Before the Northwestern football team sets foot on the pitch Mel Tjeerdsma, a Bearcat graduate and his team make sure the home team looks a cut above the ground. competetion.
A graduate of Blue Springs South High School, Director of Football Equipment Tucker Peve graduated last spring from Northwest and is now a graduate assistant for the football program.
From Military Appreciation to Seniors Day, Peve has created a new combination of uniforms every week for the Bearcats to play sports. Aside from the classic green on green suit, the Bearcats have never worn the same suit twice this year and Peve explained that it was their goal not to do so.
âWe tried to add it up once and it was way over 100 (combinations),â said Peve. âWe are proud to be Oregon (783,360 possible combinations according to oregonlive.com) of Division II, we try to never wear the same thing twice.
Peve’s wetsuits have been recognized nationally on ESPN programs like SportsCenter and College Gameday.
âIt was good for the university,â said Peve. âEverything you see on national television with the Bearcat brand is great to see. “
After stumbling across the job, Peve described his job as âthe closest you can get to sports without actually playingâ. He expressed his love for what he does and how it will be a career for him someday.
Away from Maryville, Peve was an intern for the Baltimore Ravens helping the Kansas City Chiefs with training camp and game day gear needs. Along with his internships, he competed in the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl with the Chiefs’ equipment staff.
Peve and his team of student assistants take care of everything the football team needs in terms of equipment, including laundry, pitch setup and packing for road games.
âIt really is a team effort,â said Peve. âWhat you see on social media and see the Flash is a really cool side of Northwestern football, but behind the scenes there’s a lot of effort to have that finished product on the pitch. It’s a lot of legwork, but it’s great to see it come to fruition on the pitch.
During football touring days, models decked out in the latest Bearcat field gear catch the eye of rookies and even passers-by. Junior cornerback Anthony Lane said the work Peve and the equipment staff do at Northwest caught his attention and was a big draw to the program.
âIt was a big factor,â Lane said. âChildren want to play with bluster; if you have that swagger on the pitch it makes you feel good. I think the equipment was very important coming here, especially from Florida. “
Visiting a school with so many uniform combinations like Northwest can be overwhelming, but Lane explained how excited he was when he came to see all the different possibilities.
Even in the offseason, Peve’s work never stops. From distributing jerseys for upcoming spring training to setting up new cabinets in the gear room, Peve’s job is truly never done.
âOnce you’ve got a handle on the big picture, you can focus on the details and that’s how you break up,â Peve said. âWe’re still working on the 2018-2019 season, and we have some new ideas in the works for next year: something neat and something that hasn’t been done in almost 10 years.