Duane John: the job of his dreams

Duane John: the job of his dreams

Last June, Duane John was named the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) Athletic Manager of the Year for 2020. This title recognizes excellence in administration in a college environment. It is awarded to a sports manager who has distinguished himself by his contribution to his establishment during the last school year.

© courtesy of Duane John
Last June, Duane John was named the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) Sports Manager of the Year for 2020. This title recognizes excellence in administration in a college environment. It is awarded to a sports manager who has distinguished himself by his contribution to his establishment during the last school year.

Having felt an interest in human resources management after having abandoned his studies in sports intervention at Laval University, an interest that led him to register for the bachelor’s degree in industrial relations, Duane John now benefits from all the background which he acquired in his university studies but also in football. Responsible for sports at Montmorency College, he finds himself professionally speaking where he wanted to be.

“My dream was to become a sports manager,” admits the former Rouge et Or color-bearer. “I had worked a little in human resources at the end of my career and I really enjoyed my experience. Collège Montmorency was looking for a sports manager. And I hoped to return to settle in the Montreal area. I had the opportunity to apply for the job. I believe that my experience as an athlete and my experience in coaching combined with my degree in industrial relations allowed me to obtain the position.

“Today, I am in particular the sports manager of 50 coaches. And I am fortunate enough to find myself in an environment that I love, namely the sports world. ”

On familiar ground within his establishment, John admits that he is equally so when he finds himself in the great family of the Quebec Student Sport Network. There he meets many faces that he has known during his careers as athletes and coach, especially ex-footballers. Whether it is Steve Alexandre (educational advisor at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal), a former Spartan with whom he has never played but whom he has always admired, the former Rouge et Or Victor Tremblay (sports manager at the CNDF ) or Alexander Fox (coach of the Triades football team at Cégep de Lanaudière), a former opponent. “It seems like the connections between people who have a football background are easier. It’s always nice to be around a table with these people. ”

That we are not mistaken. Despite his athletic roots, John has always worked for all of the Nomads teams. He explains that when he arrived at Cégep Montmorency in 2013, he put his energies into enhancing the entire sports program of his establishment, which includes two basketball teams and two soccer teams in the first division. He explains that his job is to ensure that all Nomadic teams can have everything they need, within the means at his disposal, to allow them to reach their maximum potential.

“There is never someone who came to see me to say: ‘Ah, you benefit from football!’ I would even say that it is more the opposite. There are football people who have come to see me to tell me: “how come we don’t have more?” And I remember a young cross-country lady who, during an end of year gala at the Nomades, came to see me with some of her teammates to thank me because she had the impression that during his time in CEGEP, cross-country had taken up more space. That for me was cool. It was a bit of a successful mission. ”

From player to coach

Having started his football career when he entered CEGEP, John was not too interested in what was happening at the other end of Highway 20 as he defended the colors of the Spartans. And he aspired to follow in the footsteps of ex-teammates and pursue an academic career in the United States. Half-defensive at the time, his route crossed in 2002 that of Marc Fortier, defensive coordinator of the RO, guest coach of defensive backs at the Spartans spring camp.

“I realized that he was a great coach and that it was for a guy like him that I wanted to play in college and learn, because I knew he would allow me to become a better player. And when things didn’t work out on the American side, I decided to join the Rouge et Or. In terms of coaching, life experience, the quality of the coaches, the potential of the team. etc., Laval University surpassed certain American establishments. But if on the one hand it was an easy choice on the other, it wasn’t because I had to leave the house. ”

Joining the Rouge et Or in 2003, John relished the joys of winning the Vanier Cup in his first two campaigns. He added a third in 2006. He mentions that his time in Laval had made him grow enormously. When he arrived with the Rouge et Or, he had lost his bearings. He had to redo them in order to make his new environment comfortable. He also found himself at a higher level where he had to deal with new ways of teaching coming from coaches with different demands than those he had known. “But I was in a great organization and I was able to learn from very good veterans. It was very educational. There are lots of football learnings that I use every day in my life today.

“My time at UL also allowed me to acquire a lot of maturity. When I arrived in Quebec. I only had football in mind. And since football takes up a lot of time in the fall, the effort in my studies was not there. But I was the only one responsible, it was a question of maturity. Enrolled in the bac in my first year, I found myself the following year as a free student. In 2004, I had to question myself and I asked myself what I really wanted to do after my career. It was with Glen’s help and by taking information about the programs that were offered that I saw that I had an interest in resource management. I then had a class with Jean Sexton, an incredible teacher that I had the chance to meet after my studies. It motivated me to continue on the same path. And it was after that that I enrolled in the baccalaureate in industrial relations and that I graduated. ”

His football career ended in 2007, John was not far from the Rouge et Or for long. On the bus bringing the players home after the team’s loss in the Canadian semi-finals, Glen Constantin offered him a job as a coach that made it easy for him to mourn his playing career. However, the transition from footballer to coach presented certain challenges. Like that of leading athletes who barely a few months were teammates and who were still his friends.

“I had this discussion with Justin (Ethier), who was the offensive coordinator. It was clear that I was not going to discipline them. But at the same time, they were good football players. I knew I wouldn’t have anything new to teach them. That I only have a few fixes to make to their game, that these would just be reminders. And in the end everything went well. ”

Promoted offensive coordinator in 2011 following the departure of Marco Iadeluca, the former wide receiver left the team during the 2012 campaign. The following season, he joined with Warren Craney in the York University Lions in as an assistant to the attack coordinator. It was at the end of his one-year contract that he had the opportunity to join the Nomads.

“I am very comfortable in the chair I currently occupy at Cégep Montmorency. But I am relatively still young and I have other dreams and lots of ideas and projects in mind. I’m the type to always question everything in order to improve things. My wish is to see the student sport program in Quebec grow even more and to see what we could put in place so that young people have an even more fun playing sport and that they can live the experience. ultimate. And it is for this reason that I am on the boards of directors of the RSEQ and the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association. ”



During his career with the Rouge et Or, Duane John won three Vanier Cups, in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

© Le Soleil photo library
During his career with the Rouge et Or, Duane John won three Vanier Cups, in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

Q Highlight

R Winning the Vanier Cup in 2006. We lost 2005 in Saskatchewan to the Huskies in the semifinals and returned home a year later to beat them in the grand final.

Q Outstanding performance

R I had a solid performance in the playoffs against the Vert & Or (2005) where I was named offensive and special teams player of the game. Almost every time I touched the ball, either as a wide receiver or on kick returns, I was playing a big game. It was really special what was happening that day. I finished the game with two or three touchdowns and several long comebacks. But every time I put in a big effort, I had to take a break from the bench because I also wasn’t able to catch my breath. The next day, I went to do some tests and that’s when I found out that I had asthma.

Q Outstanding coaches

R Glen Constantin and Justin Ethier. These two coaches at Laval University certainly had a good influence on me.

Q What you miss the most

R Life is simple when you are a football player. We have our routine and our friends. I miss this routine as well as the fellowship between the guys and the pleasure of seeing teammates and friends every day.

Q What you don’t miss

R Pain. Of constantly hurting to the point where in order to stop feeling the pain you have to do certain things differently, I don’t miss that. I still have a little pain in my body. When I don’t feel any pain in a day, it’s like a really beautiful day in my life.

Q In 10 years

R I see myself doing the same job doing, but in a position that would allow me to further extend the impact of sport among young people.

Q Dream

R My wish is to set up a secondary school with a sports and artistic component, allowing students to have a different and enriching experience. The community component remains very present in my home. I would like young people from more difficult backgrounds to be able to study at this school, which would offer enhanced service and a stimulating environment where they could fulfill themselves through sport and the arts. It’s an idea that has been working on me for some time.


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