This article was published in the Jan. 18 edition of the Northwest Missourian as well as published on nwmissourinews.com
Before the Northwest football team steps foot on Mel Tjeerdsma Field, a Bearcat graduate and his team make sure the home team looks a notch above the competition.
A graduate of Blue Springs South High School, football equipment manager Tucker Peve went through graduation last spring from Northwest and is now a graduate assistant for the football program.
From military appreciation to senior day, Peve has created a new uniform combination each week for the Bearcats to sport. Aside from the classic green-on-green combination, the Bearcats never wore the same uniform combination twice this year and Peve explained it’s their goal not to.
“We tried to add it up one time and it was well over 100 (combinations),” Peve said. “We pride ourselves on being the Oregon (783,360 possible combinations according to oregonlive.com) of Division II, we try to never wear the same thing twice.”
Peve’s combinations have been nationally recognized on ESPN programs like SportsCenter and College Gameday.
“That was good for the university,” Peve said. “Anything you see on national TV with the Bearcat brand is awesome to see.”
After stumbling upon the job, Peve explained his job as “the closest you can get to the sport without actually playing.” He expressed his love for what he does, and how it will be a career for him one day.”
Away from Maryville, Peve was an intern for the Baltimore Ravens and helps the Kansas City Chiefs with training camp and game day equipment needs. Along with his internships, he assisted with the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl with the Chiefs’ equipment staff
Peve and his team of student assistants take care of everything the football team possibly needs equipment-wise including laundry, field setup and packing for road games.
“It’s really a team effort,” Peve said. “What you see on social media and see the flash is really a cool side to Northwest football, but behind the scenes, there’s a lot of effort that goes into having that finished product on the field. It’s a lot of legwork, but it’s awesome to see it come to fruition on the field.”
During football visit days, the mannequins decked out in the latest on-field Bearcat equipment draw eyes from recruits and even bystanders as they are passing by. Junior cornerback Anthony Lane explained the work that Peve and the equipment staff do at Northwest caught his eye and was a major draw to the program.
“It was a big factor,” Lane said. “Kids want to play with swagger; if you have that swagger on the field, it makes you feel good. I think equipment was very big in coming here, especially being from Florida.”
Visiting a school with as many uniform combinations such as Northwest can be overwhelming, but Lane explained how he was excited when he came through to see all of the different possibilities.
Even in the offseason, Peve’s work never stops. From passing out jerseys for upcoming spring practices to putting in new cabinets in the equipment room, Peve’s job is truly never over.
“Once you’ve mastered the big picture you can get down to the details and that’s how you separate yourself,” Peve said. “We’re always working for the 2018-2019 season, and we’ve got a couple new ideas brewing for next year: something neat and something that hasn’t been done in close to 10 years.”