Curtis Lauzon was announced as the new Tommies men’s rugby coach on Jan. 19. He has been in contact with now ex-coach Jon Wilson for months, but the reality of the position did not dawn on him until his first recruitment meeting.
“To be able to sit down in their home with his parents there, to feel that, for them, it’s a huge deal to have a coach visit them at their home and to really try to describe the program and to really show interest in their child, I thinks that’s an interesting moment,” said Lauzon.
“To me, it’s just visiting a rugby player and making an acquaintance but to them, it was a lot more. It was really meaningful. So that to me was the moment where it kind of clicked.”
Lauzon is only 23 years old. He said he started coaching in his second year of high school.
“I’m told I’m the youngest captain for the [Fredericton] Loyalist rugby team,” he said. “I dont know if anyone here knows my age and I don’t know if that’s going to be a huge factor.”
Lauzon has been coaching for six years, and in that time, he has lead the Under-16 women’s rugby team in Ontario to a national gold medal. He has also coached the New Brunswick U16 provincial team.
“The time that I put into coaching may not reflect my age,” he said.
Lauzon said he’s always gravitated to leadership roles and has always thought like a coach, even when he was purely a player.
“At one point, it dawned on me when I was playing and I was concerned about what other people were doing. That’s when I thought ‘yeah coaching may be the path for me,’” he said. “Some of my best memories from playing provincial … weren’t moments where I scored.
“They were moments where you pick a guy off after he did something bad and see him succeed later on or succeed even in the next few minutes of play. I guess that’s a different mindset.”
His first meeting with the Tommies men’s rugby team was Jan. 18. He said it went extremely well.
“The players wanted the focus to be on celebrating Jon [Wilson] and giving him a nice way out. The players presented him with some nice items including a signed jersey. That was the focus and to introduce myself and talk about where we see them going.”
Lauzon said Wilson has done an incredible job in his time with the team.
“To turn the team from a club sport to a professional university sport … it’s really nice to be able to step into the position when the team is already at that kind of level.”
With a professional atmosphere already in place, Lauzon said he and assistant coaches Eric Plant and Matt Coffey can now focus on furthering that success.
“With that professionalism and the standard already set, we can now push that standard and really make a push for that Maritime final.”
When it comes to recruitment, Lauzon said that is also going well. They’ve already sat down with a half-dozen potential students.
Lauzon also said his and the team’s priorities match up: to win a Maritime Championship.
STU fell just short of that feat in each of the last two years.
“I don’t think there was anybody in the room when we met two Wednesdays ago that thought that winning the Maritime final wasn’t an option.”
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