For nearly 30 years, Ken Hart has been responsible for ensuring that Spider athletes are clothed and equipped with what they need to successfully compete during practices and in games.

During his tenure as equipment manager for the athletics department, Hart has acquired seven football championship rings, watched the basketball team compete in the Sweet 16, and touched the lives of hundreds of players and students.

Hart’s interest in athletic equipment management began during his undergraduate years at Bowling Green State University, where he worked as the football team's unpaid student manager. Upon graduation, he saw equipment management as a way to continue working with athletics.

Hart began managing equipment at Ashland University and later managed for Southern Methodist University. He found his way to Richmond in 1981, when former senior associate director of athletics Allen Fredd hired him, and he has been here ever since.

"Fredd's philosophy was 'if you have a job, you have to take care of it,'" Hart says. "Not too many people have freedom to do work that is something they enjoy."

At Richmond, Hart manages equipment for all 18 varsity athletic teams. That includes doing laundry for 300 people and ordering new uniforms and equipment. He also ensures that each team stays within its equipment budget and accounts for inventory.

Hart says one of his main goals is to ensure that teams and coaches have everything they need to perform so that they can stay focused in the right direction.

He works with eight student assistants, including five strictly dedicated to football because of its high number of players and coaches and volume of equipment. The student managers and Hart travel to games to prepare clean uniforms and to repair equipment when needed.

When Hart is not traveling with teams—which can mean working six to seven days a week for four or more months during football season—he enjoys playing golf with his wife, exercising, and being involved in his church.

Hart says one of his favorite parts of his job is working with students, especially student managers.

"In the late '80s there was a young man who was a student manager who was going down the wrong path," Hart says. "He spent his junior and senior years in here with me and we developed a relationship and he turned his life around. He was actually a commencement speaker and went on to be an extremely successful business and family man.

"Being around young people keeps me young," Hart says. "Just last week I learned to use an iPod."

He credits his tenure at the University to its students and to the city itself.

"Richmond is the best little big city you could ever live in," he says. "It's a good city with an outstanding university to have an opportunity to hang around in for 30 years."