Meet Justin Serresse, Laurier’s new basketball coach

Photo by Marco Pedri
Photo by Marco Pedri

The end of last season also marked the end of an era for the Laurier men’s basketball program, as long-time coach Peter Campbell celebrated his retirement.

An extensive search conducted by the department of athletics led to the announcement that Justin Serresse would be Campbell’s successor in early May, becoming the tenth coach in the 53-year history of the program.

At only 29-years-old, Serresse, a native of France, is undoubtedly one of the more youthful head coaches in the CIS, but this is certainly not a testament to his wealth of experience.

Prior to Laurier, Serresse served as the lead assistant coach to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, under the tutelage of former CIS Coach of the Year, James Derouin. As an assistant with Ottawa, Serresse guided the team to four OUA medals and three CIS medals, including a narrow single-point victory in the 2014 Wilson Cup final against the Carleton Ravens.

Serresse believes that this success is on its way for the Golden Hawks as well. Despite facing the challenge of a young and inexperienced team in his first year at the helm, he is confident that Laurier will soon be competitive with the top teams in the nation.

“The goal is obviously to get another strong recruiting class next year and then take that team and become a strong contender in the OUA,” said Serresse.

“And within the next three years, hopefully we make it to the final-four in [CIS] Nationals. That would be the goal.”

With lofty goals on the horizon, Coach Serresse is looking to put the proper groundwork in place this season, taking inspiration from his coaching idol, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.

“I’ve always liked the way that [The Spurs] build around their system,” he said. “Their system changed a little bit as they got older, or younger, or different, but the ground work was always there. The foundation was always there.”

Serresse hopes to cement a foundation into his young squad this season in preparation for the years ahead.

“The overall goal is really to learn how to compete on the regular,” remarked Serresse, outlining his expectations for this season.

“I think we have a young team that gets down on themselves if things don’t go well. But if things do go well, they’re shown that they are capable of competing with a lot of teams.”

As his first season as head coach slowly gets under way, Serresse knows that his leadership both on and off the court will be extremely important in the future success of his young squad.

“Trying to keep them calm is definitely a goal of mine. But at the same time, they have to have that sense of urgency.”

“If they play hard and follow the game plan, there is no reason we shouldn’t be in a game with anyone in the country. If we play the right way and do what we’re supposed to do, we should be able to compete with anybody.”

With the era of Serresse just beginning, there seems to be little doubt that under his guidance, the Golden Hawks will rise to meet their goals of becoming one of the top programs in the province and eventually the nation.

Photo by Marco Pedri
Photo by Marco Pedri

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