Brad Owens is in his eighth season with the Tiger baseball program as director of operations. His day-to-day tasks are varied and many. So Owens sat down with us to give us answers to questions relating to his work with the coaches, players and staff.
What skills are necessary to perform you job?“I’ve found over the course of the years that many skills are necessary to effectively do my job. I believe that strong organizational skills, communication skills, computer skills and being able to adapt to all situations are necessary. Many of these skills have grown and I have learned to adapt to anything that comes my way. Working in operations comes with many different jobs, and being able to put all the skills together to best help our team function makes each day exciting.
What are some things that you do on a daily basis during the season that fans might not know?Being in operations, many things fall onto your plate. During the season, I am in charge of making sure the umpires are scheduled, the visiting team’s needs are met, away-game travel plans are all set, any team meals are arranged and anything else that might help our team be the best possible and let our coaches focus on coaching. I also handle all communication with visits of professional scouts when they are scouting our players.”
What are the interactions like with Coach Leggett and the rest of the coaching staff?“I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff to work for. Coach Leggett is like a father to us all and we are able to see a side of him that the fans don’t get to see. We are all very close and always try to help each other out when needed. I work very closely with each of the coaches and try to take their visions and ideas to help make our team better and make those a reality. Our staff is very much a part of the family that Clemson is known for.”
What is the typical road trip like for you?“Road trips are one of my favorite parts of my job. Being responsible for all of the team’s travel needs can be very demanding but also very exciting at times, visiting all of the ACC campuses. Other than the bus, hotel and flight arrangements that are made in the fall, a typical road trip begins a week before we actually travel to that campus. I always check in with the hotel a few weeks prior to make any final arrangements necessary and then I begin to plan out our itinerary. Each player receives a personalized envelope when boarding the bus with an itinerary of our trip and his per diem for the days we are away. The itinerary consists of the hotel address, breakfast times, departure times, batting practice schedule and postgame food plans among other details for the trip. I plan out the itinerary for the weekend, then I begin to identify where we need team meals throughout the trip. These meals consist of a team breakfast every morning and pregame and postgame meals. I coordinate with the bus driver and specific directions and schedule for the team. After we have completed our games, I make sure everything is in line, then we head back to Clemson. We unload the bus, unpack and then my mind automatically looks to the next road trip.”
What tasks are you focused on during the fall semester?“During the fall semester, there are many items that I try to focus on before the season. The three main aspects I do once the semester begins are finalize our hotels, bus contracts and airline needs for the upcoming spring. I finalize all of those arrangements and put that behind me until the spring arrives. I also try to help make sure the players get back into their routine and get the semester underway. I try to assist our director of equipment, Mike Wilson, in making sure we have everything we need for the upcoming practice season and spring season. I try to take responsibility for any off-the-field needs in order to make sure our coaches can focus on coaching as much as possible.”
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?“There are many things that come to mind when I think about the rewarding aspects. Over the course of my first seven years with the program, I’ve been able to get to know and form a bond with some of our players that will last a lifetime. It is very rewarding seeing them come in as freshmen and their heads are spinning 100 mph, and then in a brief few years, they leave as leaders and mature young men who have grown tremendously. Being able to mentor and assist in that growth comes with endless rewards. There are also many rewarding aspects, such as traveling to different cities, being a part of a World Series team and that feeling after winning a big game are great, but seeing young players develop into their own self comes with endless reward.”
Who are the biggest jokesters on the team?“That is a hard one, but we have some of the best jokesters you could ask for. There are many who come to mind, but a few who stick out are Chris Okey, Tyler Krieger and Andrew Cox. Those guys are constantly imitating others, if not each other, and always in the middle of a good story and keeping things light. There are times on the bus or during room checks on the road that if you aren’t careful, you will have tears in your eyes because you’re laughing so hard. I’ve really enjoyed having these guys around as a bunch of brothers to keep us relaxed, and you better be on your toes before you’re the next victim!”
What makes Clemson special?“You hear about how special Clemson is and how much of a family it is, but I don’t think you can fully appreciate how special it is until you’ve been a part of it. Growing up in a small town, it has done nothing but increase my love for the family atmosphere that Clemson offers. Over and over again, you can be at lunch or walking through town and friends and fans stop you asking how the guys are looking or let you know how many days are left until the season starts. Through wins and losses, knowing that the fans’ loyal passion for the Clemson Family truly makes it is a special place. From the student-athletes to the coaches down the hall, to the fans tailgating in Jervey Meadows, everyone has their own special piece to make Clemson a truly special place.”
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