Arguably one of the worst kept secrets in U-Sports men’s basketball became official today as York Lions named Nate Philippe as their new Head Coach, replacing Tom Oliveri. Philippe leaves UQAM Citadins after two seasons during which his program advanced to the RSEQ championship game in both seasons. Citadins have also announced that Philippe’s assistant Mario Joseph, a Montreal native and ex-Citadins player under Olga Hrycak will take over for the entire 2017-18 season on an interim basis. Joseph started his then-CIS career at Brandon under Barnaby Craddock.
Philippe returns to York for a second go-round, having been an Assistant Coach for legendary Bob Bain in 2009-10. Although Philippe’s Canadian basketball experience as a player and coach spans Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the Capital Region, he also has meaningful ties to the GTA, having coached at Scarborough West Hill C.I., taking his team to OFSAA “AAA” quarter-finals in 2008-09 and with Grassroots Canada AAU in the same time frame.
After his stint on the York staff, Philippe spent five seasons as an Assistant in NCAA Division 1 beginning at North Dakota where he was part of a Great West conference championship team in 2010-11. Later, Philippe spent two seasons on the staff of Maine Black Bears followed by two seasons at American U. culminating in a Patriot League championship in 2013-14.
U-Sports fans know that Philippe led UQAM to a pair of playoff spots and appearances in the RSEQ championship game in ’15-’16 and ’16-’17. Philippe will hit the ground running looking to put together a new coaching staff and assemble returning pieces to the York lineup that missed the playoffs last season but has at least two transfers coming in plus some returning players making up a decent core in preparation for battling in the difficult OUA East conference.
Philippe is thrilled with the challenge of returning York to prior glory years and expressed his gratitude to the York administration for “giving me the time and confidence in me to turn the program around”. Philippe aims to instill his “staples” which include “defense, rebounding and unselfish play” and added that his immediate goals include “building culture, a strong foundation and recruiting”. As of now, Lions are not scheduled to play any summer games vs. NCAA.