By River Mitchell
Matt Tuthill is one of the most well-known graduates of Springfield College’s Communications and Sports Journalism program. Tuthill came into the program in 1999, the first year of the major, and graduated in 2003. Tuthill is now the vice president of content and communications for chef Robert Irvine, which includes writing Irvine’s books and speeches, and is known by Irvine as the voice for all the things he does. Tuthill reflected on his time at Springfield College, as well as talking about his return to Alden Street during Homecoming weekend for the program’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Springfield Student Why did you choose Springfield College?
Tuthill: I think I stayed because of Marty [Dobrow] and all the people that he built up around there, but I was convinced to go [to Springfield College] by Dennis Gildea [founder of the Communications and Sports Journalism major]. He was sitting at the table when I came for an open house, and he talked about it and I said, “Wow, this would be great.” I thought I was going to major in English somewhere, and I thought this was such a cooler application of those things. I didn’t know there were programs of any kind out there for this kind of thing. I had just grown up reading the sports pages, I thought that would be amazing to learn how to do that. Moreover, I wanted to learn from a guy like him.
Springfield Student: Coming back for the 25th anniversary of the Communications/Sports Journalism major, what was that like?
Tuthill: It was emotionally overwhelming on a few levels. I’m walking around campus and realizing I graduated half of my lifetime ago. I’m 42. So not only was it this powerful nostalgia, but you also have to understand that in the fall of ‘99, Marty and Dennis could get people that worked at ESPN or The Boston Globe to come visit us and talk to us. We looked at them like movie stars. That was the ultimate hope, that someone would wind up maybe doing something like that. It was really overwhelming because they [the other alums] represent the fulfillment of that original hope and promise. The fact that there’s all these alumni coming back doing all these amazing things makes me so happy. It’s all the hard work of that faculty and all those students. I just have a tremendous amount of pride in being part of it.
Springfield Student: What do you think was the most underrated part of campus when you attended Springfield?
Tuthill: Just the fact that it’s a college campus where nobody is ever smoking a cigarette outside the dorm. That’s different from every other college campus. Most people [here] are athletes and even those who don’t play a team sport are hitting the gym and are health conscious. The fact that the physical culture aspect is such a big part of campus life, it definitely made me think harder about everything that I was putting into my body. That’s where my career changed. I always wanted to be the beat writer for the New York Mets. I was on the football team, and I really loved the strength and conditioning program and I loved learning about all that stuff. I worked as a personal trainer for a couple years after my newspaper job, and that made me a no-brainer hire for Muscle and Fitness [magazine]. Every single person you saw in Springfield was on their way either to or from the a or practice.
Springfield Student: When you were on campus, what was your favorite place to relax – and why?
Tuthill: Under the main floor of Blake Arena there were like four or five racquetball courts. On a Saturday, before going out, we’d play racquetball for about 3-4 hours first. When football wasn’t in season that was kind of the thing that kept you in shape. The basketball court behind Massasoit, that’s another one. All the hangouts were all centered around sports too.
Springfield Student: What is your favorite part about your profession?
Tuthill: I have an incredible amount of autonomy, and if it excites me I get to go pursue it. In terms of different interviews and things I’ll do for this magazine. [Irvine] really just trusts me to chase what excites me. I’ve never really considered myself good enough to write well if I’m not really excited about it. You’re going to be a million times better if you really care, so now I always get to care, which is amazing. If you can do something for someone that they have no idea how to do, and they need the thing, you’re invaluable.
Springfield Student: What would you tell your younger self?
Tuthill: I would tell myself to get those applications out there a little sooner. I was freelancing at a college and that was great. I was freelancing throughout ‘04 and ‘05. Those two years were hard. They’re hard when you graduate. You go from this incredible structure of campus life, always on your way to do something, and then to have that safety net disappear [is hard]. I always looked with a sense of wonder and jealousy of the people who got their careers going straight away. Looking back at how tough those first two years out of school were, I would go back and say, “Hey, try to get this going a little sooner.” Because the sooner you get in the workforce, the sooner you understand what kind of situations you don’t like.