New coach of Lakehead University's women's basketball team says he'll bring 'integrity' to the role
Hugo Boisvert to become Thunder Bay, Ont., school's 10th women's head coach, official start in June
Hugo Boisvert has been named the new coach of the women's basketball team at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., and says he'll continue to hold himself "to the highest standard of integrity" in his new role.
Boisvert, the lead assistant with the women's team at Laval University in Quebec, will take over from interim head coach David McCallum, who has been in the role since the beginning of the season.
McCallum replaced former coach Jon Kreiner, who says "a decision was made to part ways" with the university this fall.
Boisvert has experience with both men's and women's teams at Laval. The women's team currently sits atop the Quebec division with an 8-3 record.
Boisvert's hiring comes after longtime coach Kreiner quietly left the program this fall. The university has not made any public comment about why Kreiner is no longer head coach, but he has told CBC News it was a mutual decision to "part ways"
Ten people currently or formerly affiliated with Lakehead University's women's basketball program have spoken to CBC News about allegations of athlete maltreatment by Kreiner — including bullying, kicking basketballs at players and breaking clipboards.
Six of those sources also told CBC News the university began an internal investigation into allegations Kreiner stole thousands of dollars from athletes over at least 10 years through the university's work-study program. Five of them said they know senior members in the athletic department were aware of these allegations, but failed to stop the alleged theft and protect athletes.
When asked about those allegations after he was named Lakehead's new head coach, Boisvert said: "I can't speak to what happened in the past with the previous coach or anything like that. The only thing I do know, I have always held myself to the highest standard of integrity, and I'll continue to do that. And I'll expect the same from all my staff members and my players as well."
Kreiner has declined all requests to speak to this matter, but says he stands by his coaching record and professional conduct.
"I am not able to provide any other details in response to these allegations. I remain confident in my record, my commitment to the teams and organization, and professional conduct," Kreiner said in a statement.
The university has declined all requests for comment on those allegations, or Kreiner's absence, saying it is a "personnel matter."
Building up players on and off the court
Boisvert will officially take over on June 1, but will be recruiting players before then. Lakehead sits in last place in the Ontario West Division, with a 1-13 won-lost record.
"For me, the first step and the most important thing is connecting with the current players, building those relationships, building trust," he said,. "Afterwards, it's about the daily habits and how we do things, how we choose to show up every day and things we put in place on a daily basis, and grow from there."
He said he's looking to build up players beyond the court and on-court success is not the only goal.
"To me, the coaching profession, what's appealing is that it goes beyond basketball," he said. "Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to compete with the best of them, but the human part will always be at the centrepiece."