Most institutions operate most effectively because of employees you don’t normally see or hear about. That’s the case with sports teams at Castleton State and the hard work and diligence of the man in the basement of Glenbrook, Brian Smith.
“I consider the space that I work in the hamster wheel that runs Glenbrook,” Smith said.
His office smelled of fresh laundry and was extremely organized by color and sport.
“I do more than just laundry and managing teams’ equipment. Game set up and break down and making sure everything is in the right place for games is also part of my job description,” he said.
Smith grew up in Rutland and attended Rutland High School. After graduation, he attended North Country Community College and played two years of hockey. He then transferred to Castleton and majored in business management. After graduating, Smith got a job at Spartan Arena and was in charge of ice management for six years.
In 2011, the equipment manager position opened up at Castleton and Smith was ecstatic to jump on the opportunity.
“My Dad played football at Temple and always told me it wasn’t the games he remembered; it was coming into the locker room and having fresh clothes in his locker. That’s what I want for the athletes here,” he said. “My goal is to treat the sports here at Castleton like a Division I program with a Division III budget. I want to keep all of the jerseys and apparel, hung up in order and looking nice.”
Smith also owns a small but rapidly growing business. He produces and sells Wet Noodle Stick Wax for hockey sticks, including those used by the men’s hockey team at Castleton.
Long-time friend, softball teammate, and Castleton Athletic Trainer, Josh Englebretson said he sees the business taking off.
“Wet Noodle is evolving so quickly that he may need his own shop to make it. Instead of being confined to the factory in his basement,” he said.
The athletes Smith takes care of are certainly appreciative and notice how much pride he takes in his work.
“He always has our practice gear ready to go no matter the turn around, and on game day our uniforms are always nicely lined up. Brian is awesome and everyone should thank him for all that he does,” said senior women’s basketball player, Alyssa Leonard.
Like any job, Smith’s work can sometimes be long, tedious and challenging. The fall season is the busiest time, demanding a minimum of 10 hours a day, six days a week. The winter season lightens up because he doesn’t need to work with the hockey teams. Once the spring season rolls around, it is back to 10-hour days until late May.
“The summer is great! I take almost all of June off to go vacationing,” Smith said.
Smith also has interns who help ease the work load.
“Brian is pretty chill to work with. I just have to hang football jerseys, wash clothes, and I can listen to music,” said one of Smith’s student interns, Joe Borowski.
Smith’s long term aspirations are to continue in the same industry at a higher level, possibly as a strictly hockey equipment manager or become a rink director.
When asked about his favorite part of the job, Smith chuckled.
“I get to spend some of the colleges’ money on new gear. I can test it out, and also working with different apparel reps is a pleasure.”