The Gee-Gees women's rugby program is proud to welcome Patrick Thompson, a distinguished leader and familiar face in the Ottawa rugby community to their coaching staff.
Thompson joins the Gee-Gees after serving as the head coach of the Carleton Ravens women's rugby program for the past four seasons. In 2018, his Ravens team took a leap forward, posting a program-best 5-2 record, earning Thompson both RSEQ and U SPORTS Coach of the Year honours.
In his new role with the Gee-Gees, Thompson will serve both as an assistant coach with primary focus on the team's attack, but also off the pitch as assistant program manager.
"I'm very excited to be joining the Gee-Gees program," said Thompson. "A big part of what we are doing is develop leaders for tomorrow. Jen Boyd has established a phenomenal program and to be joining that and to play a part in it is quite exciting, it's an honour."
Prior to his time at Carleton, Thompson was the long-time girl's rugby coach at St. Peter High School in Ottawa, where he still teaches. With St. Pete's, he steered the program to significant success at the city level. Thompson has also served as the head coach of the Senior Women's team with the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club.
Thompson and Gee-Gees head coach Jen Boyd have previously worked together coaching Canada's U20 team for a series against the United States in Ottawa in 2017. Now, the pair who have been on opposing sides of many matches, will join again to steer the next chapter of the Gee-Gees program.
"Having Pat join our program is very exciting," said Gee-Gees head coach Jen Boyd. "Tactically his strengths pair up really well with mine, but what I'm most excited about is what he brings to our off-field culture. He's a teacher, so an educator of over 20 years, our leadership development and character education program will only continue to expand for the whole team by having his off-field support."
With the addition of Thompson, the rugby program is committing to not only strengthen the team's on-field abilities, but also provide more essential support in all other aspects of the student-athlete experience.
"Pat brings a lot of unique angles to team and the value of empowering young women is very important to him, because he has two young daughters," said Boyd.
"He and the people he is around model behaviours representative of what he wants his young girls to become. Having someone like that really fills a huge piece for us. He's been working really hard already, but I'm looking forward to getting together as a team with him, he's been really engaged and he's an engaging person, I'm very excited."
From a player's perspective, the team has the opportunity to be guided by two former U SPORTS Coach of the Year winners, both of whom place strong significance on team culture.
"One of the key things Pat brings is a really strong impact on the culture of the team," said third-year front row Anna Dodge. "You can see it what he did at Carleton, they have a pretty good culture over there and he's only going to improve that here. He's already adopted our culture really quickly and I think he's going to have a really positive impact in that sense."
Fellow third-year front row Talia Hennessy also looks forward to the team's growth with Thompson, having seen the type of relationship Boyd and Thompson have already.
"I've had the privilege of seeing Jen and Pat interact and their personalities and their coaching styles really compliment each other well. I think that will be the biggest thing he brings is someone that plays off of Jen really well," she said.
From the tactical perspective, Hennessy also notes how Thompson's addition will help balance the team going forward.
"We're a very defensive oriented team and that's always been our strong suit, now Pat is bringing a big addition in his expertise on attack. I think it is going to really help us up our game even more."
Looking back on his experience with the Ravens, Thompson notes how benefited it was in his growth as a coach.
"My time at Carleton was phenomenal, I learned a lot," he said. "I had the opportunity to work with some amazing student-athletes and some really great coaches. I learned a lot from that experience and working with those people to developing the culture there and helping shape what it is."
Now, looking forward to the team and staff he will be a part of with the Gee-Gees, Thompson is aware of the special situation he enters and what impact he and the rest of the staff will have on the student-athletes.
"The opportunity to work with the people on-staff at the Gee-Gees is unique. I don't think there is any U SPORTS program, not just rugby, that is made up of such outstanding people, who are strong leaders and who are going to do such amazing things working with these student athletes. To join this staff is an incredible opportunity."