Before any University of Texas basketball game, Laura Mayfield is at the Frank Erwin Center at least three hours ahead of tipoff.
She flips on the hallway lights. She meets with IT before mic check. She makes sure the game ball is correct — they once started a women’s game with a larger men’s ball. She counts the courtside chairs: 20 for each team.
She does a final sweep of the locker rooms for coaches, officials, band members, and home and visiting teams. There, she turns on the TVs; hangs up timelines; makes sure there are snacks, towels and heat packs; and tidies the rooms.
She asks an usher to sweep up a smashed potato chip in the hallway.
Ninety minutes before game time, the clock starts.
Mayfield, the director of events for Texas Athletics, oversees women’s and men’s basketball, women’s soccer and rowing events. On the day of a competition, she is one of the first to arrive and last to leave.
Mayfield has worked at UT for 16 years and in the past has supervised softball, volleyball, and men’s and women’s golf. She has always been passionate about sports — even though she graduated from college with a biology degree and briefly considered going to medical school to become an ophthalmologist.
“I realized I didn’t want to stare at eyes my whole life,” Mayfield says.
As a senior at Arkansas State University, Mayfield was the equipment manager for the soccer team. She began working in the school’s event management department while taking graduate school classes, then worked as an events and equipment intern at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. After a year there, she came to UT and worked her way up the ranks in event management.
Now, on regatta days, she is at a city park wearing a headlamp before the sun comes up. Before golf matches, she would make sure the greens had been mowed and holes cut. For soccer games, she can be found preparing the sidelines.
“You just make sure everything is in place,” she says.
And nearly every day, Mayfield is checking her weather app: “We become amateur meteorologists in this field,” she says. “That’s something they don’t tell you.”
Chris Plonsky, executive senior associate athletics director and chief of staff, says Mayfield is one of the most experienced employees the event operations team has had.
“Laura has a quiet and methodical, and yet so friendly-facing demeanor about her,” Plonsky says. “It’s amazing to me — the juggling she does and the logistics she manages almost calmly. Nothing fazes her.”
Although Mayfield says she enjoys organizing and running regular events, she loves putting on championships most.
“The day-to-day events are amazing, and I love supporting our coaches and athletes,” she says. “But this whole office takes pride in bringing Big 12 and NCAA championships here to Austin because we get to showcase our facilities, and our teams get to play in front of a burnt orange crowd.”