Rigaud resident has been keen observer of team over past two seasons
New women’s basketball coach Harley Lawrence outside John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.
BY MICHAEL PIASETZKI
Harley Lawrence has spent the last two years following the exploits of the John Abbott Lady Islanders AAA basketball team very closely.
When your daughter is team captain and its unquestionable leader that tends to happen. Stephanie Lawrence was third in league scoring last season with an average of 18.5 points per game and fifth in rebounding with 6.8 boards per game. She was selected to the Quebec Student Sports Federation league first all-star team and was named a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) all-Canadian, and a CCAA academic all-Canadian.
She graduated in May, and is off the University of Massachusetts this fall on a full scholarship. Harley Lawrence will stick around the Lady Islanders though, and this time, he will be doing a lot more than just observing. He will be in its face, trying to implement his stamp on a fresh era as its new head coach, having taken over from Robert Ferguson, who resigned in early May. “There were two reasons why I decided to apply for the job,” said Lawrence, no stranger to coaching or playing the game himself. A former star performer during the late 1970s for the Dawson College Blues, he went on to play university ball for the Bishop’s Gaiters before becoming a successful coach at all levels for the past 25 years, including head coach of the Dawson AAA women’s team from 1995-99. “I love a challenge, and want to implement a winning tradition in the women’s program just like Scott Mawhinney has done with the men. But perhaps more importantly, I want to give players on my team a chance to achieve what my daughter did.”
With the hiring of Lawrence, Abbott has once again turned to a former Dawson coach for help in its varsity basketball program. Mawhinney, who led the AAA men’s Islanders to a bronze medal at nationals this past season, also coached at the downtown campus.