BRANDON – Ilarion Bonhomme's basketball journey has taken him across the globe, but his next step will be a brand-new adventure that begins where his career officially started.

The Washington, D.C. product will begin his coaching journey right here in Brandon, 14 years after arriving in the Wheat City, having been named head coach of the Bobcats women's basketball team.

Bonhomme assumes the head coach role, closing the chapter on his playing career while beginning the next in what he hopes will be a long and successful story.

"This means everything to me. An opportunity like this to be part of the University where I grew so much as a player, student, and person is a dream come true," says Bonhomme.

Arriving in the fall of 2010 as a red-shirt import member of the men's basketball team thanks in large part to former Chancellor Henry Champ, who happened to watch a game the then Carodozo High school student played in. A brief conversation after the game started Bonhomme's journey to Brandon, as Champ supported and facilitated the move to the Wheat City.

Bonhomme quickly rose the ranks of the Canada West conference, winning the conference's rookie of the year award in 2011-12 and leading the Bobcats to one-win shy of a playoff appearance.

Bonhomme earned an Arts Degree in Political Science from BU before moving on to the University of Manitoba, where he and the Bisons made it to nationals after a silver medal finish in the Canada West playoffs in his senior season.

He then went on to play professionally for the past six seasons, making stops in Norway, Australia, Sweden, Ukraine, Spain and the United Kingdom, where he has recently been working on a PhD in Philosophy with Leeds Beckett University at the Center for Social Justice in Sport and Society.

Bonhomme's masters thesis was on the pay gap in women's sport while his PhD dissertation will be on barriers female officials face in elite level men's basketball.

As unlikely as Bonhomme's journey has been, the numerous stops that have provided ample opportunity to build his playing and coaching resume have provided a diverse perspective. The return to Brandon is one that will extend beyond the court.

 "We are excited for Ilarion to return to Bobcat Athletics. His experience as a U Sport student-athlete and professional basketball player, along with his coaching experiences have prepared him well to lead the women's basketball program into the future," says BU Athletic Director Russ Paddock.

From Cardozo High to Coach, Bonhomme is fully aware of the responsibilities that lie ahead.

"I am most looking forward to getting in the gym with the team and starting to build our culture and habits. In the short term, I want to connect with the group and put in place our standards on the court, classroom, and community. Over the long term I hope to build a brand of basketball that can consistently compete for championships, bring in high character kids, help players get quality education and go onto great things after their university career." 

Responsibilities will extend beyond the court, another opportunity Bonhomme looks forward to, as he'll be teaching in Brandon University's Bachelor of Physical Education Studies (BPES), hoping to share his passion for academics and sport with students.

"Ilarion comes with a wealth of experience in basketball. Playing both at the U Sports level and playing professionally overseas has given him the skill-set required to make a real change at Brandon University. Beyond his basketball knowledge, he is also a PhD candidate studying gender equity in sport. His advanced knowledge will certainly make an impact to our physical education students. Ilarion is truly a unique individual with a passion for sport and academics. We are all extremely excited about the future," says Dr. Scott Forbes, Chair of the BPES program.

Known for his community ambassador work while a Bobcat, the 32-year old looks forward to re-connecting with the community, not only leading the women's basketball team but continuing to grow the game at the grassroots level.

"The culture must fit the community. We are role models in the community. I believe that teams are like a family, and those relationships are built with time and the right processes. I am officially a Bobcat again and I take great pride in that. My hope is for the team to want to spread that pride with the community."


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