A day in the life of an Athletic Director

It’s the job that never ends


Accepting trophies is just one aspect of Mrs. Tuomala’s job

Max Marois, Staff Writer

This week I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview Sutton Athletic director Christine Tuomala about her job here at Sutton High School. Mrs. Tuomala has worked at Sutton for eighteen years. She started as a Spanish teacher in 2003 and was the Student Council advisor for fourteen years. In 2015 transitioned to athletic director. 

First, I asked what a normal day in the life of an athletic director looks like to get a better understanding of what she truly does. 

“I will give you yesterday. And it is not typical, but it is a day. So I get here around seven in the morning, both my kids are in the school district, so I bring them with me. I think it is a part of my job to be a parent and an AD. So I got here and ran through a lot of my emails first… after that I finished my to do list from the day before, and then made a new to do list… Then I work on my calendar. I check off the games that happened and the games that are coming up. I figure out if I have buses, officials, are the coaches aware, do I need a trainer, and go through each game’s needs for the next few days. If that is good I go through the business office side of athletics and make sure all the bills are paid, usually lots of phone calls happening with different athletic directors, if it rains rescheduling games, canceling buses, letting parents know. And also once a month there is a booster club meeting, and so I meet with the members and talk about the needs of the athletic department.”

Next up, I asked her about how COVID-19 has changed athletics.  

“The job changed exponentially during COVID-19. During the summer of 2020, we were unsure if sports were even going to happen. So, as a backup plan in order for me to keep my job, I became a middle school Spanish teacher. When Ms. Corron moved to assistant principal, we needed a Spanish teacher, and I jumped in as the middle school Spanish teacher. And then athletics were happening in August, and they said get it ready in two weeks. So I jumped right in and had to learn all the COVID-19 protocols for each sport. I had to be at every game because I was pretty the mask police and equipment washer. I had to wash every soccer ball when it came off the field, and the same for volleyball. Fall was just crazy. Winter was even a little crazier because everything spiked and we were inside. Spring was a little bit better. It definitely changed a lot because there were so many rules we had to follow.” 

Is the school looking to possibly expand to other sports, such as lacrosse? 

“I will say that we have not expanded so much, just because we are such a small school. To expand programming would affect our current programming, so what we tend to do is look for co-op opportunities. Right now I have a gymnastics proposal; I would love to have a gymnastics program. Gymnastics is so expensive, because there is so much equipment involved and insurance. I look for co-op opportunities for something like that because it is not something we can house here. This is mostly because of crazy costs. And just starting a team, it has to be able to be supported for many many years. It cannot just be because we want it right now, it has to be we want it, and there is a feeder program in town that can generate interest so that we are able to keep it.”

Lastly, I ask is there something that you wish people knew about the athletic director job? 

“I think in general, understanding athletics, not just my job, but understanding that athletic programming is not just going to games and watching and cheering on your Sammies and Suzies. We are trying to teach you guys as student athletes how to be a teammate, how to be proud of your town, that there is more to athletics than just the X’s and O’s, just the plays you are learning, that you are building memories and it is a really integral part of what you are doing in high school. I think that sometimes we just look at the game, the record, the banners, and we really need to look at the memories you are making. I went to Oakmont, and I am drawn to the color green, because that was my color in school, and here I am in Sutton. I don’t know, I just think there is something about pride in your community and pride in what you have done. I just hope people see that too.”

(Some aspects of this article have been edited for clarity)