by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – Blue Mountain’s Jared Cushing was named the next athletic director at Hazen Union last week, replacing John Sperry and becoming the youngest A.D. in the state at 21 years old.
A New Hampshire native, Cushing was a multi-sport athlete at Blue Mountain Union High School and played baseball for Husson University in Bangor, Me. He is set to earn his degree in Sports Management from Husson in 2023 and is eager to maintain or even exceed the level of commitment Sperry gave to the sports community in his fifteen plus years of service at Hazen.
“I’m not always the most patient person and that can be a fault of mine, but in this case I took a chance of applying to some schools that I was really interested [in] and with an unusual amount of opening for A.D.’s around the state this summer, I went after it and landed in the place I’ve always dreamed of being. I am blessed and grateful that Hazen and its administrators gave me this opportunity and I am absolutely going to pour myself into it. John did a great job here at Hazen and I look forward to preserving the characteristics that he, the student athletes, coaches, and community have built here at Hazen,” said Cushing.
Cushing was a decorated state champion at Blue Mountain and was recruited to play baseball at Husson before injuring his knee two years in. After much deliberation, he decided to not have surgery and pursue his lifelong dream of leading a high school athletic program someday. That day came much sooner than expected, but Cushing believes he has landed right where he was always meant to be.
“I’m a baseball nut and choosing to not have surgery and hang up the spikes for good was not an easy decision, but this job is something I’ve dreamed about since I started playing sports as a kid. Hardwick is a beautiful community, and they have a great reputation for supporting their athletics. I realize people must be asking how competent could this 21-year-old possibly be? The only answer I can give is that I know that I’m ready. I know my responsibilities and working with student athletes, coaches, and parents is what I love and what I breathe. Blue Mountain is a similar passionate sports community, and I would not be the young man that I am today without the relationships that I formed there with coaches and athletic directors and the guidance that they provided me. I’m so happy to be here to serve the kids, coaches, and community and do everything in my power to lead the athletic programs here at Hazen to continued success,” said Cushing.
With a record number of athletic directors stepping down this summer around the state, there is a youth movement happening including local hires of Connor Bean (Craftsbury Academy) and Gabriela Silva (Peoples Academy) in their early twenties. Cushing sees this as an opportunity for himself and his neighboring contemporaries to mix new ideas and mindsets from a new generation with successful experienced foundations that respected A.D.s like Sperry helped build before them.
“I’m not coming here to turn things upside down. John created his reputation in part by doing anything that needed to be done to help the kids be successful and I want to continue that. I want the transition to be as seamless as possible and I’ll be a sponge, learning everything I can that has made this program successful as well as forming as many relationships as I possibly can. I think as young people we need to be grateful that these administrators believed in us and it is our duty to give our very best to pay it back to the kids and the community. How fortunate am I? This is what I feel I was meant to do and I can’t wait to get started,” said Cushing.