The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association is proud to announce its participants for the 2016-17 Female Apprentice Coach Program from the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ):
Apprentice: Cynthia Perpall
Mentor: Louis-Michel Bergeron
Cynthia Perpall, a recent graduate from the Université du Québec à Montréal, will return to her roots at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit this fall as a female apprentice coach.
Before earning CIS volleyball experience with the Rouge et Or de l’Université Laval and the Citadins de l’UQAM, Perpall suited up for three seasons with the Lynx in the RSEQ and CCAA.
“I started getting involved in coaching as a student-athlete with the Rouge et Or and I was immediately drawn to being a coach,” said Perpall, who plans on playing an active role and demonstrating positivity to the student-athletes at Édouard-Montpetit.
“Volleyball has been a part of my life since I started high school and it’s my life,” she said. “Sharing my knowledge with young student-athletes is the logical next step for advancing my career in teaching and coaching.”
On the technical side, she hopes to assist with statistics, video analysis and ball handling as well.
“Before going on to University, we got to know Cynthia well, and we know that she is dedicated to the sport of volleyball,” said Julien Grenier, acting Athletic Director at the Cégep. “This won’t be the first time she coaches athletes, as a player, she was involved in development at various levels of the discipline.”
After three years at Cégep André-Larendeau, Louis-Michel Bergeron is entering his first season with the Lynx and will mentor Perpall.
“I have had many mentors in my coaching career and they have been instrumental in my progress,” said Bergeron. “It’s only logical for me to do the same and give back with Cynthia.”
Bergeron believes Perpall’s addition to the Lynx coaching staff will be of great benefit to the 14 student-athletes on the team.
“The main reason for my enthusiasm in taking part in this program is to give my knowledge to a candidate who I feel has enormous potential to become a great coach,” he said.
Élans de Garneau
Apprentice: Marie-Michèle Vachon
Mentor: Julien Paquette
Cégep Garneau has graduated several talented volleyball players to the CIS in recent years and one of those student-athletes, Marie-Michèle Vachon, will return to the Élans in 2016-17 as an apprentice.
After three seasons with Garneau, two of which as team captain, Vachon went on to suit up for the Rouge et Or de l’Université Laval.
“Now that I have decided to end my career as a university athlete, I hope to continue being involved in volleyball in order to pass down the values the sport taught me to young athletes,” said Vachon. “These values have helped me grow in many different areas of my life.”
Vachon, a CCAA Academic All-Canadian in 2013, organized a one-week training camp for girls ages 12-14 several summers ago. She felt like she was able to meet the expectations of the young athletes as well as their parents.
“The camp was a big success and a great first coaching experience for me,” said Vachon. “The experience confirmed both my interest and aptitude for coaching.”
She will be mentored by a coach with an excellent track record.
Since being hired by Garneau in 2005, Julien Paquette has led the Élans to nine provincial titles and seven medals at CCAA Nationals. Garneau has appeared in back-to-back National Championship finals, earning silver medals in 2015 and 2016.
Two seasons ago, Paquette mentored Marie-Eve Bergeron and he’s eager to once again welcome back another Garneau alumnus.
“I look forward to sharing my expertise once again to help Marie-Michèle on her path to becoming a volleyball coach,” said Paquette. “She has a great deal of experience, competitive spirit, leadership and professionalism to bring to the table and having had the opportunity to be her coach for three years, I know that she strives for excellence.”
According to Éric Lavigne, Athletic Director at Garneau, Paquette has contributed to the advancement of volleyball not only at Garneau, but at the regional and provincial levels as well.
“Like all of us, he believes that passing down knowledge and experience is key to helping new coaches develop their skills,” said Lavigne, who calls his head coach patient, experienced and diligent.
“Julien enjoys sharing his knowledge and is an excellent educator, therefore he will be a great mentor for Marie-Michèle,” he said.
Nordiques de Lionel-Groulx
Apprentice: Dominique Balthazar
Mentor: Danyk Sauro
A recent physical education graduate, Dominique Balthazar is very eager to combine her passion for volleyball with her vocation for teaching.
She will get that opportunity this fall at Collège Lionel-Groulx as an apprentice in the FACP.
“Now that I have completed my studies, I am seeking out new challenges,” said Balthazar. “As the Lionel-Groulx program is overseen by an experienced coach, it will give me the opportunity to develop fundamental coaching skills and use them to the benefit of the next generation.”
Balthazar already has some experience coaching youngsters. She has worked with students at l‘École secondaire Félix-Leclerc and, for three consecutive years, she volunteered at an intense, week-long camp to prepare young players for their upcoming season.
A female apprentice, Balthazar believes she can bring a unique factor to the mix.
“I can be a female role model for numerous young women who aspire to be volleyball athletes, play competitively or even become coaches themselves,” she said.
Danyk Sauro, the Nordiques head coach since 2004, will mentor Balthazar. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience in both indoor and beach volleyball at multiple levels.
“With guidance from our head coach, she will undoubtedly learn what she needs to know to be a good coach,” said Nathalie Blanchette, Atheltics Student Life Counselor at Lionel-Groulx. “And she will have plenty of opportunities to put that knowledge into practice.”
Sauro believes it only makes sense to continue contributing to the sport of volleyball by training new coaches, especially female coaches as there are far too few of them currently involved in the sport.
“I am responsible, determined and highly involved in volleyball and training other coaches is very empowering for me,” he said.
Dynamiques de Sainte-Foy
Apprentice: Nada Khelifi
Mentor: Dave Laroche
After three seasons and two trips to CCAA National Championships with the Dynamiques, Nada Khelifi will join her former team on the bench at Sainte-Foy as an apprentice.
Khelifi led Sainte-Foy to an RSEQ title in Women’s Basketball last season and a second-consecutive appearance at CCAA Nationals.
She will begin a new career by joining the dedicated coaching staff she’s had the privilege of playing for, one which has helped her grow as a student-athlete and a person.
“I have proudly worn the colours of my team and school over the past three years, and have developed a feeling of belonging to the Dynamiques family,” said Khelifi. “I know how transformative and enriching this experience has been for me and I look forward to getting involved in my own way and give back to young athletes on my beloved team.”
As Sainte-Foy’s Athletic Director, Cynthia Côté-Beaupré has watched Khelifi’s development the past two seasons.
“She stood out for her passion, her fighting spirit, her determination and her eagerness to give it her all,” said Côté-Beaupré. “Nada demonstrates great leadership and self-reliance.”
Khelifi, who has previously conducted skill refinement sessions with students at l’École secondaire De Rochebelle, will be mentored by Dave Laroche, a coach with more than 10 years of experience.
“Adjusting to this level of competition was an excellent challenge for me and I am now ready for a career challenge that will allow me to round out my coaching profile in a stimulating environment,” said Laroche, who is entering his fourth season at Sainte-Foy. “The mentor coach position is an opportunity for me to give back and contribute to the development of coaches in my sport.”
Laroche brings a lot of energy, adapts well to different situations and communicates well.
“I feel that these qualities and my experience as an athlete, coach, referee and program manager will be put to good use in the role of mentor coach,” said Laroche.
Meanwhile, Khelifi’s involvement with the Dynamiques is very important to Côté-Beaupré, as she will be joining a coaching team that was entirely male last season.
“Nada is truly fulfilling her need to give back to young women by passing down what she has learned over the past few years and she understands how important it is to have a female presence on the coaching team,” said Côté-Beaupré.
“There is no doubt that as a next-generation female coach, she is a considerable asset to our coaching team.”
Diablos de Trois-Rivières
Apprentice: Carolanne Croteau
Mentor: Faisal Docter
Carolanne Croteau always showed an interest in coaching once her playing days were over according to her former coach Faisal Docter. She’ll now get that opportunity as an apprentice with the Diablos, a team she captained in her final season at Trois- Rivières.
Docter continuously keeps in touch with his former student-athletes, updating them on the program’s progress. When Croteau approached him about the possibility of joining the Diablos staff, he was immediately on board with the idea.
“I am confident that the FACP program will give me the opportunity to learn from a competent, experienced coach while developing my skills in the field,” said Croteau.
She already has some experience, having coached elementary school children, preparing workouts and training sessions.
“This experience gave me a taste of my future career as a coach as I had the opportunity to plan practices, which is a big part of the job,” said Croteau.
In her role as captain of the Diablos, she demonstrated leadership in order to foster team spirit and drive while maintaining a healthy level of competition between the players.
She was honoured to be team leader at Trois-Rivières.
“This responsibility helped me grow as a player and as an individual,” said Croteau. “Being a captain also means having the responsibility of putting the team’s needs first and I learned to prioritize my team’s well-being.”
Docter, meanwhile, has held various coaching positions in the community since 2008 and he’s served as head coach at Trois-Rivières for the past three seasons.
“With my background in coaching, teaching and administration, it is a natural fit for me to work with young coaches and helping them develop their talents as a coach,” said Docter, who was recently hired as a principal at Three Rivers Academy.
Week after week, Docter demonstrates his passion for the development of local athletes and coaches, according to Michael Guay, Athletic Director at Trois-Rivières.
“He has been actively involved in implementing a long-term athlete development plan in our college’s three divisions by fostering team cohesion, something that wasn’t in the organizational culture when I joined the athletic department,” said Guay.
It is the hope that Croteau will be part of the Diablos coaching staff for years to come and to have her as a candidate of choice when the opportunity to lead a team arises.
“We believe that by providing a young woman with the opportunity to move up the coaching ladder, we will encourage other young women to get involved after their athletic careers are over, ideally in our region,” said Guay.