The Understated Importance of Team Managers



CAS junior Vivian Lee (right) has been the team manager of the men’s volleyball team for the past three seasons.

Bela Kirpalani, Deputy Sports Editor

Long gone are the days of the stereotypical scrawny kid struggling to carry the heavy jug of water onto the field, making sure the players are hydrated and watching the game from the bleachers behind thick-rimmed glasses. In this day and age, a team manager is so much more. While making sure there is enough water for the team is still an important part of the job, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes every day to keep the team operations running smoothly.

CAS junior Vivian Lee has been the team manager of the men’s volleyball team for the past three seasons. Lee played volleyball in high school before a knee injury kept her from ever playing sports again.

“I’ve always wanted to work in sports, and when I came here, I thought it would be most efficient to start with NYU athletics,” Lee said. “So I reached out to teams, and there were a couple of spots available with different teams and after going through the interview process, I chose the men’s volleyball team.”

Lee’s responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to, controlling the team’s official social media pages, coordinating events and promotions with the NYU Athletics department, keeping track of equipment, attending every single practice session, travelling to road games with the team, taking statistics of each player’s performances during matches. Head coach Jose Pina is appreciative of all the hard work Lee does for the team.

“Vivian does so much for us,” Pina said. “She takes statistics on the iPad during the game. She takes videos during the game. She does social media. She gives the players advice. She’s always so supportive, sitting on the bench. For us, the manager position is a lot more than just taking care of the equipment and stuff like that. But it’s what you make of it, and it’s been pretty great to see Vivian grow into her role.”

While Lee loves her role with the men’s volleyball team, she does run into some problems. With a lack of attendance at games and the struggle to keep up the team’s social media presence, Lee’s job is not a walk in the park.

“My main struggle during the offseason is keeping our social media going,” Lee said. “As for during the season, our matches are played in Brooklyn, so sometimes getting people to come is a big struggle. Sometimes we’ll play a team like Hunter College, and more people from Hunter come to the game than people from NYU.”

Lee has also faced stereotypes about her job when talking to people outside of the sports world.

“There’s definitely a stereotype for managers and especially for me as a female in the industry,” Lee said. “If I’m in an interview and I tell the interviewer that I’m a team manager, they’re like ‘OK, what do you really do as manager? All you do is probably be a waterboy’ type things. That’s honestly the stereotype, and it kind of sucks that that’s all people think of us, especially since the job is more than that now.”

While others may not appreciate all of the work that Lee does for the team, the players on the men’s volleyball team love having her there. CAS sophomore Evan Lindley couldn’t imagine the team without Lee.

“Vivi is a sister to each one of the guys on the team,” Lindley said. “She lives in the same apartment as one current and one former player; she is someone who we all joke around with as friends, and if anyone had beef with her, we’d immediately stand up for her. The coaches absolutely adore her; they will honestly do anything to help her because she does so much for us.”

Lee is grateful for all of the support that the team gives her, and her bond with the team is what keeps her going.

“Going back to me being the only girl on the team, I think they really respect that and make sure I don’t ever feel underappreciated or undermined,” Lee said. “That’s something that I really appreciate about the coaching staff and the whole team  — they never make me feel left out.”

A version of this article was published in the Monday, April 30 print edition. Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected]