With optimism surrounding a return to Canada West play this fall, the University of Lethbridge has announced a new bench boss for the Pronghorns women’s rugby program.
Graeme Moffat becomes the fourth head coach in the program’s 22-year history, replacing Horns athletic director Neil Langevin, who was in charge of women’s rugby for all but two of those seasons.
Langevin will now focus full-time on his role as athletic director. The move was one of the recommendations that came out of the external review of Pronghorns Athletics that was completed over the last year.
“The team really needs a coach who can give their full attention to them,” Langevin said in a statement.
“Graeme’s energetic and collaborative personality, his love of all things rugby coaching and great administration skills will enable him to be a fantastic university varsity rugby coach,” he said.
In his introduction to members of the media on Wednesday, Moffat said he’s excited to make his mark and build on the strong legacy that comes with the program.
“Coaching is about leadership, and leadership is about influence,” Moffat said, “so how can I positively influence the team and start to move in the direction that we want to go?”
Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Moffat said a short introduction to the program last year — alongside Langevin — was enough to sell him on the possibilities moving forward.
“I had a brief stint here in the fall of 2020, supporting Neil as he was making the transition to athletic director, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was instantly drawn to the culture and the people,” he said.
Moffat said fostering a positive culture within the program for his players is what excites him most as a coach.
“I’m a huge believer that girls bond to battle,” he said, “so in the short preparation window that we’ll have, how do we bond and create the best possible culture that we can?
“If we can get the culture right, that will drive the behaviours, and the behaviours will drive the performance, and that will hopefully allow us to build on the legacy.”
Moffat’s role will also include collaboration off the rugby pitch. He’s been tasked with leading the way on a new initiative for Pronghorns Athletics by designing and implementing a coaching development program for all Horn coaches.
“I think it will be a great opportunity to create that coaching community,” he said.
“I always feel that coaches are often on their own; they’re the leader of everything and the fall guy for everything, so how can we create a support mechanism for the coaches within Pronghorns Athletics so they get the opportunity to grow and develop? Because if we’re not growing, how can we expect our players to grow?”
As part of his role, Moffat will be responsible for providing guidance and strategic leadership in multiple areas of high-performance sport, including science, mental performance, and short-term and long-term season planning.
His resumé in rugby has provided him with the tools to do so, most recently serving as the executive director of Rugby Alberta, as well as spending seven years at Rugby Canada as an assistant coach.