Brandon Chabot

Equinox Staff


Michelle Berthiaume

Sports Editor


Two former student-athletes and alumni recently joined the coaching staffs of the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Keene State College.

Steve Boudreau and Nikki Cote are taking on different roles for the KSC basketball teams this year. Both former players are beginning their coaching careers early by taking on new titles of assistant coaches at KSC.

Cote transferred to KSC her junior year from Eastern Connecticut State University and said she fell in love with Keene’s atmosphere. Cote played as a point guard on the women’s team for two years.

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Steve Boudreau, on the other hand, was a four-year player for the KSC men’s basketball team. Head Coach Robert Colbert said Boudreau was the only three-year captain he’s ever had.

Boudreau said Coach Colbert contacted him in August, asking Boudreau if he would like a coaching position—a great opportunity to get his foot in the door.

“I am familiar with the system, and kind of know how coach likes things done, but I also think I can relate to the players because I just graduated in May, and had just gone through a season,” Boudreau said.

Coach Colbert said, “You’d think he went to school for education because he has a teacher’s approach in terms of little tid-bits and little strategies in ways to teach on the floor, he’s a very confident kid.”

He added, “I feel very confident handing a drill to him and walking away to the other end. He commands a lot of respect. He’s got really neat ideas, he’s got a player’s eye, in that he just played, so he knows how the kids are thinking, or what they’re thinking.”

Boudreau said that in a way, he’s still thinking like a player. Boudreau graduated as a health and safety major, but said coaching was always on his radar.

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Colbert said he had an opening for a coaching position and was looking for a younger guy, a newcomer in the business of coaching. “I like to hire people who want to be coaches for a living, for a professional career, and I’m looking for good, solid people,” Colbert said. “Steve met every one of those criteria. He was the only kid I’ve ever had who was a three year captain, so that speaks volumes about his character,” Colbert said.

He added, “I was very enamored with his enthusiasm for the profession, he already had a lot of contacts in the business from a recruiting standpoint, and again he was close to the program.”

The difference between being a player and an assistant coach was a constraint both Cote and Boudreau said they were nervous about.

Boudreau is focusing on recruiting, according to Coach Robert Colbert. “We’ve had more kids up at this point, than we’ve ever had, for visits and evaluations,” Colbert said.

Colbert added that Boudreau is one of the best coaches he has hired in a long time. He added that Boudreau made an immediate impact.

“When you get a guy like that, they’re sponges. They are eager, enthusiastic, they don’t do things because of the paycheck, they do it because they are trying to learn and gain a skill set, and get as much done as they can, have a positive impact, and he’s done all that, so I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever about this,” Colbert said.

“I work with residential life too, about 20 hours a week, so I’ll do that and then I also have basketball responsibilities. I think it was definitely an adjustment for me, but res-life allows me some flexibility and so does basketball,” Boudreau said.

Former point guard Nikki Cote had a different route to her new coaching job.

She said she knew she was coming back to complete her nutrition major this year, and had a good relationship with Coach Keith Boucher. “I just love the sport too much to not be around it,” Cote said.

KSC’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Keith Boucher said, “She knows the game well, and more importantly she can communicate it. She has a very good report with the student athletes on our team.”

He added, “She’s having a difficult time going from a player to a coach, which is always difficult when you can’t play  anymore. But she’s doing a good job. She’s getting better. She needs to talk more, and as a young coach, often times you don’t, you just watch and observe and learn, but she knows the game, she has a great passion for it, and she has infectious enthusiasm, so that helps out.”

Boucher said the assistant coach is an important role that allows information to pass between players and coaches.

“Your assistant coaches are a conduit between you and the players, and they’re all going to have different relationships with the players, but it’s imperative that they have, because usually the head coach, you are the bad cop and they don’t like you. That’s okay, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, that’s human nature. But your assistant coaches are, for me, they’re the conduits through which information passes back and forth,” Boucher explained.

Boucher said balancing the status as an assistant coach and being a full-time student is difficult.

“She’s doing a little bit of recruiting, she’s going to be breaking down some game tapes, so she’s going to do some scouting, and we will have her on the road so I think that’s part of the deal if you want to do this type of thing,” Boucher said.

Cote said her knowledge of the game has helped her make the transition from player to coach. “Being a point guard, I think we see things a little more, so I think I can give an insight to that, and I think coach might not see everything, so I can help him with that,” Cote said.

She added, “I just think to myself as, I am making them better, and they respect me which is good, so they don’t see me as just yelling at them.”

Cote said she sees herself as a segue between the players and Coach Boucher.

She can get on a personal level with them and be more emotional. But she said she can also take into account what coach wants them to do and translate that to the players.

Cote said she has even participated with the team for a few practices because of the amount of injuries, and athletes’ classes conflicting with practice time.

“Coach calls me a free agent,” Cote said.

Both Coaches Colbert and Boucher said that Boudreau and Cote bring an interesting aspect to the floor that they hope will help the team be successful.


Brandon Chabot can be contacted at


Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at


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