Stability within the coaching ranks within the world of post-secondary sports is often a key indicator of program success. The ability of that familiar face at the helm, with the résumé as long as his or her arm, to attract top recruits to the school is undeniable.
In that sense, the Cambrian Golden Shield women’s volleyball team can rest easy, as Dale Beausoleil returns to guide the ladies for a 27th consecutive year of OCAA action. Yet still there is change in the ranks at the Sudbury campus this fall.
For the past 17 years, Beausoleil could steadfastly count on the presence of Michael Margarit at his side. As Margarit noted in an extremely well-worded parting thank you to friends, colleagues, and the many involved with the program, “a one week assignment turned into a 17 year journey.”
That type of bond does not occur without the existence of a great deal of mutual respect. “Words cannot adequately convey the feelings that I have for Coach Beausoleil,” Margarit noted in his address. “Everything that is good about this program begins and ends with him.”
“Dale is one of the few people I have come across that has the unique ability to be coach, father-figure, big brother, and friend all at the same time. His knowledge of volleyball is surpassed only by his kindness, compassion and willingness to see the absolute best in people, even when they don’t necessarily see it in themselves.”
“I will forever be in debt to Dale for the opportunity to sit beside arguably one of the best coaches in the country for the past 17 years. Hopefully I am a better coach as a result, but more importantly a better person.”
These words speak volumes. While there are books and papers galore that try and examine the core factors that help coaches create winning environments, it would be pure folly to suggest that a sincere and authentic care for each and every athlete under their helm is not at or near the top of every list imaginable.
The fact that both Beausoleil and Margarit share that simple and basic value, the root around which all the other key pieces can grow and develop, explains much of the very special relationship these two have shared, one that has benefitted the Cambrian women’s volleyball teams to a degree that few of the remaining Golden Shield squads have come close to matching.
“Family is a word we use a lot with the women’s volleyball program,” Margarit continued. “It is not a cliché. It is one of the guiding principles that we use to make the program the best it can be for our student-athletes, and one of the primary reasons that WVB alumni still remain so connected to our family.”
“There are countless things I am going to miss about being around the WVB family each day. I will miss practice. I will miss the bus trips. I will miss the team meetings. I will miss breaking down video and trying to find a way during the week to beat our opponent on the weekend. I will miss competing with my team. I will miss the grind. I will simply miss absolutely everything about it.”
“There are banners on the wall in the gym and a drawer full of medals at home, but those are not what I will remember the most. It is without a doubt, the athletes. It is the hope that I have made some form of impact on the lives of the young people who have come through our program over the past 17 years, as they have had on mine.”