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Nehlen enjoys his role

May 2, 2012

MORGANTOWN - Being around athletes as he grew up, Dan Nehlen had thoughts of following in the coaching footsteps of his famous father, Don.

But he kinda got involved and interested in providing the needs of college football players as a West Virginia University student.

And it was with Hall of Famer and longtime WVU head coach Don Nehlen that 52-year-old Dan Nehlen is in his 24th year as equipment manager in the Mountaineer football program.

The Canton, Ohio, native started to hang around the equipment facilities as a student manager. That continued through his completing studies for a bachelor's degree in physical education and safety in 1986. He was promoted to assistant manager and then took over as full-time manager in 1988 when Mike Kerin became director of football operations.

"I have really enjoyed my position in this football program," Dan Nehlen said. "You have your ups and downs like anything else.

"It's been great, though. And I still enjoy my role in tending to the needs of our players and coaches. I really like what I'm doing."

He is responsible for maintaining and procuring all equipment and uniforms for the football program, as well as overseeing the work of 15 student managers.

Nehlen also coordinates the extensive movement of equipment when the Mountaineers travel to road games. That becomes even more of a task as WVU becomes a member of the Big 12 Conference.

"Yes, we've already looked into that," Nehlen said. "We're in the process now of getting a tractor trailer. The company will provide a driver.

"We'll also have a driver available. We'll also leave for the longer trips on Wednesday instead of Thursday to make up for the extra time involved."

Nehlen has a full-time assistant, Aron Malik, that helps not only for practices and games, but also for trips.

"No question, there's a lot of work involved in my job," Nehlen stated. "But, as I say, I enjoy what I do. People generally don't know all that is involved in putting out team on the field."

Doing laundry for players and coaches also is the responsibility of Dan Nehlen and his helpers.

Don Nehlen went along with his son's decision to become a football equipment manager rather than a coach.

"He knows this is what I like to do," Dan said. "And he's the one who helped put me in this job."

Nehlen and wife Janie have been married 23 years.

They have two children, Ryan who is on the WVU football team, and Danielle.

Both mother and daughter are employed by United Bank.



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