Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Pierre Arsenault
School: Mount Allison University
Position: Director of Athletics and Recreation
Seniority: Nine years
Previous job/position: Executive Director, New Brunswick Golf Association
Hometown: Riverview, N.B.
- How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about our job?
I was hired in my position as a result of my background in sport administration. I have a Bachelors degree in Physical Education (from UNB) and a Masters degree in Sport Administration (from the University of Ottawa) and at the time I was hired, I had 12 years experience in the field of sport administration. At the time, Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack Drover was retiring and so I applied for the position and ended up being the successful candidate.
What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to work with our coaches and student-athletes to build programs we can all be proud of and be inspired by. I really enjoy the process of building success.
- Who has had the most influence on your career?
I would say my parents for sure. I had wonderful support from my family growing up and I am extremely grateful for everything they have done for me. My parents taught me how to be honest, how to treat people with respect and how to work hard at whatever I am doing.
- What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
I am very proud of the championships and trips to national events for our programs during my time here at Mount Allison. We have accomplished things no one thought possible like back-to-back AUS football championships in 2013 and 2014 and building our school’s first turf field in 2015. I find it so rewarding when our student athletes prove us right for believing in them.
- How would you define a Mount Allison University student-athlete?
We use 'Mountie Pride' as the definition of our culture and what it means to be a Mounties student athlete.
For me, being a Mountie means we have passion with everything we do, we are relentless in our pursuit of success, we prepare each day with intelligence, we are disciplined in our effort toward goals and when it comes to executing, we all do our jobs.
- What does success look like for the Mount Allison University athletics program?
Mount Allison is a bit of an ‘against all odds’ kind of place because of our size relative to the rest of the U SPORTS members. We embrace that challenge and we see success as having programs that can compete for league championships and that are defined by student-athletes who show academic excellence and who are great citizens in the community.
- What’s the biggest challenge you face in today’s sports world?
I think we are all challenged by having enough resources to get our programs to their optimal state. We simply want to give our Mounties student-athletes the best experience they can possibly have and we keep working to help make sure that happens.
- Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
I would like to see us get to a state where we have 10-15 programs in every one of our sports who can legitimately compete for national championships. The gap amongst the top teams in our sports and the next best tier is wider than it should be and it would be great if we can establish a set of parameters that allows for more programs at the top of our sports.
- If you could sit down for dinner with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach or manager), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
I think that I would choose Wayne Gretzky. He was such a big part of my years growing up in love with the game of hockey. I would enjoy hearing his views on the game.
- What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
I would say that there is something magical to watching student-athletes compete on game day. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by these impressive young men and women who continue to do amazing things on a regular basis. The level of play at the U SPORTS level has become very elite. For a small community like ours, the chance to watch U SPORTS athletes operate day in day can be a special inspiration for the youth in our community.
- What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
Spending time with my family is my favourite thing in the world. My wife Karen and son Jack (13), daughter Jamie (11) and son Ben (9) bring me so much happiness. I enjoy coaching my kids in hockey and watching them fall in love with sport just like I did when I was their age.