WATERVILLE — Former Cony High and UMaine basketball star Julie Veilleux has been named the new head coach of the Colby women’s basketball team, the school announced in a press release Thursday.
Veilleux is the 11th head coach in program history and will take over a team which has won 46 games over the past two seasons and has made two straight trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“Julie really captivated our search committee with her energy and her presence. She has such a great emotional connection to Colby as her father is an alum of the college and she grew up attending basketball camp on campus,” Colby athletic director Marcella Zalot said.
“She has prepared herself well for this opportunity by gaining incredible experience assisting at Bowdoin and at Navy,” Zalot added. “Julie has been successful everywhere she has been as both a player and a coach. Our women’s basketball program is at a very high level right now and we are excited to go even higher. Julie is the person to take us there. We welcome her home to the great state of Maine with open arms.”
Veilleux was a two-time All-Maine selection at Cony and then played at UMaine where she helped the Black Bears make the NCAA Division I Tournament after winning the America East conference tourney in 2004.
Veilleux was an assistant coach for Stefanie Pemper at Bowdoin College from 2005-08, winning New England Small College Athletic Conference titles in 2006 and 2007 and making the NCAA tourney all three years.
When Pemper was named the head coach at Navy, Veilleux was her first hire as an assistant coach. After just one winning season in the previous 10 years, Navy had three straight winning seasons, won the Patriot League regular season and tournament title in 2011, and made the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time ever in 2011.
“Stef was not only a great mentor to me, but she has become such a wonderful friend,” Veilleux said. “She allowed me to be such a hands-on assistant and that has helped to feel comfortable and confident that I’m ready for this. She led me to pursue this passion and fire I have for this career.”
Veilleux’s father, Gary, was a 1972 graduate of Colby and played a few years under men’s basketball coaching legend Dick Whitmore, who just retired after 40 years with the Mules.
Veilleux played high school basketball under Paul Vachon, helped Cony win a 1998 state title and scored more than 1,000 career points.
She was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 for her high school career accolades.