Newly named head coach of the McMaster women’s rugby team Tim Doucette is no stranger to the Mac rugby program. First moving to Hamilton 11 years ago, Doucette played on the men’s rugby team while earning his degree in business. Immediately after graduating, he was offered a job in the university’s payroll and pension department.
It was at that time when former head coach Cam Mitchell gave him his first coaching opportunity.
“A week before [the women’s] training camp, he asked me if I could give him a hand for the week,” said Doucette.
Without hesitation he agreed, and before he knew it he was being offered a permanent position as an assistant coach.
For the next seven years, Doucette found himself supporting Dr. Mitchell and Shaun Allen, the team’s most recent coach, in several seasons of highs and lows. From winning both the Ontario University Athletics and Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in the 2015-2016 season, to the tough losses that came in the following year, Doucette was on staff helping to guide the team.
Redesigning the mindset of the program is one of Doucette’s main goals coming into his new role.
“We have had this little lull over the past two years,” said Doucette. “Now the athletes again are starting to build up fire and realize that this is not where we want to be. We are building back towards championships and back towards having success.”
In order to do this Doucette is adamant on being very vocal about the team’s goals for the season to come.
“I think it’s very important to define what we are trying to do, how we are trying to do it and how we want to be perceived while we are doing it,” said Doucette. “We’ve started that conversation and making sure to have that open dialogue from the athletes to the coaches.”
Implementing any fundamental changes to the program is not in Doucette’s immediate plans. Instead, rugby’s new head coach is focusing on keeping everyone involved with the program on the same page.
“As we’re having these team discussions, I really believe that everyone is getting back on to the same page,” said Doucette. “ These conversations have me looking forward to competing in the top spot and continuing to have success.”
Maintaining that open dialogue with his players is important for Doucette. As a former Marauder, he understands more than most what it takes to be a student athlete.
“The experiences I had as an athlete in school, like trying to balance athletics, school, community service, relationships, and family are the same experiences that these girls are going through as well,” Doucette said.
As the manager of the human resources team at McMaster’s Children Hospital, Doucette has the privilege of getting to support some of his athletes not just on the field, but can also help them in the classroom.
“It’s very neat for me when I have our fourth athletes in nursing pop by the office and say hi or tell me about what they’re learning,” said Doucette. “It helps me connect with the athletes in a different way than I did before, and I think they appreciate that as well.”
This new role is nothing Doucette cannot handle. He’s passionate not just for the sport but also for each individual player on the roster. Add this passion to his experience as a player and a coach, it ensures that the future of McMaster women’s rugby is in good hands.