Former Stinger Marilyse Roy-Viau is a Boss

Veteran Women’s Basketball Player Is Now Director of Basketball Operations

Marilyse Roy-Viau is hoping this job catapults her into a long coaching career. Archive Photo Brian Lapuz

After graduating from the leisure science program last year, Marilyse Roy-Viau, affectionately nicknamed Red by teammates, is back at Concordia as the director of basketball operations for the Stingers women’s team.

The former starting forward and team captain met with head coach Tenicha Gittens after last season. She indicated to her that she wanted to continue being involved with the team in a coaching capacity and wanted to remain in the basketball community. Gittens then offered her the position of Director of Basketball Operations.

“She told me she wants to coach so I gave her this opportunity,” said Gittens. “I can put her in a situation where I can give her the opportunity to learn and accumulate experience for when a position as assistant coach becomes open and take advantage of it.”

Her responsibilities include paperwork, logistics, travel accommodations, managing the players, keeping the team on a schedule, and keeping track of statistics accurately. She also does a bit of coaching sometimes, but that isn’t one of her primary roles, yet. The job is a first step in what she hopes can become a career in coaching.

“I’ve never coached at this level before,” said Roy-Viau. “It’s just to get into the system and coaching, so I do a lot of scouting, I do a lot of things on the side, too so I can learn and get better.”

Roy-Viau has a different, flexible full-time job that allows her to come to practices then go back to work. She coaches the College Jean de Brebeuf men’s basketball team.

Gittens says that she can definitely see Roy-Viau coaching in the future and that it’s good to see old players come back, but that she wouldn’t have given her an assistant coach position right off the bat as she isn’t far removed enough from the team yet.

“She has managerial duties but I also give her some coaching responsibilities because in the future she wants to be a coach,” said Gittens. “I gave her this platform to help her out. It’s been good.”

Former teammate, Caroline Task, says that since Roy-Viau was in her fifth year while Task was in her first, she would look to Roy-Viau’s advice.

“It’s not a big change and I’ve always really liked Red so it was an easy fit for her to come right back into the team,” she said.

Gittens likes having Roy-Viau on the staff because she’s close enough to the players that they can lean on her and her experiences and she can relate to them. She can be both in the locker room and on the sidelines with the coaching staff.

“She can ask them questions because they can open up to her more than they would to me as the head coach with certain things,” Gittens said. “In that aspect it’s good to have her on board cause she knows exactly how it feels.”

Gittens also says that the team takes the encouragement from Roy-Viau in the same way they take encouragement from a teammate and that it holds a different weight than the encouragement the coaches give.

“Everybody likes Red. I don’t think there’s anybody who doesn’t like her,” said Gittens. “She’s a sweet, sweet person. She’s positive and encourages them so for her to be in this position now it’s helpful because they value what she says.”

“She’s a dominant player in our conference and one of the best players in Canada.”

Roy-Viau said she misses the team incredibly.

“The first time I was on the bench when I wasn’t playing I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Every day it’s really hard so I even practice with them to stay in shape. I love the game so much so it’s hard for me to let go.”

Roy-Viau hopes to one day be the head coach of a university team, either in Canada or in the United States.

“I always thought she was going to be a coach,” said Task. “Personally she took me under her wing and when I came in and throughout the summer we trained together. When she said she was going to help coach us it wasn’t much of a surprise.”

For now, she just want to keep growing as a person and as a player. Since the basketball program is going so well here at Concordia, according to Roy-Viau, she wants to stay here and learn as much as she can.

“I’m really excited for the year,” she said. “The girls have big hearts and they fight really hard. I’m excited to see where we’re going to end up. I’m pleased with my position; I love being here, I love being around the coaches. I love everything about it.”