Bowdoin College Men's Rugby

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Bowdoin College Men's Rugby
Founded 1969
League NERFU
Based in Brunswick, ME, USA
Head coach Gary Devoe
Championships NERFU 1991

Bowdoin College Men's Rugby is the men's rugby club of Bowdoin College - founded in 1969 with a combination of students from Bowdoin and men from Portland, ME.

In 1969, an undergrad named John Philipsborn was kicked off the lacrosse team and with the encouragement of the Bowdoin College President Roger Howell, cobbled together a small group of students and men from Portland, ME to learn about a sport that at the time was very foreign to most people at Bowdoin. This group informally existed for a couple years- the first match was against Brown (lost) - but they did beat Dartmouth during the first season. After a few seasons, the Portland players split off to form the Portland Rugby Club.

By the mid 70's rugby at Bowdoin had fizzled out when a student named Tom Gimbel ('76) started it anew. Tom recruited a group of players that formed the organization that we have today. Tom recruited Bowdoin alumni such as Jes Staley, Geoff Rusack and Peter Bernard during the mid-seventies era, and the club's knowledge of rugby was sustained by visiting professors and exchange students. Traditions were developed and passed down from class to class by upper classmen.

In the early 80's, a visiting professor math professor named Rob Curtis helped the team for a few seasons under the leadership of Chris Messerly and Neil Moses.

Women's rugby began in the early 1980s - encouragement and coaching provided by Bowdoin rugger David Weir.

In the mid-80's, a local Maine resident named Brad Osborn informally helped coach the club. In 1985, a (well deserved) suspension rocked the team and Andy Palmer ‘88 and other players recruited Rick Scala to start coaching and providing supervision per the request of then Bowdoin Athletic Director Sid Watson - Scala's first season was the fall of 1986.

Bowdoin Ruggers have been selected to represent the New England Rugby Union,[1] the Northeast Rugby Union[2] as well as the All-American Rugby Team.[citation needed] The team is known for its strengths on the field as well as off.[3]

The Bowdoin Men's Rugby Club won the John Hayes Award in 2007.[4] The John Hayes Award is given annually to one team in the New England Rugby Football Union for sportsmanship.


  1. ^ Feit, Adam. "Men's rugby showcases All-Stars". Bowdoin Orient. Bowdoin College. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Nickerson and Reid Selected for National Squads". Bowdoin College. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Wallace, William N. (1986-05-04). "COLLEGE SPORTS '86: RUGBY; DARTMOUTH RUGBY: SERIOUS, SOCIAL". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  4. ^ Bernfeld, Jeremy. "Bowdoin rugby teams win sportsmanship award". Bowdoin Orient. Bowdoin College. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 

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