Profile: Phil Silva
After 28 seasons at Mississippi State University, athletics equipment manager Phil Silva has seen it all: Big plays. Epic wins. Stadiums around the country.
But for the early-rising New Orleans native, who is in the office before the sun comes up most days, the best part of his job is the people.
"We have great students, both players and workers," he says. "Our kids have great attitudes."
And positive attitudes are valuable assets for the long hours it takes to keep Mississippi State's student-athletes, trainers and coaches in the game.
A visitor to the Holliman Athletic Center days after this year's 31-3 Egg Bowl win finds Silva and his team still busy with cleats, helmets and jerseys from the annual matchup that was played in a persistent November downpour, which did little to dim the enthusiasm of the maroon faithful.
"Games in the rain are tough on the uniforms and gear," he explains. "Water and mud get everywhere."
This season has seen the Bulldogs don an assortment of uniform combinations, some classic, all cutting edge, thanks to the university's partnership with Adidas.
"Uniforms are evolving. We see changes every year to helmets, shoulder pads, seamless jerseys, and pants. Technology is making helmets safer and fabrics better," he says. "The new looks to the uniforms, like the gold cleats for the Egg Bowl or wearing black jerseys, are things the kids love. They're a recruiting tool."
Earlier this fall, athletic director Scott Stricklin announced that the new equipment room in the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex, which is under construction on the north side of campus, will be named in honor of Silva, a fitting tribute to a man whose dedication has helped countless young Bulldogs excel on the field and off.
"I didn't go to school here, but I feel like it's my university, too," he says. "It's a real honor to be a small part of the process as these students grow into men."
Next week … Sheena Gardner !