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Team Behind the Team

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Two years ago, Northern Arizona head coach Mike Adras got a call from the coach from Rio Rancho High School about a recruit. But this was not about a player but about a potential manager for his team.

Sarah Stevenson had served two years as a manager, helping the team to the New Mexico State Championship in 2007. Adras did his background work and met with Coach Brian Smith and Stevenson, offering her a position as a manager for the Lumberjack basketball team.

“She may be one of the best we have had in the past 10 years,” said Adras. “She comes from a wonderful family. She does everything for us and always with a smile. Sarah is very organized and came highly recommended. She has not disappointed.”

On Dec. 16, NAU will travel to play New Mexico in The Pit, returning to Stevenson’s hometown which is just outside Albuquerque. The Lobos home court is the site of Rio Rancho’s state title in 2007.

“It was a great experience playing in The Pit,” said Stevenson. “It is one of the most awesome arenas I have seen. The guys were all fired up and it was fun to see them take that.”

Stevenson, who served as a volunteer her first season at NAU, is on a scholarship this year. She handles all the equipment needs of the program, while setting up for practices and games.

“I get to work with the guys,” said Stevenson. “They were very welcoming when I got here. The coaches are great. They help me out and make sure I am on top of homework. It is a great job. I can be part of something here and it helps out my education.”

Stevenson is majoring in education and hopes to become a teacher like her mom.

“I setup the equipment,” said Stevenson. “It is a job that I have to get done. I do the laundry and make sure they have everything for their home and away games. I  make sure they have the right sizes and make sure they are comfortable before games.”

Stevenson credits her coaches from Rio Rancho for helping her land the position at NAU.

“I love watching basketball and used to play in middle school,” said Stevenson. “I played softball for six years. It was the opportunity Brian Smith gave me to be the manager and the relationship I have with the team and coaches there (that got me here).”