Duane John of Collège Montmorency has been named the 2020 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Athletic Director of the Year.
The CCAA award recognizes administrative excellence within the campus or college community environment. This award recognizes an Athletic Director who has made a significant contribution to their institution over the past academic year.
Over the past few years, John has given his heart and soul to the development of collegiate sport with the Nomades de Montmorency, on the provincial level through his extensive involvement with the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and nationally through his work with the CCAA.
“In addition to his leadership at Montmorency, Duane has shown commitment to advancing sport within the RSEQ and CCAA in various committee roles,” said Brittany Tierney, CCAA VP Sport Development. “Dedicated to the development of his staff and student-athletes, Duane is respected by his colleagues across the country, and is noted for his continued commitment to bettering the student-athlete experience in sport.”
John currently serves as a Director at the CCAA table and sits on the CCAA Basketball Program Committee as the RSEQ Men’s & Women’s Basketball Convenor. In addition, he serves on the RSEQ Executive and is the director representing the collegiate sector on the RSEQ’s Board of Directors.
At the provincial level, John has implemented training sessions for athletic directors with several panelists to provide continuous professional development for his colleagues. He has also implemented best practice sharing sessions during sectoral meetings in Quebec.
“Duane is an Athletic Director who is easy to talk to and ask for advice,” said Cégep de Sainte-Foy Athletic Director Cynthia Côté-Beaupré, who submitted John’s nomination for the prestigious CCAA award. “He cares about the student-athletes, always prioritizes them and is constantly looking for new ways to improve the league and promote our student athletes both in Quebec and across Canada.”
At Montmorency, John and his team recently hosted the incredibly successful 2018 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship as well as the 2019 RSEQ Soccer Championships. The institution has also recently added new intercollegiate teams (flag football, badminton and golf) and he has launched a new Cross-Country Running competition – The Nomades Invitational.
John has achieved remarkable success at Montmorency in engaging current, past and even future students.
The Nomades event engagement project was created to increase the current student-athletes’ sense of belonging to the program and strengthen their connection with other teams. Important competition dates are selected, and student-athletes from other teams are asked to come cheer on fellow Nomades.
This season, John started hosting events for Montmorency alumni so they could spend time with the new generation of student-athletes. Past players received complimentary season passes so they could watch games with their family and reignite their passion for sport.
The ‘Cercle des PARRAIN’ was also created. This is a closed group for current Nomades, alumni and partners who want to support student-athletes. Its aim is to contribute to the Nomades experience in various ways. The term PARRAIN is an acronym for: Partenaires et [Partners and] Anciens [alumni] Réunis [gathered to] Redonnant [give back] Aux [to] Initiatives [Nomades] Nomades [initiatives].
The Cercle’s members can support the Nomades in various ways: Financial support, exchange of services, networking, visibility, mentoring, personal development, academic success, career guidance, job/internship opportunities or any other initiatives contributing to the success and development of student-athletes.
Finally, John has organized ‘Expérience Nomades’ days, where the goal is to promote sport in schools and enhance the experience of elementary school students in the Laval region. School groups come to Montmorency to take part in several workshops, which are hosted by Nomades student-athletes and coaches. They include skill, strength and conditioning stations as well as a conference about academic and sport perseverance. Later in the day, the students get to experience a Nomades game.
“Through his leadership, drive and creativity, Duane has managed to build a strong sense of connectedness between the Nomades and the rest of Montmorency’s community,” said Olivier Simard, Executive Director at Montmorency. “His extensive understanding of his environment allows him to keep innovating.”
John is the fourth Athletic Director from the RSEQ to receive the honour, which has been awarded annually since 2000. He joins Vince Amato (2014) and CCAA Hall of Famers John Davidson (2006) and Glenn Ruiter (2000) as RSEQ recipients of the prestigious CCAA Athletic Director of the Year honour.