Gearing up for tripleheader

Matt Eisenberg

No one really notices the small gameday operations: the scoreboard, the music, the speakers, etc. Just how Andrew Castagnola likes it.

Castagnola, Quinnipiac’s associate athletic director of operations, handles all the small game-to-game operations to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“Every game is being watched by somebody,” Castagnola said. “When I do my job right then everything goes smoothly. Everything’s done a certain way and it’s that way for a reason.”

In addition to making sure the facility is prepared for each game, Castagnola also assists the teams that travel to Quinnipiac and make sure that they are satisfied with their trip. It’s a two-week process for each team, he said.

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Sophomore Kristin Foley checks a woman’s ticket before the men’s basketball game last Thursday vs. St. Francis (N.Y.).
He usually starts with an email that introduces himself to the coaches and other staff members.

“The email will basically introduce myself, the facility, where you’re parking, the locker rooms, uniforms and basically anything after that,” Castagnola said. “After a week goes by, then I call you and if you don’t call me back then I call you again.”

Castagnola helps accommodate the opposing team to the Hamden area, from hotels to restaurants.

“I won’t get on the bus or anything like that, but I’ll send them down to Eli’s or any restaurant in the area,” Castagnola said.

Before St. Francis (N.Y.)’s men’s basketball team played Quinnipiac last Thursday, it requested a shootaround time that night, the same time as a women’s basketball game between Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut State.

“We do our best to accommodate the needs of the visiting team so we would get the same respect when we go there,” Castagnola said.

The next morning, St. Francis had a 10 a.m. shootaround. Castagnola was there an hour earlier.

“I was at the building at 9 a.m. setting up,” Castagnola said, helping the team with clock management, waters and equipment. “They come in and practice for an hour, then go to their hotel and come back later. Then they call me when they arrive, I make sure they have everything, make sure the locker room is set up and ask if they need anything.”

The Terriers came in at 5 p.m., two hours before tip-off. Castagnola was there three hours before the game, as he is for every game.

“I want to have everything set up before anyone walks into this building,” he said.

In addition to making sure the other team gives him the OK, Castagnola manages a staff of work-study students who help with the tickets at each game.

“We have to get here two hours before the game starts,” sophomore Sarah Violette said. “Andy wants us here half an hour early just because that way if someone doesn’t shows up, he has time to hunt us down before he really needs us. It’s not really a problem.”

This is one of the biggest weekends for Quinnipiac sports this year, as the men’s basketball team plays Robert Morris in a nationally-televised game at 11 a.m., the women’s basketball team plays a game right after and the men’s ice hockey team hosts Yale at 7 p.m., a game that normally sells out within minutes.

“I like the big games, I think they’re really fun,” Violette said. “Most people don’t; some people try to get out of working the Yale game, but I like it. Time goes by really fast when you have a lot of work.”

Castagnola said he plans to get to the Bank at around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“I don’t plan anything different for a TV game or a big game. Every game is a big game,” Castagnola said. “Whether it’s a small game on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or a big game coming up next weekend, they’re all big to me because my job reflects on how that looks.”

And last Thursday, Castagnola was more than confident in how the day will go.

“I’m ready to go if it was tomorrow,” he said.