Wesson native travels country with MSU football

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Joel Douglas, a former resident of Wesson, has been enjoying life with the Mississippi State Bulldogs as the head quarterback’s equipment manager including the 2014 Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

“Miami was awesome, and the temperature was great,” Douglas said of his experience at the bowl game as he explained how nice the warmer weather was compared to being in freezing temperatures in Mississippi.

Douglas is currently a junior at Mississippi State University earning his degree in business administration with a focus on marketing and management. But while he is not being on the honor roll in class, Douglas works seven days a week washing laundry, prepping footballs and doing really anything necessary to make games and practices run smoothly for the Bulldogs.

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Being apart of the Maroon and White family has been a special addition to Douglas’s academic career and has provided him with once in a lifetime opportunities to be a part of the SEC life.

Douglas said of his most recent season, “If someone would have told me we would have been 10 – 3 this season, I probably would’ve slapped them in the face.”

MSU had the privilege of playing against, and beating, some of the better teams in the country including Louisiana State University, Texas A & M and Auburn University. After breaking the winning streak with Alabama, MSU lost against the University of Mississippi in the 2014 Egg Bowl, but Douglas said it was a hard fight in those particular games and each team played well.

Of the rivalry match in the Egg Bowl, Douglas quipped, “Bo Wallace, all of the sudden, decided to have one of his better games of the season.”

Douglas proudly bleeds Maroon and White without shame when comparing colleges.

“I never dreamed of being number one,” Douglas highlighted.

He added that, at times, the stadium sounded similar to a continuous gunshot of applause and cheering.

Along with the perks, the job also comes intact with stress and hard work. His self-proclaimed job description is the “elbow grease” section of the game that you do not see in the end-zone but on the sidelines.

“The other managers and I are a lot like a hydraulic system of the team: You can’t see each individual part working, but we play a major role in keeping everything flowing.”

He added the sum of the managers have been known to unload and load a semi-truck in around 30 minutes.

The equipment manager team consists of Douglas and 12 other part-time students, two graduate assistants and three full-time employees. Two of the full-time employees, Phil Silva and Jason Hubbard, have been developing close friendships with Douglas over the previous semesters.

Douglas has been a football manager, all in all, for over eight seasons including his junior high and high school years at Wesson Attendance Center and Bountiful High School in Bountiful, Utah. He also served as equipment manager at Copiah-Lincoln Community College for two years.

Douglas added Co-Lin and MSU managing are similar, with the only real difference is the increase of scale in the job and the leadership responsibilities.

“Instead of four people managing, we do it with 14 people, and we have more equipment,” explained Douglas.

Douglas and his fellow classmates miss a decent portion of class while being on the road with the Bulldogs, but he proclaimed time-management as the key to academic success in college. He further stated many professors are understanding of his position with the team. Teachers regard the managers as regular teammates because of the tremendous amount of hours they put out for the university.

Douglas shared another key to managing, not just the team, but stress, school and work is having an optimistic outlook on each semester.

“Trying to keep a positive attitude helps out a lot,” he explained.

Douglas will continue to be equipment manager for the MSU Bulldogs as he finishes out his degree. He has earned multiple scholarships working for the team and is close to several players.

“Starkville is my home,” Douglas summarized.