Topic: Athletics

June 29, 2007

Tex Ritter
<b>Tex Ritter recently won the 2007 Glenn Sharp Athletic Equipment Manager of the Year Award presented by the Athletic Equipment Managers Association.</b>
Ask Tex Ritter what he does during Cardinal football games, he's likely to say a casual fan will think he is doing nothing more than standing on the sidelines.

However, it's far from the truth for the Ball State athletic equipment manager, who is intently watching how the Cardinal's equipment is holding up and stands ready to solve any equipment problems that arise.

Much of Ritter's work is behind-the-scenes. It's a challenging task because he oversees the gamut of football equipment - from helmets and shoulder pads to uniforms and shoes. Need a size 17-EEEEE? Ritter's the go-to guy for the Cards, who have more than 500 pairs of shoes on hand as the football season starts.

Although he may be behind the scenes on campus, his work has been noticed - both by the team and by other equipment managers across the country. Recently, Ritter won the 2007 Glenn Sharp Athletic Equipment Manager of the Year Award (AEMA) presented by the Athletic Equipment Managers Association during its national convention June 4-7 in Reno, Nev.

Although surprised by the nomination, he was nonetheless grateful. "Anytime your peers vote you for the top honor in your association, it is very special," he said.

The award recognizes equipment managers for their outstanding work, dedication and involvement in the AEMA. It is named after longtime Bowling Green State University equipment manager Glenn Sharp, who died in 2000. AEMA was started in 1974 by a handful of equipment managers concerned about the manner in which athletes were equipped. Since its inception, the organization has grown into a national association with nearly 1,000 members.

Ritter has worked with Ball State for more than two decades. He was an equipment manager while a student attending the University of Akron. After graduation, he continued to work in Akron until coming to Ball State in 1986.

Although he's known widely as "Tex" Ritter, his real name is William. He picked up the nickname while in college from a coach, and he shuns comparisons to the singing cowboy Tex Ritter, who achieved musical success with such songs as "Jealous Heart," "Rye Whiskey," "I'm Wastin' My Tears on You" and "You Will Have to Pay."

"A coach gave the nickname to me and it stuck, but I couldn't carry a tune even if I had a basket," he said.