June 20, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - If you spend any time at all around Jacob Jarreau, you will see the UNM student manager's unique personality and quirky sense of humor, especially if you glance at his feet.
"I have over 30 different, unique pairs of socks," he said while wearing a pair of chameleon socks with red, yellow, sky blue and turquoise designs on them. "Socks are interesting. That's the first thing I look at when I meet people."
As a manager who got to travel with the baseball team to road games, he was able to expand his collection. He got a pair of every opposing team from every road trip the team took with the exception of Fresno St. Don't worry, though, Lobo fans, he wore his UNM socks with the shield on them as good luck for every Saturday and Sunday game this season. His other favorite pairs include his American flag ones, his rubber ducky socks, and his Superman pair that even have a cape on the back.
Jarreau must feel like he is a bit like Superman because he nominated himself for Student Manager of the Year and put the vote to the players and coaches. In a completely unsurprising result, he won the award with one vote: his own.
"It was unanimous," he said with a sly grin. "Nobody voted except for me. I'm trying to get it recognized nationally."
So what, exactly, are the responsibilities of the Unofficial Student Manager of the Year?
"For home games I take the coaches their uniforms and get yelled at if I'm late," he said. "I also rub up the game balls, about four dozen, and make sure all the players have their proper equipment and are not missing any part of their uniform."
"Yeah, I really don't do too much," he said with a laugh while still insisting he deserved his Student Manager of the Year award. "I do more on the road. I make sure the equipment bag is packed with extra uniform equipment (like hats) in case guys forgot something. I assign the freshman players their duties -- like carrying the printer and ball bags and stuff for the bullpen -- and make sure they don't forget them. I handle laundry duties after games, and on bus trips I order food for the team."
New Mexico might seem a far cry for a native of Palm Harbor, Fla., like he is, but Jarreau is quite familiar with the Land of Enchantment.
"Both of my mom's sisters live here so we used to vacation here all the time when I was a kid," he said. "I knew I wanted to come here because it's a great school with a good atmosphere and I like the people."
Jarreau only played one year of baseball in high school, but his team won the district championship and he was a second team all-conference performer in the infield. So it was only natural that after coming to UNM that he help the baseball program any way possible. He loved his decision to become student manager.
"Being around the guys and being part of the team was great," he said. "It's like a tight-knit family. We're all brothers."
In fact, Jarreau said one of his biggest thrills this season was somehow being mistaken for DJ Peterson at the Mountain West Tournament in Fresno.
"That was the greatest thing ever," he said still beaming at the memory. "I look up to DJ. He's an inspiration and like an older brother to me."
Another one of his favorite memories this season was the night after the Lobos had a doubleheader at Arkansas. He and a couple players attempted to stay up all night before an early flight the next morning.
The 18-year-old loves the Lobos and completely believes in the direction of the program under Ray Birmingham. He has even created a personal motto that shows where he thinks the program is headed: Jarreau-maha.
"I believe we can get to Omaha (and the College World Series)," he said.
After a brief pause he gave another sly smile and said, "Maybe then I'll get nationally-recognized."