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February 12, 2009

What exactly is a DOBO?

By: Matt Kovatch

Jill Jameson

When you watch a basketball game, you’re probably just focused on what goes on between the lines while the clock is ticking and the ball is in play. But how did the teams get to the arena? Where did they sleep? What did they eat? Those are all important things, and for the Hokies, that’s all taken care of by one person – Jill Jameson. As the director of basketball operations (DOBO) for the women’s hoops team, Jameson, a former coach, is in charge of all the logistical happenings that go on before the Hokies ever take the court. Here’s a little look into what her job entails:

I’m kind of like a travel agent.
“I’m in charge of everything that goes on behind the scenes and all of the logistics. I arrange all of the team travel and plan out most of the trips, including the buses, airplanes, charters and hotel rooms. I also order the team meals and the equipment, uniforms and shoes.”

Speaking of team meals, there are lots of them.
“I am always ordering food. I talk a lot with Amy Freel, the nutritionist for Tech athletics. I plan out our pre-game meals on the road and at home, and we also provide about one meal a day (known as training tables) for the girls throughout the week. We came up with a list of about seven different options for pre-game meals, and I have a list of 12 different menu options that I rotate through for the training tables. When we go on the road, we usually try to go to a nice restaurant … usually a place that has good cheesecake. The players don’t always get dessert, but I do!”

I have other responsibilities, too.
“I help out a lot with our booster club, the Hokie Hardwood Club. A big part of that is helping them to prepare for our annual fundraising auction. I also handle the budget for the team travel and equipment, and I’m in charge of all the summer camps; every phase of camp is my responsibility. I also set up community service opportunities for our players. It can be stressful because I’m doing a lot of things at once, and I have to be very organized; I really have to be a multi-tasker. I have to think and plan ahead, and I think it helps that I’m a former coach because I know what they like to have taken care of.”

I’m attached to my phone.
“One thing I’ve learned more than anything is to always double check on things and not assume that everything is taken care of just because you’ve sent it. You need to follow through; communication is huge. I’m on the phone a lot. It’s very important, especially when we have a charter flight. I’m constantly calling the airports and I’m constantly calling the hotels. I have so many restaurants and hotels in my phone that you wouldn’t believe it. I have a Maggiano’s restaurant listed for four different cities. I leave them all in there because you never know when we’ll be back.”

My job is the best of both worlds.
“People always ask me if I want to get back into coaching and I say ‘Not at all.’ Why would I? I love this job. I coached for 13 years and just got really burned out. I was the recruiting coordinator and I just didn’t have a lot of time to have a life, so I got out of it. Then Coach Dunkenberger called (Jameson is a Tech alum and a former graduate assistant and assistant coach) and asked if I would like to be her DOBO. I still get to be involved with the team and be a part of their lives. The whole reason that I coached in the first place was because I wanted to be a positive influence on young women and encourage them – not just for basketball stuff, but for life – and to help them as they grow up and mature. I still get to do that. I’m not at practice every day, but I get to travel with them and I get to see them a lot. X’s and O’s weren’t really my strength. My strength is relationships and people and I still get to do all of that.”

But I still get to coach at the camps.

“I love camp. That still allows me to be involved with the basketball part of things. I love kids and it’s a lot of fun. Once again, that’s another place where we can just have a positive influence on young women. They get to see our team and what is possible – that they can earn a scholarship with their basketball skills. But there is more to it, like being a good person and getting good grades and having a good work ethic. That’s the relationship part and that’s what I love the most.”