Williston’s Best Kept Secret: Jason “JT” Tirrell

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JT at the Cage. Credit: Ellie Wolfe '19

There is a reason why the Athletic Department runs as smoothly as it does, and that’s thanks to Williston’s Equipment Manager, Jason Tirrell’s, dedication to the school. Tirrell, known as JT by the Williston community, is the magic behind all of Williston’s sport equipment and uniforms. His commitment to campus stretches back 30 plus years.

An 1990 Williston alum, Tirrell went on to Castleton University in Vermont, where he earned degrees in both criminal justice and sociology. He then worked as a correctional guard for four years. He soon realized it was not the right fit for him.

“It felt like you were babysitting adults,” Tirrell said. “I learned that’s not what I wanted to do my whole life.”

He turned a new corner in his career when an admissions post opened at Castleton University, which lead to him working in various college admissions departments for the next 14 years.  This experience has come in handy as he’s now watching his daughter, Rylie ‘22, entering the college process.

“I totally get what they are going through and I am going to see that next year,” he laughed.

He moved back to Easthampton, making his way back to Williston as a job opened up in the equipment room.

“It was chaos, my first year or so just because I was coming in to something I didn’t really know,” Tirrell recalled. “It’s hard to necessarily get trained for a job like this because there is no degree in this.”

When he first started, the Associate Athletic Director and Head Trainer at the time told him it would take about three to four years to adjust to his job.

“He was right,” Tirrell said, “after three years, things settled in, I started morphing it into a way that I knew, into a system that I knew.”

Tirrell credits one simple machine for helping him stay on top of the mountains of uniforms he’s responsible for.

“This is going to sound silly, but the big thing was that I got a label maker,” he said. “So everything here is labeled, every bin in here is labeled, you can walk around and know what’s in every bin by what it says.”

“I know where everything is in here, everything … but it took a while to make it like this,” said Tirrell. “I was organized, I think this job just accentuated my organization skills more.”

Tirrell, on top of his busy schedule, also does 45 to 50 loads of laundry a week. He is in charge of sorting and washing uniforms for nearly 20 different teams during any given trimester, as well as, towels and student loops on a daily basis.

“There’s more laundry done than people think,” he said, smiling.

Chloe Prouty ’20 described JT as “funny, and helpful,” and always there for her.

“To get serious, sometimes especially before cross-country when I would forget to eat lunch because I would be doing homework,” Chloe said, “I would got to JT and he would give me food and a drink .. he is kind of a life saver.”

Katie Borden, another senior, acknowledges Tirrell to be one of the most “dedicated” people on campus.

“Everything he does, he does it himself,” Katie said. “He does all the laundry for us, organizes the entire Cage, knows everyone’s names too. He is just by far like the most dedicated faculty member at Williston.”

Sonia Whitman ’21, stressed the importance of Tirrell’s work and how much effort he puts in for the students.

“He is very helpful and patient with everyone that comes to the Cage,” said Sonia. “I think he is a very important part of our school that can sometimes be overlooked because he is kind of behind the scenes.”

Melissa Brousseau, Associate Director of Athletics and Tirrell’s colleague, called Tirrell a “reliable jack of all trades. He is a professional who you can count on. Our athletic department runs smoothly because of his efforts and attention to detail.

“He’s our best kept secret,” she added.