NA native contributes to MSU basketball

For one New Albany native, a high school job has turned into his life’s goal, and he is using his time at Mississippi State to achieve his dream.
2007 graduate Jonathan Peak spent three years as a manager for the Bulldogs’ basketball team at NAHS and realized early on that he wanted to make a career of it. Now in his fifth year at MSU, Peak is one of the top two managers for Rick Stansbury’s squad and has traveled to 13 states and four countries, as well as been a part of the 2009 team that won the SEC Tournament Championship.
“Winning the tournament was probably the biggest thing,” Peak said. “We fly everywhere we go, and after winning in Tampa, we flew back to Columbus and drove to Starkville, and there were thousands of people waiting for us at The Hump, we could barely get off the bus. That was a unique experience.”
Peak has come a long way from his days of working on water duty, which is the primary job for the younger managers, but there is a lot of responsibility that comes with working for an SEC team.
“Right now I’m one of the two head managers,” he said. “We’re responsible for setting things up at practice, making sure lights are on, getting them everything they need. When we travel, we’re responsible for packing their bags with everything but their shoes.”
“We do all of the washing, and if there’s a meal, we’re responsible for setting up for that. During the games, we set out the chairs and we get towels and water for the players. All of the dirty work, I guess you could say.”
This past August, State traveled to Europe for preseason play, a trip that comes only once every four years. Peak spoke of the time the Bulldogs had in Belgium, Amsterdam and Paris, as well as his relationship with the team.
“The European tour was great, and it’s just another amazing experience I’ve been able to be a part of working with the team,” he said.
“They’re all great guys, and we pick at each other. It’s great to meet the guys and spend time with them. They’re regular students, but we know them personally, and it’s more like a family; a fraternity. They’re all nice and cool, and the big thing is getting over the star struck phase. A lot of the younger guys are excited to be around them, but once you get to know them on a personal level, that goes away.”
Having the opportunity to spend time with players like Jarvis Varnardo, Barry Stewart and Dee Bost is only one of the perks of his job, as he also has two SEC West Championship rings along with the SEC Tournament ring from 2009.
“I enjoy the rings; they give you something to look back on,” Peak said. “Bailey Howell, who played for the Celtics, brought in his rings, and he talked about each one, so they’re all like memories that you can keep forever.”
Peak is currently pursuing a degree in youth studies and hopes to one day roam the sidelines of an NBA team as a manager.
“My ultimate goal is to continue my managing career and work in the NBA,” he said. “I know a couple of managers in the league, so hopefully I can make it. It’s a hard job to get. It’s all about who you know, and I’ve met a lot with my job, so hopefully I’ve met enough to get in.”

About Chris Elkins

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