Campus Life

Langevin officially steps down as Horns women's rugby coach

After taking a one year leave as the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s rugby head coach, Neil Langevin has officially resigned as the head coach of the program.

Neil Langevin took the Horns women's rugby program from its inception to the country's premier program over the course of his tenure as head coach.

JJ Ondrus, who served as the team’s interim coach last season, has been appointed as the head coach for the 2014-15 season.

“Neil obviously did a great job building a program from the ground up and winning three national championships,” says Sandy Slavin, the executive director of Sport and Recreation. “He also did an exceptional job developing the student-athletes and coaches. Pronghorn Athletics would like to thank Neil for his 13 years with the program and valuable contributions he made to the Pronghorn family."

Langevin, the architect of the Horns' most successful program, had been the head coach since its inception in 2000 and led the program to three consecutive national titles from 2007-2009, in addition to winning six consecutive conference titles starting in 2006. The Horns also medaled two other times at the CIS Championships, earning a silver medal in 2003 and a bronze medal in 2006.

“I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with so many great people here; athletes, coaches, support staff, the athletics department and administration,” says Langevin. “The Canada West rugby conference is full of great programs and people. I learned so much from all of these people and will miss the competitive environment of university athletics.

“Being able to start a program from scratch and grow it to be three-time national champions is an experience that I will cherish forever. I am proud to say that I am a Pronghorn from Lethbridge! But, the most lasting memories will be of all the friendships that I have been lucky enough to be part of.”

Twice named the Canada West Coach of the Year (2002 and 2009), Langevin was also named the CIS Coach of the Year in 2009.

Over his tenure, Langevin compiled a 40-20-0 conference record, including a 22-game conference winning streak that spanned more than three full seasons.

Internationally, Langevin coached Canada's National Team to a fourth place finish at the 2006 World Cup. He also spent time as the head coach with Rugby Canada’s National U20 Women’s team.

Last season, Ondrus went 1-2-1 in the regular season as the interim head coach, before losing to the Calgary Dinos in the Canada West semifinals.

Ondrus began her Pronghorn career as a women’s soccer player in 1997, playing three seasons, before moving to rugby and was part of the inaugural women’s rugby team in 2000. She finished her fifth year of eligibility in 2001 when the Horns captured their first win against UBC in the Canada West bronze medal game

“First of all, I would like to thank Neil  for bringing me into this program and mentoring me all these years. His confidence in me to lead this team goes a long way toward letting me know that I am ready,” says Ondrus.  “I am really excited to continue the position of head coach, officially, and am currently working hard at recruiting and preparing for the CIS Sevens Championship in March.”

“Our returning players will form a strong base and we are looking to add a few more pieces to the puzzle this spring,” continues Ondrus. “We are focused on improvement and the players have been committed to fitness and skills throughout the winter months."

Ondrus has been coaching with the program ever since her graduation. She’s coached for over 10 years in the Southern Alberta High School Rugby League, most recently at Winston Churchill High School, where she teaches physics.

She has also travelled as a coach with two international high school rugby tours, one to England/Scotland (2006) and one to Wales (2010), as well as being the assistant coach for Rugby Alberta Senior and U23 Women at Rugby Nationals.

The 2014 Canada West rugby schedule has yet to be released but the Horns will begin training camp in late August.