Team managers shore up morale behind the scenes

Lee Litvin, center, and Tom Witt, right, celebrate a win with seniors Mike Rosaroso, Jordan Barton and Jordan Semple. Photo courtesy of Lee Litvin.

Every superhero needs a sidekick. Batman has Robin and Mermaid Man has Barnacle Boy.

At Chico State, the men’s basketball team has a set of its own sidekicks. Students Lee Litvin, Jay Callis and Oscar Fullerton are first-year team managers assisting the players and helping out the coaches.

These men can be found on the sidelines during games dressed up from head to toe in nice slacks, a fresh buttoned-up shirt and a clean tie.

While sitting on the bench, they cheer and make sure the game is running smoothly.

Not only are the sidekick trio seen at games, but they also attend every practice with the team to make sure that it is running smoothly, Litvin said.

“I make sure the players only have to worry about basketball and coaches do not have to worry about facilitating, working the clock or holding the clipboards,” Litvin said.

Callis wanted to be a team manager for his education, he said.

Callis is a coaching and administrative major and is using his team management experience as a way to get his feet wet.

Chico State junior Alex Martinez said that he had no idea team managers even existed.

Litvin knows that people have no clue what he does, but he just likes being around the game he loves, he said.

As for the basketball players, they respect what he does and he respects what they do, Litvin said.

The managers and players have a bond and enjoy hanging out with one another outside of basketball.

First-year player Keith Datu said that he’s really close with Litvin, who offers extra support when players are on the court.

“I can see that they love what they do by encouraging us,” Datu said. “They mop the floors and work the clock. I do not mean that in a demeaning way, but in a grateful way,”

Litvin, Callis and Fullerton are a big help to making the team run smoothly, and it would not be the same without having their company around, Datu said.

Even though the manager squad is not honored for the work they put into the team, it is recognized through the players how much they are appreciated and enjoy being around them.

“Being around a great group of men has given me an awesome experience I will not forget,” Litvin said.

Breanna Barnard can be reached at [email protected] or @beeebarnyardd on Twitter.