An important page in the storied history of the Université Laval Rouge et Or men’s volleyball club is nearing its end, as head coach Pascal Clément announced his retirement effective the end of the current season after 28-years with the program.
Université Laval announced that long-time assistant coach Gino Brousseau, who joined the Rouge et Or in 2010, will take over the program in 2020-2021, ensuring a smooth transition for the club. Coach Clément, who led his squad to the 1994 and 2013 U SPORTS gold medal, will remain in the fold of the team as an advisor and ambassador.
"At the beginning of my professional career, I dreamed of being an actor. For the past thirty years, you could say that I have been able to experience comedy and drama, and I am fortunate to be able to bow out today like this," said Pascal Clément.
Today’s decision has been in the making since September after Brousseau and Clément met to discuss a potential succession plan. Since a conversation in September, the two have determined that Brousseau is ready to take over the program, while Clément is prepared to give him the keys to the house. "Honestly, I'm a little tired of fighting. With my pitbull mentality, I have taken several hits over the years, and for that, I am a lesser warrior today. I still want to go into battle, but without being at the forefront. I think I can be an excellent advisor," he said.
For Pascal Clément, this transition with Gino Brousseau is the ideal scenario. "It’s a privilege to choose your successor. There is nothing forced; I am doing this with serenity and happiness! Gino is a legend in this sport. On top of being my colleague for the past decade, he is a great friend. I see this as an entrepreneur who hands over the reins of the company to his son or daughter, and I'm delighted with that. "
"Pascal Clément had a historic career. I don't think I will ever see something like that again during my lifetime.”
François Bégin - Chairman of the board of directors of the Rouge et Or volleyball club
An unparalleled contribution to the sport
"Pascal Clément had a historic career. I don't think I will ever see something like that again during my lifetime,” said François Bégin, chairman of the board of directors of the Rouge et Or volleyball club, adding that, “he set the standard of excellence for the Rouge et Or and that will continue. We couldn't have hoped for a better transition. A friend who passes the torch to a friend, a volleyball legend who gives way to another volleyball legend. We are blessed to be able to count on individuals of the calibre of Pascal Clément and Gino Brousseau.”
Université Laval assistant athletic director Jean-Noël Corriveau believes that a legend in Canadian volleyball is about to call it a career. “When we think of volleyball in Quebec and Canada, we think of Pascal Clément. Pascal embodies the values that are dear to the Rouge et Or, namely perseverance, excellence, pride, success and ethics. We cannot thank him enough for his contribution to the program. Although he is leaving his position as head coach, we are happy to know that he will continue to play a role in the future success of the Rouge et Or."
The Rouge et Or will honour Pascal Clément with a pre-game ceremony before the last home game of the regular season on Friday, February 14, when their long-time rivals, the Montreal Carabins visit PEPS.
A career filled with success
Pascal Clément's results speak for themselves. He posted a 533-157 record while posting an impressive .772 win percentage. On two occasions, his team has won the U SPORTS national championship, the first coming in his second season at the helm of the program in 1994, with the most recent coming in front of a home crowd in Quebec City in 2013. The Rouge et Or have won Canadian silver five times, and bronze twice, including last spring at the PEPS. Under his guidance, Laval has won the RSEQ title 23 times in 27 years, including an incredible streak of 12 banners in a row between 2006 and 2017. Pascal Clément has been honoured 17 times as head coach of the year in the Quebec conference and has received the same title three times at the national level.
Pascal Clément began his association with the Rouge et Or volleyball club as a student-athlete in the 1980s, beginning his studies in theatre before earning a Bachelor in physical education in 1991. When injuries ended his playing career, he began coaching in 1986 with the Cégep Limoilou, leading the Titans to six Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) titles and in 10 championship appearances. He was inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame as a coach in 2018. He would leave the college level to become the head coach of the Rouge et Or in 1992.
On the world stage, Pascal participated in three FISU World Summer Games (formerly Universiades) and acted as Chef de Mission for the Canadian Senior National Team during the World League in Poland in 2014. As head coach of the Canadian junior team, he also won the gold medal in the NORCECA qualification tournament in 1998 before finishing fifth at the 1999 World Junior Championships.
Passionate about education and teaching, he is also a lecturer in the Department of Physical Education at Université Laval since 1998. Openly gay, Pascal Clément regularly gives conferences on the fight against homophobia in sport. He has been actively involved with the MIRA Foundation for more than 12 years, being the master of Baba, a dog ambassador for the Foundation. His initiative, along with the help of his student-athletes, has raised more than $25,000 during this period.