Back on May 4th, HoopDirt.com reported a rumor that American University assistant Nate Philippe would be hired as the next head coach at the University of Quebec at Montreal (American Dirt). It has now been made official – Philippe has returned to his native Canada to take over at UQAM. Typically, we would post the story from the schools website, but since the UQAM story is written in French, here is what North Pole Hoops wrote about the hiring:
UQAM made a major announcement early this week, in their hiring of Nate Philippe, a well traveled and experienced bilingual (French-English) Canadian coach.
Not only is this a win for the university, but also the RSEQ and CIS basketball.
Philippe has gradually climbed the coaching ladder through his work ethic and passion for the game.
West Hill (HS), Grassroots Canada (AAU), REDA (Club),York (Ast CIS), North Dakota (Ast NCAA), Maine (Ast NCAA), American (Ast NCAA) & now Head Coach of the UQAM Citadins in Montreal.
Through his journey, Philippe has worked with some of Canada’s best including Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas, Dwight Powell, Brady Heslip, Justin Edwards, along with a plethora of other talented players.
Prior to reaching his goal, Philippe was knocking on doors for quite some time, having applied for over 20 Head Coaching jobs at the CIS, NCAA DI & DII levels.
Perseverance has carried him through to reach his goal.
“I’m very excited, thankful, blessed; it’s been a unique path and journey that I’ve taken, there’s been some difficult times and sacrifices involved, but at the same time I’ve gotten to work with phenomenal coaches and players that I’ve learned a great deal from,” Philippe told North Pole Hoops.
“I’ve grown and developed from each opportunity, it all made me the person, coach and father I am today. I wouldn’t have chosen a different path. My journey is my own, I’m that much stronger for it.”
Philippe comes from American University, where he had two successful years in the Patriot League which included an NCAA Tournament berth in March Madness, along with conference championship runner up this past season. He was recently recognized as Patriot League Top Assistant.
“What I’ve learned at American is not to limit expectations, and I’ll never limit what our group can accomplish next year. Sky is the limit,” Philippe explained, referring to the 2015-2016 version of the UQAM Citadins.
“Our goal is to build a program that will compete in the RSEQ and nationally in the CIS.”
“We want to put in a culture of excellence, family, hard work and discipline. I feel good about the team coming back next year, a really nice core group to build around. I’m lucky that there’s some talented kids there.”
Philippe is already in “go mode”, as he has been in contact with UQAM’s current group of players, while also hitting the recruiting trail, setting up meetings with prospective student-athletes.
Part of his vision includes a strong local presence.
“Recruiting Quebec is going to be crucial, making sure the best French speaking kids wants to stay at UQAM and in Montreal.”
Having an NCAA Division one perspective as a coach, and CIS background as both player & coach (UPEI/ York), Philippe understands the benefits to staying in the CIS, and having a great career in Canada.
Philippe praises Daniel Methot, UQAM athletic director in this process.
“He has great passion for the game of basketball; an outside of the box thinker that wants the program to be really good,” said Philippe.
“I loved his vision and outlook for building a championship caliber program at UQAM–we shared the same vision and excitement of what the program can become.”
If Philippe’s path to UQAM is any indication of his will to succeed, the future of Citadins basketball is in good hands.