Georgetown University Rugby Football Club
|Full name||Georgetown University Rugby Football Club|
|Region||Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union|
|Ground(s)||Multi-Sport Field (Capacity: 2,500)|
|Coach(es)||Arno van der Spek|
|Captain(s)||W. Conor Shea|
|League(s)||Potomac Rugby Union|
The Georgetown University Rugby Football Club is the intercollegiate men's rugby union team that represents Georgetown University in the USA Rugby league. They have twice reached the USA Rugby National Tournament Final Four, in 2005 and 2009.
The Georgetown Rugby Football Club (GURFC) was founded in the spring semester of 1967 by former members of the Washington D.C. Rugby Football Club. The founder was a graduate student, Michael Murphy. In the early history of the club, GURFC fielded both an “A” and “B” sides, while occasionally mustering the numbers for a “C” side. In the fall of 1968, GURFC hired its first coach to the program, which only lasted until the Spring. During this time, John Clisham worked as the club president.
In the Fall of 1985, Georgetown Rugby set on a self-directed course in the PRU. Under the coaching / playing leadership of Dave Pegno (and his housemates), the team rallied through a building season that was to be foundational for the long list of championships and accolades to come post 1985. The leadership torch was passed to up and coming underclassman - Jim Thompson from New Zealand, Doug Brown from New Jersey and Tom Gletner from Maryland to guide the team through a rough transitional period. It was known as the protectorate period. Completing a .500 season in 1986 - the team began to gel as a true unit in 1987. After monumental victories over all PRU challengers - GU secured the regular season PRU championship in 1987 and dropped a 13-10 decision to Salisbury State in the league challenge match championship. Building on success - the team began to roll with undefeated season play in 1989 under the guidance of president / captain Doug Brown and PRU all all-star Dan Kirk. The 1990 team featured 5 PRU all-stars and took advantage of Springbok coaching expertise from Heyn van Rooyen and Theo van Wyk.
Georgetown graduate students have played on the Georgetown Law Rugby Football Club since 2005. Current USA Rugby rules prevent graduate students from playing on the official university teams, despite the fact that most collegiate rugby clubs in the nation were started by graduate students. Despite its name, the Georgetown Law RFC is open to all Georgetown graduate programs.
Evolution of the Officers
In the early days of the club, the “officers” consisted of a scrum captain, a backs captain, a president, a VP/Treasurer, and a secretary. The 5 "officers" would determine the A, B, and C side rosters each week. In 1970-1971, John Kelly was president, Jack Schmidt was the (Match) Secretary, Joe Pulosi and Mike (Last Name Unknown) were the captains, and Leonard Natoli, Jr. served as the Vice President/Treasurer. At the time, the Vice President/Treasurer had the best job of all, which was to set up the weekly party. The officers have remained relatively unchanged over time except for the division of the duties of Vice President and Treasurer into the three posts of Treasurer, Vice President, and Social Chair. Along the way, it was deemed necessary to separate the Social activities from the Financial responsibilities.
The Rugby Ball End of the Year Party has been a tradition since the beginning of the club, and remains today as the primary means for selecting Team Officers. Each season, one player would vie for the coveted torch award granted for exceptional performance at away game road trips.
The following rugby players died at a young age:
- Jim Bitonti ('97)
- Kevin Hurley (MSB '00)
- Dan Rigby (MSB '05)
- Robert Leonardo ('92)
The 2001 fall season marked Georgetown's last year in Division I. The 2001 season was a building year for the team with the older players coaching the incoming and promising freshman class.
The spring and fall 2002 seasons marked a new start for Georgetown that began with a last minute victory over Catholic University in the Capitol Cup tournament.
During the fall of 2002, Georgetown moved from Division I to Division II. They subsequently won the Potomac Rugby Union's Division II championship.
The 2004 Fall season was marked with joy and tragedy. On the morning of October 17, 2004, team friend Dan Rigby died in a house fire on Prospect Street in Georgetown. Since 2004, the Club has been a sponsor of the annual Run For Rigby to raise money for off-campus housing safety awareness.
That same season, Georgetown shut out Salisbury University in the PRU championship, avenging their last minute loss to Salisbury in 2003.
The spring 2005 season marked Georgetown's championship run into Final Four of the USA Rugby National Tournament.
During the Spring 2009 season, Georgetown did not participate in the annual Capitol Cup tournament due to a scheduling conflict with the National D2 Playoffs.
Georgetown qualified for the Final Four in 2009 by defeating #1 seed Cal Maritime, 20-17, in the National D2 Elite 8 playoff to advance to the National Final 4 held in Palo Alto, California. This marks the second time in school history that the Hoya Ruggers have reached the Final Four of the USA Rugby National Tournament.
In 2013, the club formally organized a competitive Rugby Sevens side which placed 11th out of 24 teams in the Las Vegas Invitational. In 2014 the sevens team won the annual James River Christmas Sevens tournament in Richmond, VA in December. In February 2015, the side went on to win the Bowl Championship at the Las Vegas Invitational with a record of four wins and two losses.
1st XV 2014-2015
Championships and Titles
- 2009 USA Rugby National Championship Tournament, Division II, Semifinalist
- 2005 USA Rugby National Championship Tournament, Division II, Semifinalist
- 2005 Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union Championship Tournament, Division II, Champions
- 2009 Potomac Rugby Union, Division II, Champions
- 2004 Potomac Rugby Union, Division II, Champions
- 2002 Potomac Rugby Union, Division II, Champions
- 1989 Potomac Rugby Union, Lower Matrix, Champions
- 1987 Potomac Rugby Union, Lower Matrix, Champions
- 2013 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2012 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2011 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2010 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2008 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2007 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2006 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2005 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2004 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2003 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2002 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2001 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2000 Capitol Cup Champions
- 1999 Capitol Cup Champions
- 1998 Capitol Cup Champions
- 1992 Capitol Cup Champions
- 1991 Capitol Cup Champions
- 1990 Capitol Cup Champions
- 2014 Cherry Blossom Tournament Champions
- 2013 Cherry Blossom Tournament Runner-Up
- 2011 Cherry Blossom Tournament Champions
- 2008 Cherry Blossom Tournament Champions
- 2005 Cherry Blossom Tournament Champions
- 2004 New Orleans Mardi Gras Tournament Champions
- The Georgetown Rugby Club's Official Site
- Dan Rigby Memorial Page
- Run for Rigby Official Website
- The Friends of Rigby Foundation
- The Georgetown University Rugby Alumni Association
- Georgetown Law Rugby Football Club's Website