in college athletics. Not only does the work managers put in contribute to the success of the team, but managers are also an integral part of the program who warrant recognition.
At Cornell, managers are typically students who help with various duties regarding their team’s preparation, performance, and presentation. Tasks of managers can include media work, such as arranging media boards and filming games, which is especially helpful for coaching staff and the team’s learning experience. Other tasks include scorekeeping (especially helpful for online records), setting up equipment before games and practices, and even preparing scouting reports and recruitment material.
Cornell athletic managers find that their roles have helped them find a sense of belonging on campus. Wrestling manager Nia Perry ’25, who grew up surrounded by the sport, describes how the program has provided her with a new family at Cornell:
“Due to wrestling being such a large part of what has determined my character and occupied my time until I came to Cornell, I was unsure of how I would adjust… Now, as a part of the Cornell team, I feel that I have found a new family. It has truly helped make a large school feel like a small community, which has been so comforting.”
Being a manager, however, can come with a variety of responsibilities and challenges. Deva Barer ‘23, manager of the Cornell varsity football team, tells stories of hours-long practices in the freezing cold. Regardless, she still finds value in her role on the team and appreciates the knowledge she has acquired from the role.
“Being a manager has allowed me to learn more about the sport and develop valuable relationships with the staff,” Barer said. “Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself, and for that I’m very grateful.”
By taking care of such necessary tasks, athletic managers are able to provide their teams with the opportunity to focus solely on their performances. Managers can take pride in helping a team achieve success, and the teams are equally appreciative of their efforts. Inherently, athletic managers are an integral part of the athletic operational system.
At Cornell, athletic managers are treated as members of the team. Sprint football manager Sofia Chierchio ’25 describes how being a manager has been her favorite experience at Cornell so far.
“I learned what it means to truly be part of a team, how to work with people from many different backgrounds, and the importance of commitment,” Chierchio said. “Some days, it’s difficult balancing school and extracurriculars with having to attend practices everyday, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have met some of my best friends through Cornell sprint football, some that will last for the rest of my life.”
Perry has had a similar experience, stating that being the Cornell wrestling manager provided her “the opportunity to see not only how hard [the athletes] work, but how much time they devote to becoming students of the sport,” stating how she respects them “not only as athletes, but as people.”
The relationship between athletes and managers at Cornell is closely knit, as they spend so much time together working towards a common goal. Both athletes and managers seek success for their programs, and managers are able to provide the support that athletes need in order to achieve these goals during their time at Cornell.