by Ben Trent
Hasise Dubois has been a UVA offensive constant for the past two years. During head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure, specifically the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Dubois has averaged 50 or more receptions and over 550 yards each year.
While his play on the field has been rock solid for UVA fans, his efforts off the field has taken hold and become a concrete personal brand.
Some may wonder what factors have helped Dubois become who he is? Easy, his mother.
“The biggest motivation for my football career has been my mother, Debbie Gillins,” Dubois said. “She’s been my right-hand man through it all…she’s always been there for me.”
Sit down with Dubois and discover him to be a delight. He is social, bubbly and charismatic. He has the unique ability to lighting up a room. To take it a step further, if you were lucky enough to meet his mother (besides when she is cheering him on from the family section at his games) you would find her cut from a similar cloth. The friendly characteristics passed from mother to son are not where the relationship ends.
Gillins is always in Dubois’ corner.
“Realistically my mom is my best friend,” Dubois said. “I can come to her with anything and she’ll always have some sort of knowledge for me. We may have disagreements on some situations but regardless of the circumstances she always tells me to do what is best for me.”
This passing of knowledge from mother to son has been going on far before Dubois took the field in Orange and Blue. Back when Dubois was in high school, it might come as a surprise, but he played quarterback. He had played quarterback since the young age of nine. When his coaches came to him to switch from throwing to catching, there were some obvious doubts.
“Transitioning from quarterback to receiver in high school was probably the hardest mentally,” Dubois said. “There were a lot of things to the receiver position that I had no clue about besides run and catch the ball. It was a tough transition at the beginning but once it was set in stone, I just set out to be the best receiver I could be.”
As Dubois sought out his new stride, his mother was always trying to decipher his new role.
“At first my mom wasn’t a big fan of me playing receiver at all,” Dubois said. “She was so used to me playing quarterback to the point where she didn’t know how to take the change, but after she saw me play receiver for the first time, she told me just to take the change as a blessing and play as hard as I can.”
Clearly, Dubois did just that and ran with it. Those words his mother told him back in high school clearly still reverberate with his college play. His hard work has paid off. He is trusted on the field. The number eight is a Saturday constant for the Hoos.
Gillins’ words of wisdom, too, have become a constant.
“She motivated me every day and every game with a simple quote, ‘Go out there be safe, play hard, play smart and play your butt off. I Love You,'” Dubois said. “And before every game, still to this day, she makes sure she tells me that. It honestly just helps knowing while I am on the field that whatever I do I am making her proud.”
And Dubois does just that. He takes the field sporting the V-Sabre and his love for his mother fuels his performance.
“Honestly, if you didn’t know my mom, and you were to see us interacting, she could definitely pass as my sister.,” Dubois said.
An accurate statement – their energy is contagious. This has made Dubois a tool for UVA that extends past the white lines and hash marks.
The energy he brings into the locker room on a daily basis can be heard and felt by all the teammates around. His smile on the sideline gives you the feeling that everything is just going to work out for the best. Wahoo fans, players and coaches have Gillins to thank for that.
Their relationship not only benefits them, but all those who get to experience them – together or separate. Their relationship is a prime example of another UVA football standard, ‘FAMILY FIRST, LAST AND ALWAYS’. The principal taught to the players that your family comes above all else and that their love can be the best motivator to do great things on the field. A principle that Dubois has clearly mastered.
“I’m very big on the family aspect I honestly speak to my mom about 4-5 times on a daily basis,” Dubois said. “My mom is my biggest motivator just because all the sacrifices she