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Profile: Gary Wahoff

In early April, the Cincinnati Reds were en route from Pittsburgh to New York for the final leg of a 10-game road trip when the announcement came from the cockpit: All New York airports were closed because of fog, and the plane was detouring to Philadelphia instead. While most of the players simply groaned, Gary Wahoff scrambled. The 1992 graduate is the team’s traveling secretary and in charge of coordinating all of the team’s travel arrangements. This includes trucks to haul the team’s 7,500 pounds of equipment from the plane to the ballpark, and buses to get the 45 to 50 players and staff from the airport to the hotel, which in this case was now two hours away.

Pulling out his cell phone, Wahoff began speed-dialing his contacts at bus and truck rental companies in Philadelphia—never mind that it was already well past midnight—as well as the hotel to tell them they’d be late.

Thanks to some quick dialing and a lot of work on Wahoff’s part, though, everything worked out and the team made it to New York. By that time, however, it was 4:30 a.m. and his day was nearly 20 hours old.

It’s not always so hectic, he says, but for nine or 10 months a year, life’s pretty much just a blur that’s lived out of a suitcase. “It gets tough being away from home,” he says, “but you get accustomed to the lifestyle. Spring training is always the toughest. I was down there this year for 59 days straight and worked 12 to 15 hours a day. That gets to be a grind.” In addition to arranging trans- portation, he also coordinates room assignments, arranges ticket requests (each player gets six per game) and hands out the players per diem road allowance, which is several hundred dollars per day. He also arranges for wives to fly in to see their husbands, gets rental cars for staff members, and handles whatever requests the players make.

Wahoff, in his fifth season as the team’s traveling secretary, joined the front office after spending three years as field superintendent and five years as a member of the grounds crew. A friend got him a slot on the grounds crew during his freshman year at Xavier, which he managed to do in his spare time between earning a finance degree and rowing on the University’s crew team. Wahoff not only rowed, but took over as team coach dur- ing his senior season, a role he continued until last year.

“In order to be done right, you need to spend a lot of time practicing in the spring, and I just couldn’t be there for them,” he says. “So I’m trying to set up a crew booster organization and raise a little money for equipment and maybe a boathouse. Right now the boats are stored outside along Eastern Avenue, and they’re too expensive to be sitting outside.”

He’ll establish the foundation, he says, as soon as he gets some free time, which won’t come anytime soon. He’s only in town for a few days before heading back on the road again. This time, a week on the West Coast. Like everything else, though, it’ll go by like a blur.

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