Installment #3 of MOAM's blog series featuring former student managers now achieving success in their professional careers.
Professional: Bruce Garnes
Current Title: Assistant Director of Football Operations, Virginia Tech
Student Manager Experience: Virginia Tech - Football
Career Notes: Bruce Garnes began his sports career with the Virginia Tech Hokies and worked his way up from there. While working as a student manager for the Virginia Tech Football team, Mr. Garnes became a Graduate Assistant under Dr. John Ballein, Associate Director of Athletics for Football Operations. While holding this position, Mr. Garnes received a Master’s Degree in Education Counseling. Upon completion of his Graduate Assistantship, he transitioned to working in the National Football League as an Equipment Intern with the Dallas Cowboys. From here, he continued his career ascent at Virginia Tech to the position he holds today.
Mr. Garnes is a true inspiration to all student managers working in the industry. He worked hard and put in countless hours to become not only a necessity to the Virginia Tech Football program, but a vital piece of the day-to-day operations within. His responsibilities are to maintain the day-to-day operations of the program, assist with the coordination of team travel, and manage all players inside of the program. Despite his numerous responsibilities, Mr. Garnes is committed to ‘never forgetting where he came from’ and is a frequent visitor of the Equipment Room, always willing to lend a hand for Equipment Director and his former boss, Lester Karlin. This often involves spotting footballs throughout practice, assisting with game day set-up, and continuously mentoring members of the equipment staff.
Mr. Garnes took time to answer the following questions regarding his student manager experiences for Managers On A Mission:
1. How did being a student manager help you in your career path?
It gave me an in to meet new people, such as Coach Ballein and Coach Beamer, and to network within the organization. This lead to a Graduate Position then to an Internship with the Dallas Cowboys, where I gained valuable knowledge from another prestigious program. All of this was able to occur by my start in the industry as a student manager.
2. What insight can you provide to future/current student managers to be successful in the sports industry?
Take the job serious! I know there are people who put a tag on managers as being less intelligent or don’t care, but that is far from the truth. When people degrade you or players are rude, you have to let it roll down your back. I’ll never forget as a student when I would be working on numerous small tasks for Coach Beamer, he would continue to tell me over and over, “I’m going to hire you.” If you are asked to do something, no matter how big or small, do it. That will go a long way in this field.
3. Who have been influences in your career to help you achieve your goals?
The two guys who I continue to work for today, Dr. John Ballein and Coach Frank Beamer. After completing my degrees they are the ones who gave me the opportunity to grow. They appreciated my work ethic and the capabilities I have. When I take the next step and become a Director of Operations, I will run the business and maintain it the same way these two men have for decades. They taught me how to treat every person with respect, which is a value that goes longer in the game of life than just football!