The Thunderbirds' extensive search for a new athletics director has finally come to a conclusion. UBC has announced that Gilles Lepine will be taking the helm, effective July 11, 2016.
Fresh off his position as director of excellence for the athletics department at Laval University, Lepine brings 12 years of experience to the table.
“We’ve had an extensive search and I can’t think of a better candidate,” said UBC VP Students Louise Cowin. “We are so pleased that Gilles has chosen to join us at UBC. He’s been a student athlete, a coach and a very successful administrator.”
Lepine emphasized that he shares a similar vision for the funding of the athletics program as Cowin.
“If we want to grow as a varsity program, the university cannot do that by itself,” said Lepine. “In Vancouver, the potential is incredible what we can do with business people. If we convince [the community] that we are always on the same pattern, meaning we are selling something great, people will be so proud of what we have.”
Lepine suggested that he believes convincing the community, alumni and businesses to support the athletics program will help boost attendance at Thunderbirds games.
“I’m not a guy with some sort of magic power,” said Lepine. “We are going to work together and the more the community trusts what we are doing, they will bring people with them to the games.”
Moreover, Lepine believes the ability to bring together fans of the event and fans of the competition is another key to filling the stands.
“I was teaching a course at Laval University about how to organize sporting events,” said Lepine. “Not competition. Events. The first thing I said was the difference between events and competition is the spectators... meaning the students that come to the party for fun and the fans from the sport coming together."