I try to keep up with what the Athletics Department puts online just so I have some general sense of what’s going on over there. Last weekend I watched a video posted by Rice Football that I’m still thinking about on Tuesday. It’s about Assistant AD/Equipment Manager T-Joe Breaux and what he had to do to get ready for the team’s trip to Australia to play Stanford. (I still don’t understand why you’d do this, but what the heck.) It’s kind of long and it moves at a pretty stately pace but I urge you to watch it if you haven’t already. The intricacies of planning for and executing such a trip are mind boggling. But the real reason to watch is Mr. Breaux himself, whose quiet competence and obvious devotion to his craft, to the players, and to Rice I found deeply moving. I don’t know him but I intend to seek him out.
Bonus: I first watched this on Facebook and several folks commented there about an earlier equipment manager, John Fritz. Mr. Fritz, as you can tell from these pictures, was a different breed of cat. He cut a striking figure didn’t he?
This next one is my favorite. Great shoes!
I can’t identify any of the other guys. If you can, please let me know.
My memory is cloudy, but I think there are a couple of choice passages about Mr. Fritz in “Saturday’s Children.” (I’m thinking of his tradition of playing “Texas Fight” as loud as he could in the equipment room during the week of the Texas game. It was his way of firing up the Owls.)
And I think he was a habitue (pardon the missing accent aigu) of the Poor Man’s Country Club in The Village.
I’ll go check that out! The book is sitting about four feet away from me.
His tattoos are incredible.
Looks like the finger tattoos spell something across both hands, but can’t quite make it out. And it looks like he’s missing the distal phalanx on the third finger of his left hand.
Yes, if I recall correctly when you put them all together they say something like “Hate China, Hate Japan.” The source of this animus I do not know.
If I remember correctly — John Wolda might concur, as he was a student trainer, or something — assistant coach “Bloody Joe” Davis and Trainer Eddie Wojecki (?sp) played the Teasippers’ song at full volume prior to the Texas game also.
They also kept the bulletin boards filled with praises to Texas’ might.
Can’t find this video. Help, please.
I never knew Fritz had a first name! All I knew was that you did not want to cross him….which was pretty hard to do!
I meant that it was pretty easy to do…cross him!
The person on Fritz’s right is Larry Turner. On his left is R.J. Nitske (spelling) whose football career was ended due to injury. This photo would have been from around 1963 or 64.
He well could have been a WWII or Korea veteran, or had children who were. That’s my best guess about the tattoos.