Once September hits, football fans in Maryville get to see the Bearcats take the field on Saturdays dressed in that classic green and white.
After months of practice and preparation, countless film sessions and workouts, the players are finally ready, but not without some help. In the background, during those months, there is another group of people working to get the team back on the field. That is the Northwest Missouri State Equipment Department.
Making sure that the players look good is certainly a plus, but most importantly the equipment department has to make sure the Bearcats are safe. Player safety has been paramount in the world of college football in recent years.
Tucker Peve has been the director of equipment operations at Northwest since 2018, and he describes his department as one of the “teams behind the team.”
“We just try to raise the bar every year, and put the team in a position to win games,” Peve said.
Peve has been with the department for eight years, working as a student manager while earning his undergraduate in business management, and going on to earn his master’s in applied health and sport science. He is excited for the 2022 season, and is looking forward to Bearcat fans seeing the new apparel, helmets and uniforms, and everything else they have been working on.
Outside of his work with Northwest, Peve has worked as a part time equipment assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs, part of the Pro-Bowl staff and interned with the Baltimore Ravens. It’s now become almost a tradition for equipment staffers to intern for NFL teams. All of Peve’s five student interns have one of those internships this summer, as well as one of his graduate assistants, Will Walker, who is enjoying his time with the Ravens before returning to Maryville.
“I have just finished up my first week with the Ravens for training camp, and I have really enjoyed working at the NFL level,” Walker said. “The Ravens have done a great job at making me feel at home. I’m excited for the rest of training camp.”
Once back with the Bearcats in the fall, Walker is excited for the road trips where they can work on making sure the team feels at home. He feels like Peve and the rest of the staff has helped prepare him for the next level.
“From the day I submitted my resume, Tucker has helped me through every step,” Walker said. “With all of the knowledge that he has passed down to me, it has made me much more prepared to take the next step into a training camp role like I am today.”
Outside of the NFL, another Northwest equipment graduate has found success in the industry. Former Student-Manager Brady Archer is now the assistant director of equipment operations at USC, where before he worked at TCU as a graduate assistant.
“Tucker showed me a lot honestly. He showed me my passion for the industry really,” Archer said. “He cares so much about his students, and also the players.”
Archer never knew he wanted to go into the equipment industry until he got to college. Now working at Power Five Division I school, he is ready to take the next step forward in his career.