For the first time since 1987, both the UBC cross country and track and field teams will have a new head coach — his name is Laurier Primeau.
“UBC is a very attractive place to coach,” Primeau said. “It’s [one of the] top 30 school[s] in the world and, with the surrounding area, it opens a lot of recruiting opportunities,” he said. He is taking over the top job from legendary Thunderbird coach, Marek Jedrzejek, who led the programs for over 25 years.
After a quick look at Primeau, you will see a coach who is extremely passionate about his sport.
Primeau has coaching experience from high school through to university and even at a national level. However, the road to where he is now has had a lot of bumps along way.
He started as a track athlete in high school where his coach left a long-lasting influence on him. After graduating high school, his former coach suddenly passed away from a brain aneurism.
“I was asked by my high school principal to come back and coach my high school’s track team … what I discovered was that I loved coaching and I was pretty good at it,” said Primeau.
Primeau attended Simon Fraser University for his undergraduate degree. It took him seven years to graduate because he fought two bouts with cancer. He then went on to complete a second degree from Auburn University in Alabama before returning to Vancouver to complete his schooling at UBC. While here, Primeau ran for the track team at the CIS championships.
Primeau’s first collegiate coaching job was here at UBC where he served as an assistant to the team from 2002-2009. Post-UBC, he had the opportunity to be the head coach of the Scottish national team as well as at Trinity Western University.
When he was given the opportunity to return to UBC and become the head coach, Primeau was overjoyed to return to where he was given his first coaching opportunity.
Taking over from legendary track coach Jedrzejek, Primeau said he feels a responsibility to “continue his legacy.” He’s thankful to Jedrzejek for giving him his first coaching job at the collegiate level.
Primeau wants to develop good programs here at UBC, but he also understands that — at this school in particular — there is heavy influence on the student part of the student-athlete.
This past weekend at the Sundodger Cross Country Invitational, the UBC women’s cross country team placed sixth and the men’s team placed seventh. Primeau thought it was a good kick off to the season.
“We were the top NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) school, which is important. But also, the athletes who attended last year saw improvements in their times so we know we are moving in the right direction.”
“I don’t want to put a lot of emphasis on outcome-oriented goals. The goal as a coach is to focus on the process and make sure that the athletes are improving everyday both in the classroom and on the track,” he said.
Primeau’s next chance to watch his team run is the Charles Bowles Cross Country Invitational hosted by Willamette University in Salem, Oregon on October 3.