CIS 50th Anniversary Success Stories (Week 6): Linda Marquis
As part of its 50th Anniversary Celebration, Canadian Interuniversity Sport presents the CIS 50th Anniversary Success Stories series. Each Thursday throughout the 2011-12 season, we will profile two alumni from CIS member institutions who have made outstanding contributions in areas such as sports, business, politics or in the community.
LINDA MARQUIS : A PASSION, A CAREER, A VOCATION
QUEBEC - Linda Marquis took her first step into university sports in 1977 when she joined the ranks of the women’s Rouge et Or basketball team at Laval University. She competed for three seasons, until 1980 when she was named the institution’s Athlete of the Year. She then went on to finish her career as a university player with the McGill University Martlets, while pursuing her master’s degree.
It was also at McGill that the Quebec City native began her coaching career, joining the staff as assistant coach of these same Martlets in 1983-84. She did, however, return to her alma mater in 1985 when she agreed to become head coach of the Rouge et Or, a position she has now held for 27 seasons. She is the second woman in CIS history to have achieved and the fourth among both men and women.
A Human Approach
From the outset of her career, Linda Marquis chose to use the influence she had as a coach to go beyond the mere quest for outstanding sporting achievements. Favouring an approach based on respect for the human side of her student-athletes, she has concentrated more on the person than on performance and athletic excellence.
Her position as head coach at Laval University has allowed her to help hundreds of young women discover and reinforce values and healthy lifestyle habits that will affect their entire lives. Her influence on these student-athletes has gone way beyond the pursuit and development of physical skills and techniques.
Linda has always felt that high-level sport, especially at the university level, is an outstanding vector for motivation and learning of behaviours and values long recognized as the makings of true leaders of society. Discipline, determination, solidarity, team work, tolerance, the ability to learn from one’s mistakes and successes, determination, respect for others and fair-play are all qualities that can be instilled by coaches who care about the overall development of their athletes. Linda Marquis is, no doubt about it, from that particular school of thought.
This having been said, it has never stopped Linda Marquis from reaching for the highest levels of athletic achievement. On the court, her overall record is 472 wins – 259 losses. Her teams win championships and she has held 14 provincial titles and earned silver (2002) and bronze (2003 and 2005) medals in CIS championships.
Have Passion Will Travel
Her passion for coaching has also taken her around the world with various outstanding teams. Her first such adventure occurred in 1989 when she took charge of the Quebec-Canada team that went to the “Jeux de la Francophonie” (Francophone Games) in Morocco. She repeated the experience as assistant coach of the Quebec Team in 1995-1996.
In 1997, she accepted the position of assistant coach with the national team that competed in the Summer Universiade in Italy, then again in the 2001 Universiade in China. In 2005 in Turkey, and in Serbia in 2009, she was again part of the Canadian delegation that took part in this great international get-together.
The team also made sure Linda Marquis would be around again for
the new millennium. In 1998, the Laval coach joined the national
program, which gave her the chance to act as assistant coach of the
national team for the 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003 seasons. The 2000
Olympic Games in Sydney are, without a doubt, one of the highlights
of her career.
The Jeux de la Francophonie also provided two additional international experiences for Linda. In Ottawa, in 2001, and in Nigeria, in 2005, she acted as mentor for young female coaches. As such, she was able to share her knowledge with young female African basketball coaches. She was given the opportunity to relate her experience throughout the years, thus creating strong bonds while working in an outstanding teaching and learning environment.
More recently, in 2006, Linda was assistant coach of the Canadian team that participated in the qualifying championship of the Americas for the U-20 in Mexico. She also led the under-20 national team at the World Championship in Moscow.
An Impressive Honour Roll
Linda Marquis’s reputation is already well established in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, as indicated by the numerous honours she has earned throughout her career.
As early as 1989, the Quebec Basketball Federation named her Coach of the Year. In 1993, the 3M Prize was awarded to her as Canadian Coach of the Year. Linda was selected because of her achievements on the court but also because of her involvement in coaching, of her contribution to the advancement of sports, of her organizational skills and planning, of the progress made by her athletes and her team as a whole, and of the training of her athletes and of her public image.
Her leadership has also been recognized by CIS, both in 2000 and in 2001 when she was named Canadian Coach of the Year. In 2001, she accepted the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, presented to Canadians who have demonstrated exceptional contribution to their community or to their country.
In 2003, the Y Foundation awarded her the prize in the Sports and Wellness category at the Women of Distinction Awards Benefit Evening. This honour is bestowed upon women who, by their daily actions, their strength of character, and their professional and personal paths, have served as role models for young people, inspired others to excel, and contributed to the advancement of women in Quebec society.
Last but not least, at the close of the 2006-2007 season, Linda Marquis became the first recipient of the Jean-Marie De Koninck prize awarded to an individual whose contribution to university sports has proven exceptional through his/her devotion and leadership as a coach at the local, provincial, national and international levels of Canadian university sports.