After a lengthy search, UBC Athletics revealed this morning that Gilles Lepine will be taking over as the new Senior Athletic Director for the UBC Thunderbirds.
“We’re so pleased that Gilles has come join us at UBC,” said Louise Cowin, Vice President of Students at UBC. “He’s been a student athlete, he’s been a coach. He’s been a very successful administrator. He has worked in a very seamless and successful way with alumni, with the business community in Quebec City and with [Laval] University.”
Lepine comes to UBC from Quebec City, where he spent the last 12 years as the Director of Excellence for the Laval Rouge et Or. Over his time with the program, Lepine was able to increase support from alumni and fans, as well as recruit top student athletes to the program.
“I’m coming here very humble because there were a lot of good candidates around,” Lepine said. “I’m coming with my experience, my passion, and with – I would say – my talent with relationships with people.”
At Friday’s media availability, Lepine spoke of his vision of connecting the alumni, students, and fans together to create a great atmosphere for Thunderbird sporting events.
“We are going to create something. Bring people, bring fans, and the students will come too. We have to work on both sides of the customer at the same time, meaning the students and the fans of the sport coming together.”
Part of creating that atmosphere comes from being a program with a standard of integrity and ethics.
“The way we host events is going to be very important. We’re not going to cheat, we’re going to respect the rules, and we’re going to be fair. The alumni will appreciate that, everybody will appreciate that.”
That shared concept is one of the many reasons Lepin saw UBC as such a good fit.
“We share the same vision on a lot of things, and that’s great. That’s why I feel so comfortable because that’s one of the things I was looking for. To be sure that I’m in the same pattern, same view, and same vision as the senior management, and that’s what we have.”
Lepine will officially join on with UBC Athletics this summer. It’s a big change for Lepine, moving his family all the way to the west coast from Quebec City. But it’s a challenge Lepine seems more than ready for.
“It’s outside of my comfort zone but this is a good challenge. That’s why the very first question I ask is ‘why not?’ and Vancouver is the place. My wife and I fell in love with the city.”
“It’s a great program, great university, great city. I’m so pleased to be [here]. And the most important thing to remember from me is… We’re gonna have fun!”