Veilleux returns for Dead River Co. Classic

Members of the University of Maine women's basketball team serve up Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at the Greater Bangor Area Homeless Shelter to Kent Siegfriedt (left) of Bangor and other community members.
Members of the University of Maine women's basketball team serve up Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at the Greater Bangor Area Homeless Shelter to Kent Siegfriedt (left) of Bangor and other community members.
Posted Nov. 25, 2010, at 6:57 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 25, 2010, at 8:38 p.m.
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter executive director Dennis Marble (center) talks with shelter staff member Bill Spence (left) and University of Maine women's basketball coach Cindy Blodgett. Blodgett and members of her team served Thanksgiving dinner to community members at noon Thursday at the shelter.
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter executive director Dennis Marble (center) talks with shelter staff member Bill Spence (left) and University of Maine women's basketball coach Cindy Blodgett. Blodgett and members of her team served Thanksgiving dinner to community members at noon Thursday at the shelter.

Julie Veilleux has done a lot of winning during her basketball career.

She was a star player at Cony High School in Augusta, started for three seasons at the University of Maine and has been a successful assistant coach at Bowdoin College in Brunswick and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Today, Veilleux returns to the stage where she helped UMaine post a 78-41 record from 2000-04 — Alfond Arena in Orono — for the Dead River Co. Classic.

Veilleux is in her third season as assistant coach at Navy, the Black Bears’ opponent in today’s 6 p.m. first-round tourney game. She started her coaching career at Bowdoin under Stefanie Pemper, who retained Veilleux on her staff when she took the Navy job in 2008.

“We were able to draw good teams for the Dead River tournament,” said UMaine coach Cindy Blodgett. “It’s kind of a homecoming for Stefanie Pemper and Julie Veilleux is on her staff. We’re excited to bring Julie back.”

At UMaine, Veilleux was a key member of coach Sharon Versyp’s UMaine teams. The guard/forward helped the Bears win an America East championship and make an NCAA tournament appearance in 2004.

Veilleux graduated from UMaine with a degree in elementary education, then spent a year playing with Athletes in Action. It was Versyp who helped open the door to her coaching career.

Versyp recommended her former player to Pemper when Pemper was searching for an assistant coach.

Veilleux’s duties at Navy include coaching the post players, preparing game plans and scouting reports and helping with recruiting.

Veilleux joined the Bowdoin staff in 2005. With the Polar Bears, she compiled scouting reports, coordinated video and ran the summer strength and conditioning program.

Bowdoin posted a 75-14 overall record during her three years there, including two New England Small College Athletic Conference titles and three trips to the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship, with two appearances in the Elite Eight.

Veilleux and Pemper made the jump to Division I at Navy, taking over prior to the 2008-09 season. The Midshipmen have logged back-to-back winning seasons with a combined 36-30 record thus far.

Prior to UMaine, Veilleux was an all-state performer for coach Paul Vachon at Cony. She helped spark the Rams to the 1998 Class A state championship and, despite an injury-marred senior season, finished with more than 1,000 career points.

In 2009, Veilleux was inducted as a player into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

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