The character named Zach Cluett

CU senior leaves a mark on the field, in the weight room, and behind the turntable

Zach Cluett flexes on the field.

Zach Cluett is a jack of all trades. He’s energetic, goofy, smart, and physically imposing. No one knows what goes on in Cluett’s head, yet we all know it’ll be a site to see when it comes out.  

But who is Zach Cluett? What does he represent? Why does he operate in this manner today? 

Growing up, Cluett was similar to who is today — active and very involved in football.  

“As a child I just loved to fuck around, whether that was being goofy or just trying to do funny stuff all the time,” Cluett said.  

Cluett was bouncing all over the place just enjoying every moment. He said he grew a love for football quickly once he learned how to use his body.  

“I was a bigger kid, not fat but someone who knew how to throw their weight around and be a good football player,” Cluett said.  

The balance during his childhood was great, giving him the opportunity to enjoy the life of a kid while staying active through the game of football. It was a lifestyle for a kid that isn’t easy without the involvement of his parents. 

Cluett’s father has been a role model in his life, giving him the knowledge to become a better man than he was. His father made some questionable decisions as a kid that helped mold him into realizing the greater good in life.  

“He blew up his house, he put stink bombs in his house, and got suspended a bunch,” Cluett said.  

The control to have good-decision making skills didn’t materialize for Cluett’s father until adulthood. But little did he know, those low moments in his life were actually a blessing in disguise.  

“My father raised me right, giving me the tools to have a good work ethic, be resilient, and establish myself as an alpha,” Cluett said.  

Once he got to college, he realized everything his father said was the truth.  

Cluett smokes a cigar with his dad.


The impact Cluett has had on his family goes far beyond just being a prominent figure at Castleton. His ability to thrive as a student-athlete is what sets him apart, because not many in his family have the understanding of what it takes to be successful in college.  

Some started and didn’t finish.  

“I’m the first one in my family to get my master’s degree because nobody else in my family has had the opportunity to do that yet,” Cluett said.  

His success at CU led to admiration by family members and he said they gravitated toward his energy and work ethic, giving them the motivation to create something in their lives.  

“It’s not just about me. I can be a goofy guy, but when it boils down to it and you put your mind to it, anybody can achieve whatever they want,” Cluett said.   

The Florida Keys have strong family lineage in the Cluett family, and there is actually an island called “Cluett Keys” his great-great-great grandfather discovered in the early 1800s.  

“He was rich as hell and a great inventor. He became prominent in the Miami area so much that the same church Donald Trump attends today, there’s a section to the left of the church called Cluett Gardens,” Cluett said.  


It’s unusual for people to speak about struggles or fears in life. It’s deemed uncool and non-accepting but in reality it’s something everyone goes through.  

Cluett dealt with a terrible experience back when he was 13 playing football. He injured both his ACL and MCL in the same leg trying to pick up some extra yards in a football game.  

“The injury held me back from being able to go all out in certain aspects of life, especially football. It caused me to go into a dark place because of the mind blockage this injury created,” he said.  

Being in that dark place was tough but necessary for Cluett because it caused him to make a shift in his life. Because football was taken away for an extended period of time, Cluett decided to put more emphasis on academics.  

“The moment where I started taking my academics seriously was when I transferred high schools, becoming more mature and looking for the best future for myself,” Cluett said.  

He transferred to Pope John High School in Sparta, New Jersey where he molded himself into the student-athlete we see today.  

“As an athlete when you experience an injury similar to mine, you realize you’re not invincible, it forces you to grow up because you’ve gotta find a way. It’s not always about what happens but it matters how you deal with it,” Cluett said.  


On campus, Cluett is known as “DJ Cluett,” the life of every party. His speakers, headphones, turn-tables, and computer take up half of his living room. But DJing isn’t his favorite part of the experience, it’s the social interactions he gets from a night to night basis.  

“DJing has allowed me to be more social and have fun with others while making people happy. DJing here at Castleton has allowed me to feel appreciated because I do feel that this campus wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t here,” Cluett said.  

People are in awe of Cluett’s energy and his ability and personality. Cluett’s defensive line coach Lukas Carlson calls him a high energy guy who has learned to use his strong personality.  

“His first couple years here at Castleton, Cluett seemed a bit distracted but has made the right adjustments from a maturity perspective and it’s allowed him to become more mature,” Carlson said.  

Another CU coach Cluett encountered who has high regard for him is Coach Gordon Brown. Brown said Cluett’s ability to hold conversations with others is amazing.  

“Cluett can hold a conversation with anything that has ears but when he engages in conversation with people, he’s truly interested in who they are and how they’re doing,” Brown said.  

Cluett’s other passion is weightlifting. And he’s a fanatic. 

“Weight lifting pretty much runs my day. I’ve developed a gritty mindset from lifting and when you talk about passion, passion must be something that helps you, which lifting has done for me,” Cluett said.  

When Cluett says weight lifting runs his day, he means it. He spends four to seven hours in the gym every weekday cranking out a boat load of weight.  

“I remember being upstairs at the fitness center over in the hockey arena and this older guy came up to me asking if I could help him rack the weights on the leg press machine. Of course I agreed but when we got back downstairs to re rack the weight, Cluett was sitting there with ten 45 pound plates on each side,” Brown said.  

After that moment Coach Brown nicknamed Cluett “BIG BUSY BODY”. 

His roommate, Hunter Swan, is in awe of his passion for lifting. “He cares about the shit he does a lot. He is very passionate about lifting and you can see it with numbers he puts up in the weight room,” Swan said.  

Other than Cluett’s dad, hip hop pioneer 50 Cent is another big influence on his life and his love for music. His involvement in the music industry was pretty prominent during the early 2000s with his hit album “Get Rich or Die Tryin.” That album specifically was influential on Cluett because it hit on a lot of the values his father instilled in him.  

“50 Cent telling his story of perseverance and being motivated was truly a blessing for me. The guy gets shot nine times and is still alive but through it all he still found a way to be hungry while having a fighter’s mentality,” Cluett said.   

Cluett truly appreciated 50 Cent’s ambition to go through hell before stepping into paradise because it speaks to one’s ability to stay the course and be who you’re truly meant to be.  

“It’s so easy for people in our generation to follow but if you can be true to yourself, you’ll always be happy in the end,” he said.  

Cluett deadlifts a lot of weight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Spartans sweep SUNY Canton
Next post Why we ride: At home on the mountain