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Graduate Profile: Jack Tyrrell, Men’s Volleyball

The name, "Jack Tyrrell' has been synonymous with the CMU Men's Volleyball program for half a decade. Coming to CMU from a very competitive Linden Christian high school program, Tyrrell has continued that success in the MCAC, being part of three championship-winning teams during his four seasons with the Blazers. Jack has shown strong character, commitment to personal-development and mentorship of younger players. He has played a critical role in shaping the positive-culture that is apparent in the Men's Volleyball program.  

We had a chance to catch up with the fifth-year middle to talk about his incredibly successful MCAC career and his time as a CMU Blazer;

Q: What things impacted your decision when you chose to come to CMU?

JT: I chose CMU for a number of reasons. Firstly, I really wanted to stay in Winnipeg and continue to play volleyball. While a few other schools had emailed me about some opportunities, CMU was especially attractive because of the people that I knew on the team. I had previously played high school volleyball and club volleyball with Jacob Janzen, Makoy Penner, and Jordan Franks. I was also very attracted to CMU because of the small class sizes and the community here. I thought it would be much easier to transition from a small high school to CMU rather than attempting a much larger university like U of M.

Q: What has been your goal this year as it became apparent there would be no season to compete in and an unusual and ever-changing practice schedule?

JT: My goal in volleyball became trying to set up the next players with all the information and wisdom I could impart onto them in the short period of time so that they could be successful next year. I started to write a lot of things down so that I could share it with them in the future. My goals also shifted more to outside of volleyball. Because volleyball was over, my schedule was a lot less hectic. I took this time to fulfill my practicum requirements and focus more time and effort on my final few classes. 

Q: What have you enjoyed most about being a student-athlete?

JT: I think the community that being a student-athlete brings, was especially important and impactful for me. Coming to university is scary but being part of the volleyball program immediately gave me 14 friends and a few coaches who I could look to for mentorship in volleyball, in school, and in life. I also benefitted a lot from the sense of community and brotherhood that coach Dulder and the previous leaders of the team had implemented. I think Don does a great job of not only bringing in good players, but he also focuses a lot on a prospect’s character and signs outstanding people. This is shown through the friendships that we are able to create which directly leads to the success we’ve been able to achieve in the past few years.

Q: What is a favourite memory of your time as a Blazer?

JT: I think I have 2 favourite memories that specifically come to mind. One would be our trips to Toronto. These trips were such a good bonding experience for the team and we always left with a ton of inside jokes and good memories. We also had the opportunity to face some really good competition in those tournaments which forced us to work through adversity early in our seasons. 

My other favourite memory has to be the last game of the 2019-2020 season. While I am obviously disappointed that we were not able to play a season this year in my final year at CMU, that game was an incredible way to end a career here at CMU. Winning a championship at home versus Providence, coming back from down 2-0, that was one of the craziest games I’ve ever been a part of and I am so proud of the team for how we were able to persevere.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of being a student-athlete?

JT: Time management. When travelling to Toronto, Niagara, or Brandon, or even just having weekly practices and games in the city, you always have to be sure to keep up with school work. This is something that I think sets the CMU men's volleyball team apart from a lot of other teams. Coming to CMU, I had good grades in high school but they were nothing special. On our CMU team, you could see a lot of the guys really cared about school and were willing to help each other out. If you look at previous players and the GPA of our team over the years, it's really amazing what we have been able to accomplish. You have guys in med school, guys trying to get in, successful professionals, journalists, etc. I think that really helped push me to achieve academically and taught me how to study. 

Q: What advice would you give to players representing CMU in the men’s volleyball program next season?

JT: My advice for next year is try to bond outside of volleyball as much as you can. This next year we have signed something like 8 new players and unfortunately, because of COVID, the rookies from last year are still pretty much rookies this year as well. I would really like to see some of the veterans next year take the time to plan outings in the summer time and throughout the next season so that they can bond and develop the friendships that they might have missed out on this past year. Last year we set up a beach volleyball tournament and we spoke as a team about volunteering around the city before COVID shut everything down, so I would love to see those become a tradition for CMU men’s volleyball. 

Q: When your time as a student-athlete ends, what would you like your legacy to be?

JT: I would love for people to think of me as a good teammate and as someone who tried to push others to be their best self. Whether it was on the court or academically, I tried to make myself as open as I could be to support my teammates. I loved seeing the new students come in and pursue sciences and I loved being able to help them out with their courses. On the court and in the gym, I was competitive and I loved to push people to be better or train harder because I saw a lot of potential in some of the players here at CMU.

Q: What does the future hold for you after graduation?

JT: Following my graduation this year I will continue to pursue my education in the health sciences. I plan to apply to medical school in the fall but I am also very interested in research and could see myself applying to a graduate school as well. I am currently participating in a practicum program at a research lab at the University of Manitoba’s College of Pharmacy. I plan to finish that placement and then see where life takes me. 

COACH'S REFLECTION:

We asked Men's Volleyball head coach Don Dulder to share a relection on his graduating athlete;

"Jack was a player who was undersized as a middle and just loved proving sceptics wrong – who might have thought that he could not be an effective middle because of his lack of height. Jack has a very good vertical leap and is very intelligent which helped him with his reading skills and attacking versus a bigger block.

Jack was definitely a team-first player. He was willing to accept whatever role he could play for his team. He developed into one of the team leaders and was a source of knowledge that I tapped into many times. He was not afraid to question why things were done a certain way. He did this not for his own selfish gain, however, but for the benefit of the team. I know that Jack will be a major positive contributor to society in the future. Thanks, Jack, for being part of my life and the team’s for these past few years. We wish you all the best in the future!" – Don Dulder, head coach

CMU Athletics would like to extend our congratulations to Jack Tyrrell for his volleyball and scholastic accomplishments during his time at CMU and to thank him for the legacy of leadership he has left on the Men's Volleyball program. The Blazers plan to recognize Jack's accomplishments more formally at the opening home match of the 2021-22 MCAC season.

Congratulations Jack!

 

 

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association