College equipment staffs come together to send clothes and gear to Houston

As Oregon equipment manager Aaron Wasson monitored the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area, he felt a sense of obligation.

"I knew we had to do something," he said.

He wasn't the only one.

University of Houston men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson also tweeted out a call to action. He asked coaches to send 20 T-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes to help basketball teams, of all levels, throughout Houston.

In college athletics, the equipment community is tight-knit, but Oregon's department is uniquely tied to its counterpart at the University of Houston. The Cougars' athletic director for equipment operations, Daniel Reeves, previously served a student manager for Wasson at Kentucky and their director of equipment operations, Cody Crump, recently interned at Oregon. They all got to talking.

"We were just thinking what could we do and how could we use our platform as equipment managers to help any way we could," Wasson said. "I connected with those guys yesterday and we came up with the idea."

Oregon would ask its staff and student-athletes to go through their closets and find gear they could donate to people affected by the hurricane. And, to take it a step further, Oregon's equipment department would send out a challenge on Twitter for other departments around the country to follow suit.

Both Wasson and Crump said the response has been overwhelming. When Wasson arrived at work Tuesday morning, there was already several bags and boxes donated from students and staff members. They've received dozens of inquiries from equipment managers across the country about how to help, to which they've said, "Anything helps."

Houston's football team is spending the week in Austin, Texas, before playing UTSA in San Antonio. The Cougars aren't sure when they'll will return home, but when they do, Crump plans to go through whatever donations are received and distribute them to the Red Cross and local homeless shelters.

The football equipment staffs aren't the only members of the college sports community rounding up support for the Houston area.

Basketball football and baseball coaches from around the country responded, tweeting out boxes of gear headed for Houston.

From Wasson's original request at Oregon, so far, USF, Villanova and Nevada are among those who have pledged their support.