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Truck Drivers: The Unsung Heroes of College Football

From Fan to Truck Driver

As fall approaches and the summer heat dies off, a different heatwave hits states across the country: college football season.

College football teams–and all of their equipment–have to get to the different stadiums in the different cities they play in, and they have to get there on time. The logistics involved with such operations are as complicated as they are diverse. Many stakeholders, transportation modes, and suppliers are involved. However, we want to focus on the unsung part of these systems: the trucks that haul the equipment and the drivers behind the wheel.

The Driver

Ray Lewis is a 46-year-old game warden that obtained a commercial driver’s license to begin operating dump trucks. He never thought he’d be hauling Clemson’s precious gear and supplies.

“At the time, I wanted to earn some extra money to support my wife and two kids,” Lewis adds. Now he drives the team’s 53-foot big rig draped in the team’s orange. He couldn’t be prouder of where his job has taken him.

The Road

The job took Lewis was 2,700 miles across the United States in January. As the Clemson Tigers prepared to meet Alabama in their championship game, Lewis reflected on the trip: “We’ve completed a coast-to-coast trip to the west. A long trip back home awaits.”

Accompanying Lewis were two lifelong Tigers fans; Mike Brown, a 49-year-old city worker, on the passenger seat, and Marion Bridges, a 65-year-old lifelong fan, lying on the bunk bed. These three drivers drove the truck from Clemson to Santa Clara in 43-hour rotational shifts.

Lewis and his team spent $1,000 on fuel for the trip through eight states. They made only six pit stops on this trip, despite running through an ice storm in Arizona, of all places. “They only stopped for fuel, to go to the bathroom, and to switch drivers,” Praises Abe Reed, equipment manager. After the game, the three trucks made the long journey back home.

This dedication is impressive. They are truly the unsung (and unpaid) heroes of the team, responsible for transporting all of the team’s essential cargo. “People at home ask, ‘why do you do this job for free?’ I don’t see it that way,” adds Bridges. They receive tickets to games, room and board in luxurious resorts, and a daily per diem for food. To Lewis and the other truck drivers, this is a dream come true.

If this sounds like a dream job to you too, check out our CDL training programs at CDS Tractor Trailer Training. Contact us today to get your CDL, and start your trucking career. Who knows where it will take you? You might just end up driving for a college football team someday like Ray Lewis.