NATCHITOCHES - After a groundbreaking championship season in 2010, Northwestern State women's tennis coach Patric DuBois is stepping away from his head coaching role and former assistant Luc Godin, on the heels of a conference championship last spring at Drury (Mo.), is taking over as the Lady Demons' head coach.
Director of athletics Greg Burke made the announcement Monday. DuBois has handled the team's head coaching duties for the past four years while serving as director of NSU's Wellness and Recreation Activity Center, a 90,000-square foot, three-story facility which provides wellness programming, intramurals, informal recreation and special events in the heart of the campus throughout the year.
While continuing in charge of the WRAC, which operates outside of the athletics program, DuBois will remain involved with the Lady Demons as a volunteer coach. Burke said the personnel actions are subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana system, which includes Northwestern.
|| Patric DuBois|
DuBois guided Northwestern to its greatest season in school history, a 21-2 campaign last spring culminating with Southland Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and the school's first appearance in the NCAA Team Tournament. Sophomore Martina Rubesova became the first Lady Demon player to be invited and participate in the 64-woman NCAA Singles Championship, and was the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and the All-Louisiana Player of the Year.
Godin, 34, was a graduate assistant under DuBois in 2008-09 and either coached or helped recruit all of the players on last year's championship team -- all who return this year. He spent 2009-10 as head men's coach at Drury (Mo.), guiding a team that finished 17-5 last spring, winning its fourth Great Lakes Valley Conference title in five seasons. The 16th-ranked Panthers lost in the NCAA Division II Round of 16 to fourth-ranked Barry, the eventual national champions.
DuBois stands 17th nationally among women's tennis coaches with 333 wins (333-203) in 17 seasons as a head coach, including a total of nine years (1990-94, 2007-10) with Northwestern. He took the Lady Demons to the 1994 Southland title, then coached at SLC rival Texas-Arlington from 1995-2002, winning 11 more conference titles with the UTA men and women's teams, and guiding five other NCAA Tournament appearances.
The 2010 Lady Demons had the fewest losses in NCAA Division I, tied with Stanford, and were nationally ranked for the first time, going up to No. 64 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Top 75. DuBois was named Southland Conference and Louisiana Coach of the Year. The 2010 season followed two straight third-place finishes in the 12-team conference.
"Culminating with regular season and conference championships, along with an NCAA bid, in his fourth year at the helm, Patric has done a wonderful job of overseeing the Lady Demon tennis program in every aspect," said Burke. "The success of Lady Demon tennis this past spring created a great sense of pride both on campus and in the community and Patric is to be duly recognized for the major role he played in creating that level of enthusiasm."
DuBois ended his UTA coaching duties and returned to Natchitoches to oversee the opening of the WRAC, which serves NSU's student body, faculty, staff, alumni and community, and was not involved with the NSU tennis program for almost three years until taking the head coaching post.
"Although this was a very difficult decision, I feel the timing is right to give up the duties as head tennis coach at NSU. When I first took on these additional duties four years ago, we knew that it would not be an enduring role for me," he said. "I am thankful to (NSU president) Dr. (Randy) Webb, (vice president for external affairs) Mr. (Jerry) Pierce, and our athletic director, Mr. Burke, for this wonderful experience of coaching the Lady Demon tennis team these past four years.
"It is a pleasure being part of this athletic department which is so professionally run from top to bottom. At this time, I look forward to focusing and devoting more time to my position as the director of Wellness and Recreation and certainly having much more time for my family. It's great to still be able to play a role, a much less time-consuming one, to continue working with the tennis team in a supporting role."
Burke was pleased to have a replacement for DuBois that played a key role in setting the stage for last year's success.
"I truly understand and respect Patric's decision, mainly for personal and family reasons, to step aside from his head coaching position. At the same time, NSU is most fortunate to have someone of Luc Godin's ability and, in fact, someone who played a major role in helping build the Lady Demon tennis program to its current status, in line to replace Patric. I am confident that Lady Demon tennis, under Luc's leadership, will continue its upward momentum."
| Lady Demon head coach Luc Godin
DuBois was pleased to be able to hand over the reigns to the program to a trusted assistant and friend.
"I am very confident that Luc Godin will do an outstanding job as the head coach. Luc spent two years as my assistant and certainly played a role in the development of several players on this team. Luc has a great work ethic, integrity, character, and is one of the top young tennis coaches in college tennis," said DuBois. "Luc will be a productive member of the NSU and Natchitoches community and has a good rapport with the outstanding tennis community in Natchitoches. We are very excited to have him back here at NSU."
Godin cited having DuBois as a mentor, and the local tennis community and the city of Natchitoches in general, as keys in his decision to leave a strong program at Drury.
"I am extremely excited to come back to the community of Natchitoches. The tennis program Northwestern State has given us the ingredients to continue to be extremely competitive and successful, and to ensure a great experience first and foremost for the student-athletes," he said.
"The opportunity to come and work with Patric again was a key factor in my decision. The fact that he will be with the program makes a huge difference for me, especially at this early stage of my head coaching career."
Taking over a program with all its players returning from such a remarkable season, with expectations for even more success, is a challenge embraced by Godin and his team.
"We expect to go forward and do more. We're looking to repeat the championships and get back into NCAA postseason play, and we would love to raise the bar even higher, which is a very tall order. They had an extraordinary season," he said. "The girls are really excited about the opportunity they have, and they want to use that energy to bring the program to another level, being a consistent force in the Southland Conference. The girls have set goals for themselves that will leave a legacy for the seniors and a challenge for the returning players to maintain, and they're allowing me to come along for the ride."
Departing Drury was bittersweet for Godin.
"I can only say positive things and send my deep appreciation for the kindness shown and the experience I had at Drury," he said. "They're great people in Springfield, I had great players who worked hard, and it's tough to leave there. But the opportunity to come back to the Division I level, in a rising program, and to return to this community made the decision easier."