With fresh snow covering the parking lot of Bramlage Coliseum on Thursday morning, Terry Pittman knew he needed to get to work.
He’s the first one out in a truck clearing snow, even when he has a scheduled meeting. He’s often the first person people will see trying to fix any sort of problem for K-State Athletics.
“I’m not always the (first person),” Pittman said modestly. “But sometimes.”
For the last 28 years, Pittman, 65, has helped keep the lights on for K-State Athletics as a facilities maintenance specialist. He can often be seen sitting on the floor at Bramlage Coliseum making sure everything is working as it should, he said.
“I like being behind the scenes, knowing what’s going on,” he said. “I like to know how things work.”
Prior to working for K-State, he worked in construction for 16 years and even helped build Bramlage itself.
“My last year of construction was on this building,” he said. “Then I was asked by the building director to join the staff.”
He attended K-State but dropped out after three semester to go work in farming. He was then offered a chance to work in construction, which his father had done.
Since joining K-State, Pittman has focused on fixing odds and ends in any of the athletic facilities.
“Somebody says go do this and go do that, and I go take care of it,” he said, laughing.
Charlie Thomas, senior associate athletic director of capital project development, is one of those somebodies.
Thomas said he remembers Pittman working on the building and his tenure with K-State has allowed him to build up a lot of institutional knowledge of all the of the facilities.
“He’s a tireless worker,” Thomas said. “He just goes and goes and goes.”
K-State athletics is fortunate to have a person like Pittman making sure everything is working, he said.
“He will do whatever he’s asked and does that above and beyond,” he said. “He’s just one of those unique people we’re fortunate to have on the team.”
The trickiest conundrum Pittman ever had to fix was during a women’s basketball game when the ball struck the shot clock and pushed loose one of the digits, making it inactive.
“At halftime we folded down the goal, and I got up on the rim to change out the digit,” he said.
Pittman said he’s still a big K-State sports fan, but it was a bit more fun when he worked in construction and had season tickets through his family.
But today he still gets a front row seat to all the action.
“It gets to be just a job,” he said. “I root for the teams but I’m finally getting to the point where I can just watch the games without checking to see what somebody else is doing or what we need to do different.” Pittman has lived in Manhattan since he was in second grade. He said he still enjoys Manhattan will often go out to dinner with his wife, Alesia. Pittman has four adult children who all live in Manhattan. K-State fans may be able to see Pittman at future games. He often makes sure all the lights are working before, during and after the basketball games, he said.
“We make sure everything is turned on,” he said. “After the game we make sure everything is turned off.”