By Noah Love
David Dubois might not have a long term plan, but he’s getting there.
Dubois is the new program director of sport and recreation at Ryerson, taking over the job this past summer. After 13 years working as the city of Toronto’s recreational manager, he’s walking into a sports program at Ryerson that badly needs a new look.
“Some of our programs have a tradition of not being successful,” Dubois said at the beginning of a meeting-filled Monday morning. “We have to find a way to improve these teams. We want to build a competitive and winning tradition.”
Under Bob Fullerton, the university’s former program director, athletics stagnated. Attendance at home games dwindled each year and many teams were mired in slumps that dragged on season after season.
Dubois thinks that by communicating better with athletes and coaches, he can make a program that everyone is happy with.
In his first two months at Ryerson Dubois quickly established an athletics council that is partially responsible for drawing more students to the Kerr gym for home games. After a promotional run staged by several athletes, over 100 students attended the men’s volleyball home opener, compared to about 30 per game last year.
“I have experience in building communities,” said Dubois who has also taught at a community college in Saskatchewan and coached high school basketball.
“Everywhere I’ve been, it was important to include the people who were offering their services in planning and organization,” he said. “We want Ryerson students and faculty to build a sense of pride around our teams. By getting a few people interested I can see our numbers have already improved.”
In the past, Ryerson teams have had trouble recruiting talented players who are interested in the university’s academics. In 1997 the volleyball team was hurt when two players were suspended due to academic problems. This spring, the basketball team’s star rookies, Sandy Brar and Karlo Villanueva, flunked out.
“We have some work to do in recruiting and supporting our athletes,” Dubois said. “We need faculty support. We need academic sponsorship for our players and we can’t do that on our own.”
Dubois thinks Ryerson should be presented to potential athletes as a place with a unique educational program that will help them after their four years at Ryerson are finished, instead of a launch pad for a pro career.
For now, he is trying to use his management expertise to create a formal plan to revamp sport at Ryerson. “In my first year I want to establish where we’re going to get there, and who we’re going to do it with.”