The Team Behind the Team: Student Manager Nick McLaren
Nick McLaren

May 5, 2014

Compiled by Chris Graham,

The University of Michigan softball team is supported by a terrific team behind the scenes. For the next three weeks, will highlight softball's trio of student-managers who are part of the lifeblood of the program.

Nick McLaren
Year: Senior
Experience: First Season
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Alpena, Mich.
High School: Alpena

How did you become a student manager? ... "It's something that I was looking to do because I've been a fan of the softball team for a while. I was looking into the job and one day I was on Twitter and saw they were looking for student managers. I sent in my application, the next day I had an interview, and the day after that I had the job. It worked out as well as I could've hoped."

How do you balance being a student and working for the team? ... "It's a little tougher than I had originally anticipated. It has allowed me to see how difficult being a student-athlete really is. It's pretty demanding. The travel has made it tough to miss classes, but also gives me more time to get work done. There's some downtime on trips, whether you're on the plane or on the bus, where you can work on some stuff. It has been good to have people around me who have taken some of the classes I'm taking right now and have experience with the material."

What got you interested in softball? ... "I've played baseball as long as I can remember. I was just a sports fan and wanted to play pretty much everything. I played soccer, football, basketball and baseball. Baseball kept my attention more because I'm not the most physically-gifted person in terms of height and weight, and I was smaller than just about everyone else on the field. Baseball isn't a sport where you have to be a freak of nature to play it, and anybody can do well, no matter their size. I played all the way through high school and I really enjoy the game."

What is the most surprising thing about the job? ... "How everybody acts when they're not in the game. When you're a fan of athletes and you pay attention to them, it's weird to think of them as being normal people. It's weird to think of what they do outside of the game and seeing them in some other contexts. On the bus, some of them sing just as badly as I do. Nobody's perfect and it's interesting to get that inside look."

What are your daily duties? ... "We handle the equipment, set up practice and set up drill stations. We also make sure that the coaches have the protector screens out for batting practice. Throwing front toss is something we do that doesn't require a ton of athletic ability. Just making sure the coaches have everything they need to make practice run smoothly. Also, to make sure that the team has everything they need to put themselves in the best possible position to succeed."

• Previous Profile: Jarret DeHetre

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