Anthony Cittadino, Sports Editor
The Utica College track and field team added a strong member to their coaching staff in the fall of 2014, coach James Lemieux. Since his hiring, Lemieux has specialized in all throwing events for the Pioneers. His presence here at UC hasn’t been anything short of spectacular. Every throwing school record, besides the women’s shot put and the men’s weight throw, has been broken. The records that have been broken due to his influence are as followed: men’s shot put (indoor & outdoor), men’s & women’s discus, women’s weight throw, men’s & women’s hammer throw, men’s & women’s hammer throw, men’s & women’s javelin, women’s pentathlon and the women’s heptathlon. His 2016 men’s discus and shot put teams were also ranked in the top 10 on the USTFCCCA National Event Squad Rankings. Lemieux has already accomplished so much here at UC and is only getting started.
Lemieux is originally from Haverhill, Massachusetts which is about 40 minutes north of Boston. While growing up, Lemieux succeeded on the track and the football field. “My middle school had track so I started with shot put and didn’t play football once I got into high school,” Lemieux said. “After my first year on the varsity level, some of my teammates talked me into playing football and it was my first year and never played football before and ended up finishing my high school career playing both.” The two sport athlete rose quickly as he spent his senior year as a captain for both teams. His efforts, both on the track and the gridiron, earned him an extension to his athletic career when he attended UMass Lowell in the fall of 1998. “I played both football and track my freshman year and after my first year, I just focused on track and gave up football.”
At UMass Lowell, Lemieux competed in the shot put, weight throw, hammer throw and the discus. Lemieux succeeded in all events especially the discus as he is still ranked in the top 10 all-time nationally. After his success on the track ended, his love for the sport remained. “About a month after I finished up my NCAA career, an old team mate of mine was one of the coaches at Lowell High School and he needed a throws coach,” Lemieux said. “I was all for it and I started coaching at Lowell in the fall of 2002. I coached girls until 2006 and from 2006 to 2010, I coached both boys and girls.” Lemieux went on to leave Lowell in the summer of 2010 to take a job at Worcester State University as the women’s head coach and the throws coach. Once he was in the market for a full-time track &field coaching position, Utica College was one of the first schools to come across his desk.
Head Coach Eric Parker is more than happy to have Lemieux on board here and gives him high praise as well, “He’s invaluable, the cohesion, everything he brings to the table and not only throws, the camaraderie amongst the whole team, he’s our go-to guy,” Parker said. “He’s our glue, he keeps everyone and everything together. Without him, everything we’re doing right now and the direction we are going wouldn’t be possible.” Not only is Lemieux held high to his coaching staff, his players feel the same way, “Coach Lemieux is truly important to our team because he is the face of every thrower who plans to take his advice to a whole other level,” said junior thrower, Jude Manford. “His motivation keeps us motivated and helps us believe we can throw far and do well as a team.”
Lemieux has had an outstanding career so far and has the resume for it which includes some of the highest accolades as followed: IAAF Level 5-Throws, With Distance, USATF Level 3-Throws and USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach. His IAAF Level 5 and USATF Level 3 certification are both the highest levels of certification in track and field both nationally and internationally. “My time at UC has been great. We started from having to practice on the basketball court and then we built the dome so having this facility makes our jobs a whole lot easier,” Lemieux said. Coach Lemieux has taken this team to new heights since he began here three years ago. This program has accomplished so much so far and their coaching staff is gearing up for a bright future as well.