University of Maine fans can be fiercely loyal.
Even after the student-athletes have moved on, members of Black Bear Nation keep tabs on their careers — especially if they involve athletics.
There is interesting news this week about two former UMaine women’s basketball standouts, each of whom is taking a different direction in her professional career.
Julie Veilleux of Augusta and Massachusetts native Missy Traversi were teammates at UMaine from 2002-2004. Both went on to become college coaches.
Veilleux spent the last five seasons as the head coach at Division III Colby College in Waterville. However, the former Cony High School star and UMaine starter confirmed Thursday that she is stepping down.
“Yes, it is true that I am leaving Colby to take on something new,” Veilleux said in an email. “I have been assisting at Colby and getting things together for the transition to a new head coach.”
Veilleux, who is going to be working in the private sector, directed the Mules to a 65-60 overall record, including three postseason appearances. Colby reached the NESCAC semifinals in 2012.
She was a key performer on UMaine’s teams from 2000-2004, helping coach Sharon Versyp’s team reach the NCAA tournament as a senior. The guard-forward finished her career with 892 points (7.5 ppg), 555 rebounds and 228 assists.
Veilleux then spent six seasons as an assistant under Stefanie Pemper, three at Bowdoin College in Brunswick and three at the U.S. Naval Academy, a Division I program.
The soft-spoken Veilleux, whose father Gary was a standout both at Cony and at Colby, said she will run two weeks of the Pine Tree 2 Girls camps this summer at Colby.
Traversi took another step forward in her coaching career this week when she was hired as the head coach at Division II Adelphi University in Garden City, New York.
The former UMaine combination guard had spent the last two seasons as the head coach at Division III Wheelock College in Boston, where her teams went 29-22, including an 18-7 record last season en route to a second-place finish in the New England Collegiate Conference.
She began her coaching career as the head coach at Dover-Sherborn High School in Massachusetts from 2008-2010, spent one season at Harvard, then guided the Attleboro High School (Massachusetts) program for three seasons.
Traversi also has owned and operated MT Elite Basketball Training since 2006, running its AAU program that consisted of 12 teams and more than 300 athletes.
Traversi was a productive guard at UMaine from 2002-2005, earning All-America East first-team honors as a senior. Her 1,132 career points rank 15th in program history and she finished with 295 assists.
Upon her graduation, she played two seasons professionally in Sweden.
Thus, Black Bear fans will have the chance to watch Traversi’s continued rise in the coaching world, and can congratulate Veilleux on what may be the end of her coaching career — at least for now.