The University of Winnipeg Wesmen men’s basketball team kicked off their pre-season early this year with two games in late August against the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits.
Although the results of the games were not complimentary to the Wesmen, (105-53 and 94-52), the team showed promise under the influence of new coach, Mike Raimbault. The Wesmen are looking very different this season, not only with their new coach, but with many new recruits. Only five of the players on this week’s roster played the 2009-10 season.
Raimbault coached the Northern British Columbia Timberwolves (UNBC) in the Canadian College Athletic Association (CCAA) league last year. He had great success with the Timberwolves – his team won the 2009-10 national championship and he was named Coach of the Year for CCAA.
Despite his young age, 28, Raimbault has been coaching at the college and university level for a number of years. Originally from Brandon, Manitoba, he was an assistant coach at Brandon University for the men’s Bobcats under head coach Barnaby Craddock in 2005-06 and 2006-07. In 2007 Raimbault took over as head coach of the Bobcats, and the following year moved out West to coach in the B.C. college league for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, where he was head coach for UNBC.
After his time away, Raimbault is excited about his move to Winnipeg.
“It’s so nice to be back in Manitoba and close to my family,” he said.
As for the season, he is looking forward to coaching in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league (CIS) again, and is ready for the challenge of a new, young team ahead.
“We’re in a big growing phase,” he acknowledged. “But, so far the guys have been extremely committed. They’re a fun group to be around because of their energy and excitement.”
Published in Volume 65, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2010)