King of the Cage


Five questions for Jason Tirrell ’90 on his role in the Athletic Center’s uniform and equipment hub

If you’ve been on a Williston team in the last 10 years, then you definitely know Jason Tirrell ’90 —or “J.T.” as he’s universally called. As the Athletic Equipment Manager, a.k.a. the Director of the Cage, since 2013, J.T. is a beloved fixture, orchestrating the flow of massive amounts of equipment and laundry (30+ loads per week), running scoreboards and other game-day logistics, and supervising student workers. We recently visited J.T. to get a few insights into his world of “Controlled Chaos”—as noted by the sign above his desk—where he thrives with a big personality and even bigger smile.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

The kids. Absolutely. I tell people all the time that I have the best job on campus. I get to dress like a gym teacher and hang out with awesome high school kids all day.

What’s the most important tool for this job?

My label maker. With over 60 athletic teams, you have to be organized. Everything’s got labels. Everything.

Working with you in the Cage is a popular afternoon program option; how do you choose the right students for the job?

You have to have a certain kind of personality to be down here. It’s a very social atmosphere in the afternoon. From 3:00 to when we close, there’s a constant crowd of kids. And just like a regular team, they have a banquet night at the end of the season. Kids do a lot of work—I mean, it takes a long time to fold 150 towels. To have kids do it while they’re talking to their friends is great. Plus, that way I don’t have to spend an hour and a half doing it!

Do you have any equipment or uniform horror stories?

The blue bins down here are airtight when shut. One year, after a holiday hockey tournament, the team manager put the sweaty uniforms in the bins without washing them and sealed them up. When we got back from a week and a half off, I opened the bins, and the uniforms looked like they were tie-dyed because the sweat made the colors run! The smell was bad, but it was more shock of what they looked like. We had to buy a whole new set of uniforms on the spot, in the middle of the season.

What’s something you do at Williston that people probably don’t know?

Every year, after students leave for winter break, the Hills have a party for faculty kids— and I get to play Santa. It’s also the same Saturday as the Ray Brown basketball tournament here, so I’ll go dressed as Santa, and the teams will take pictures with me. But it’s super top secret, and incredibly fun.