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Photo Courtesy of Dwayne Gareau. Coach Dwayne Gareau, top left, poses with the St. Mary Marauders girls' basketball team after a 2017 tournament win in Swift Current.

Versatility important for Gareau

Dwayne Gareau's (BSKI’04, BEd’05, MEDUC’17) involvement in sports has come full circle.

After suiting up for the St. Mary Marauders for a number of different teams as a student, the Prince Albert product has been coaching programs at the school since he became a teacher there in 2004.

"You still have those competitive juices but you have to find that balance at times," said Gareau (BSKI’04, BEd’05, MEDUC’17), who has been on the coaching staff for the basketball, footbal and soccer teams at St. Mary. "There's times where you are more nervous as a coach than when you were as a player, as you have less control of what's going on out there, he said in an interview with the PA Herald.

"I love coaching and I've been fortunate to help in multiple sports. It's been really neat to see how much sports has progressed over the years at the high school level and here in Prince Albert."

Gareau's athletic achievements earned him a spot in this year's Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame, where he was inducted into the athlete category.

The 2020 class was to have been honoured at a ceremony in May, but the banquet has been pushed back until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I never got into sports to win individual awards," Gareau said. "With that said, to be selected by the Hall of Fame and to know that someone put the time to put my name forward as a deserving candidate is a real nice feeling."

After starting his athletic career in hockey and soccer, Gareau was very busy through high school as he played basketball, soccer, track and field and volleyball at St. Mary.

I'm a big supporter of athletes playing multiple sports as I was able to learn a lot of valuable traits from each one as I grew up," Gareau said.

"When I was in high school, all of my coaches were understanding in making sure that they put the best interests of the athletes first ahead of team success. As a student-athlete, it was about finding the balance between the sports I was in and making sure I was able to do other things at school."

Gareau received the St. Mary male athlete of the year award in 1997 after helping the senior boys' volleyball team win a provincial title, captaining the senior boys' basketball team that reached the 5A Hoopla semifinals and earning a bronze medal in the senior boys' long jump event at the track and field provincials.

"It was obviously great to be part of a provincial championship team with the volleyball program, but the season our basketball team had and the noise that we made at Hoopla really stands out for me," Gareau said. "That was our first year back in the same loop with the schools from Regina and Saskatoon and we really caught those teams by surprise.

"The track and field championships were also a highlight as that was my last hurrah in high school sports with the way the calendar works. To be able to win a medal there was a nice way to finish things out at St. Mary."

During that time, Gareau was also busy in soccer as he was in the midfield for Saskatchewan's entry at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Man. and would then join the Saskatchewan Huskies program after graduating from St. Mary.

"My first real breaks came in soccer as I had the chance to go to the West Coast with the Under-14 national team,' Gareau said.

"In the back of my mind, I knew soccer was the sport I would be leaning towards once I left high school. I had some other options but the Huskies has a heads-up over everyone else, especially with how close it is to Prince Albert."

After becoming the team captain and earning Canada West all-star honours during his final season with the Huskies, Gareau would join the Calgary Storm of the United Soccer League in 2003.

"It was a different feel while playing for the Storm," Gareau said. "That was the first time where people were paying a decent amount of money to watch you play, so there was that feeling in the back of your head that you better perform."

"The chance to play in that league was really cool and I was able to play in a lot of exciting places like Seattle and Montreal."

He would then go on to play for the HUSA Soccer team, which has been a long-time power in provincial men's play and would become the first senior men's side to win a national title in 2011.

"That was the icing on the cake," Gareau said. "Those guys have been going at it for a long time and to be able to win that national title with a great group of guys was very special."

Article orginally published at https://paherald.sk.ca.

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