Campus Life

Langevin takes year leave

On the heels of a season that saw an end to a six consecutive Canada West Championship run, 12-year University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women's rugby head coach Neil Langevin has announced that he will take a year leave from his head coaching duties.

Former Pronghorn and long-time assistant coach JJ Ondrus has been named the interim head coach for the 2013 season. While Langevin will not be the head coach next season, he will stay on as an assistant coach.

"Neil has done a great job not only developing the student-athletes in his time but also his coaches," says Executive Director of Sport and Recreation Services, Sandy Slavin. "JJ will do a great job, and having Neil around to help with the transition is an asset and will also free him up to concentrate on other areas of the program."

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

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 the 12 years, Langevin compiled a 41-21-0 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.

"The challenge to contend for a national title every year has become difficult as I have two active boys with increasingly busy schedules and a full-time job," says Langevin of his decision to take a year leave. "JJ will bring her own ideas and strengths to build the program back to a national contender. I am proud of her and am confident in her abilities."

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

Ondrus has been coaching with the program since her graduation. She's coached for over 10 years in the Southern Alberta High School Rugby League, most currently 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). Ondrus was an assistant coach for Rugby Alberta Senior and U23 Women at Rugby Nationals.

"I've been with the program since it started in 2000, so it is near and dear to my heart," says Ondrus. "I am very excited for my new role and cannot wait to bring my energy and ideas to the table. Neil has set the bar pretty high, but I know, as he does, that I am ready!"

The 2013 Canada West rugby schedule has yet to be released but the 'Horns will begin training camp in late August.