USA Rugby

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USA Rugby
Association crest
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1975
WR affiliation 1987
Chairman Kevin Roberts
President Nigel Melville
Men's coach Mike Tolkin
Sevens coach Mike Friday

USA Rugby is the national governing body for the sport of rugby union in the United States. USA Rugby states its role as "the national governing body charged with achieving and maintaining high levels of quality in all aspects of rugby."[1] USA Rugby is responsible for the promotion and development of the sport in the US and promotion of US international participation.[2] USA Rugby is a member of World Rugby (WR) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

USA Rugby has over 115,000 members, the largest segment being college rugby with over 32,000 members.[3] USA Rugby oversees 1,200 high school teams, 900 college teams, 700 senior club teams, and 400 youth teams.[4] USA Rugby administers all United States national teams: senior men's and women's teams, sevens teams for both men and women, and under-20 national teams for both sexes. The organization also sponsors college rugby for both sexes, although since the 2010–11 academic year the NCAA has designated women's rugby an emerging varsity sport. Rugby Super League is organized and sanctioned by USA Rugby as the Premier Level of Men's Club competition in the USA.

Rugby union in the United States is divided into Geographical Unions: Capital, Carolinas, Empire, Eastern Penn, Florida, Mid-America, New England, Northern California, Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Texas and True South.[5] The headquarters for USA Rugby are now located in Boulder, Colorado.

Recent Achievements[edit]

Governance and Leadership[edit]

USA Rugby is governed by its Board of Directors and its Congress. The Board is composed of 9 members: 6 independent directors, 2 international athletes, and 1 representative from USA Rugby's Congress. Board members are:[9]

  • Kevin Roberts (Chairman)
  • Bob Latham (Vice Chair)
  • Will Chang (Director)
  • Chad Keck (Director)
  • Peter Seccia (Director)
  • Rob King (Director)
  • Gary Heavner (Congress Rep)
  • Beth Black (International athlete)
  • Brian McClenahan (International athlete)

The Congress is composed of 27 members: 3 members from each of the 7 Territorial Unions, and 6 international athletes.[10]

Nigel Melville, former England captain, has been CEO and President of Operations of USA Rugby since October 11, 2006. One of Melville's goals at the time of his hiring was to help rugby along the path to professionalism in the US, including creating a Super 12 competition with 4 teams each from the US, Canada, and Argentina.[11]

Mike Tolkin is the Head Coach of the men's national team.[12] Matt Hawkins has been the head coach of the men's national sevens team since August 1, 2013.[13]

Peter Steinberg is the Women's Eagles Head Coach, and Ric Suggit is the head coach of the Women's Sevens team.

International Representation[edit]

USA Rugby became a member of the International Rugby Football Board in 1987. The worldwide body would become the International Rugby Board (IRB) in 1998 and World Rugby in 2014. USA Rugby does not hold a vote on WR's 28 member Executive Council—the majority of votes are held by the 8 founding nations—although NACRA members collectively hold one vote on the Executive Council.[14] In December 2011, for the first time, USA Rugby placed a representative on the 10-man IRB Executive Committee. Bob Latham, in his role as chair of NACRA, represents NACRA on the Executive Committee.[15]

USA Rugby is a member of the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA), one of the 6 regional unions that comprise WR. With over 80,000 registered rugby players, USA Rugby is the largest rugby member in NACRA.[16]

USA Rugby also has relationships with international multi-sport organizations. USA Rugby is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and interacts with the International Olympic Committee. USA Rugby also interacts with the Pan American Sport Organization, and rugby has been a sport at the Pan Am Games since 2011.


USA Rugby generally earns between $6 million to $8 million in annual revenues, with the majority of the revenue coming from (1) membership dues, (2) grants, and (3) sponsorship. Their principal expenses are (1) High Performance, (2) Men's National Team, and (3) Marketing and Fundraising.[17] In 2010, USA Rugby paid over $200,000 each to its CEO Nigel Melville and its then Head Coach Eddie O'Sullivan.[18] As of 2012, Nigel Melville's compensation was $250,000.[19]

USA Rugby annual revenues are below, along with the components that generated the majority of revenue:[20]

Year Total Revenue Member
Grants Sponsors Event
International comparisons
2013[21] $12.2m $4.3m $1.7m $1.9m $1.8m 2013 annual reported revenues were 62m Euros for Ireland, 61m GBP for Wales and 39m GBP for Scotland.
2012[22] $10.2m $4.3m $1.7m $1.6m $1.1m Annual reported revenue for the 2012-13 year were 61m GBP for Wales, 54m GBP for New Zealand, and 39m GBP for Scotland.[23]
2011[24] $7.5m $3.2m $1.7m $1.5m $0.2m Annual reported revenue for 2011 were C$ 8.9m for Canada, and 38m GBP for Scotland for the 2011-12 year.[25]
2010[26] $6.4m $2.8m $1.4m $1.0m $0.2m
2009[27] $8.1m $2.7m $1.3m $2.4m $0.8m
2008[28] $8.0m $2.0m $1.4m $2.7m $0.9m
2007[29] $6.7m $2.2m $1.7m $0.9m $1.0m
2006[30] $5.3m $2.0m $1.3m $0.2m $0.7m


  • Grants come mainly from the International Rugby Board and from the United States Olympic Committee.


The U.S. men's national team, the Eagles, won the Gold Medal in Olympic rugby in 1920 and 1924. After that time, rugby in the U.S. stagnated while continuing to grow in other parts of the world.

Beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1970s, the sport of rugby union enjoyed a renaissance in the USA. This created the need for a national governing body to represent the USA. In 1975 four territorial organizations (Pacific Coast, West, Midwest and East) gathered in Chicago, Illinois to form the United States of America Rugby Football Union (now known as USA Rugby).

In 1993, the Southern California RFU, a local area union of the Pacific Coast RFU, applied to become a separate territory. This was an impetus for others around the country to do the same, changing the make-up of USA Rugby, which now has seven territories (Pacific, Southern California, West, Midwest, South, Northeastern, and Mid-Atlantic).

USA Rugby lobbied for several years for a stop on the IRB Sevens World Series, and finally was awarded the annual USA Sevens tournament beginning in 2004. The Home Depot Center, now known as StubHub Center, in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California was the venue for the initial USA Sevens tournaments. In the summer of 2006, the tournament was moved to Petco Park in San Diego. Since 2010, the tournament has been held every year at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

USA Rugby is a Founding Sports Partner of the Sports Museum of America, joining more than 50 other single-sport Halls of Fame, national governing bodies, museums and other organizations across North America, to richly celebrate the history, grandeur and significance of sports in American culture. Opened in New York City on May 7, 2008, the Sports Museum of America showcases USA Rugby in its Hall of Halls Gallery, in return for their support of the creation of the Nation's first all-sports museum experience.

The rich history spanning 135 years of American rugby has been compiled in the documentary, A Giant Awakens: the Rise of American Rugby.

National Teams: The Eagles[edit]

USA Rugby is responsible for organizing the various US national teams:

Club Competitions[edit]

Rugby Super League, organized and sanctioned by USA Rugby, was the premier level of men's club competition in the USA.[31] Founded in 1996, the competition was created to provide a high level, national annual rugby competition in the United States. The competition is now defunct since 2011-2012. [32] Following the demise of the Super League, the Pacific Rugby Premiership was formed in 2013, and began play in 2014 as the top level of men's club competition in the U.S.

College Rugby[edit]

Main article: College rugby

The Collegiate Rugby Championship is a rugby sevens competition that has been held every year in June since 2010.[33] The tournament is the highest profile college rugby tournament in the US, and is broadcast live on NBC every year.

World Rugby Hall of Fame[edit]

The following have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame:

Inductee Year
1920 U.S. Olympic rugby team 2012 Won the gold medal.
1924 U.S. Olympic rugby team 2012 Won the gold medal.
Patty Jervey 2014 Played in five Women's World Cups.


USA Rugby oversees the coaching of the game. USA Rugby requires coaches to register and complete a certification course.

Geographical Unions[edit]

USA Rugby organizes registered rugby teams into twelve Geographical Unions. Each of these GU's are split in turn into Local Area Unions and State Based Rugby Organizations.[34]

The current Geographical Unions are:

The following contiguous states are not currently covered by a geographic union:

  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • In addition, Western Pennsylvania is not covered by a geographic union.

Past leaders[edit]

Elected Governance history[edit]

Election Date President Vice-President Treasurer Secretary
June 1975 Victor Hilarov Richard Moneymaker Gail Tennant Edmond Lee
June 1977 Victor Hilarov Richard Moneymaker Gail Tennant Edmond Lee
June 1979 Richard Moneymaker Fritz Grunebaum David Chambers Vacant
June 1981 David Chambers Fritz Grunebaum Joe Reagan Keith Seaber
June 1983 Robert Watkins Keith Seaber Terry Fleener Robert Jones
June 1985[35] Robert Watkins Keith Seaber Terry Fleener Tom Selfridge (resigned summer of 86, and not replaced)[36]
June 1987[37] Terry Fleener Bill McEnteer Edward Kane Dick Elliot (replaced by Ian Nixon by Dec 87[38])
June 1989 Robert Watkins W.T. Haffner Brad Sharp Ian Nixon
June 1991 Ian Nixon W.T. Haffner Bill Podewils Gene Roberts
November 1992[39] Ian Nixon Randy Stainer Anne Barry W.T. Haffner (resigned June 94; replaced by Jami Jordan)
November 1994[40] John D’Amico Randy Stainer Anne Barry Jami Jordan

In June 87, the position of Chairman of the Board was added to the Executive Committee, and Bob Watkins was named to that position.[41] Effective June 89, that position was retitled Post of Past President, and remained an appointed post until the position was dropped in 1996.

Effective January 1996, an Executive Vice President was added.

Election Date President Executive Vice-President Vice-President Treasurer Secretary
January 1996[42] Gene Roberts Tony Skillbeck Neal Brendel Anne Barry Reyn Kinzey
January 1998[43] Anne Barry Neal Brendel Tristan Lewis Barbara Fugate Pat O’Connor

Effective March 2000, the Vice President was replaced with Athlete Vice President.

Election Date President Executive Vice-President Athlete Vice-President Treasurer Secretary
March 2000[44] Anne Barry Neal Brendel Mary Dixey Fred Roedel III Pat O’Connor
March 2002[45] Neal Brendel Robert Latham Jen Crawford Fred Roedel III Pat O’Connor

Effective April 2004, the President title was replace with Chairman, and an USARRA Representative was added.

Election Date Chairman Vice Chairman Athlete Vice Chairman Treasurer Secretary USARRA Rep
April 2004[46] Neal Brendel Robert Latham Don James Fred Roedel III David Pelton Buzz McClain
March 2006[47] Robert Latham Frank Merrill Alex Magelby Thomas Schmidt David Pelton John McConnell

Effective July 14, 2006 the Governance was changed to a Model with a Board of Directors nominated and approved by a Congress.[48]

National Office[edit]

The governing body of USA Rugby established a national office, and opened it on June 3, 1988.[49] The office has been headed by:

Name Title Start Date End Date
Kirk Miles Executive Director May 2, 1988[50] December 20, 1989[51]
Roger Neppl Executive Director May 1, 1995[52] September 6, 1995[53]
Paul Montville Executive Director November 24, 1997[54] April 1999[55]
Terry Fleener Interim Director April 1999[56] June 21, 1999
Mark Rudolph Executive Director June 21, 1999[57] November 9, 2001
Dean Hahn November 9, 2001
Doug Arnot CEO December 1, 2002[58] July 14, 2006[59]
Steve Griffiths
Nigel Melville CEO and President of Rugby Operations October 11, 2006 present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USA Rugby, 2010 Audited Financial Statements,[Application]\\Structure\\Content\\Brand%20Resource%20Center\\Content\\Home\\20907F3F-1296-66EA-DD8E-5E2AF35B49C0\\21D94194-12C3-6D38-DF2C-6844DCDD2CBETemplate:View:EditLiveContentTemplate:Tab:View
  2. ^ USA Rugby Football Union, Consolidated Financial Statements, December 31, 2010
  3. ^ USA Rugby, 2010-2011 Membership Data,
  4. ^ USA Rugby by the numbers, Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "USA Club Rugby: Geographical Unions". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  6. ^ Universal Sports, USA Rugby named Olympic Sport member of USOC, September 27, 2010,
  7. ^ IRB Awards, Thierry Dusautoir IRB Player of the Year, October 24, 2011,
  8. ^
  9. ^ USA Rugby, Governance,
  10. ^ USA Rugby, Governance,
  11. ^ Guardian, Nigel Melville on his American challenge, October 12, 2006,
  12. ^ USA Rugby, Men's National Teams,[Application]\\Structure\\Content\\Brand%20Resource%20Center\\Content\\Home\\20907F3F-1296-67BD-B97F-842B448A46E7\\23181D59-134B-5319-F060-CE40C1E783BA\\20907F3F-129A-9F7E-0EE8-58746527276FTemplate:View:EditLiveContentTemplate:Tab:View
  13. ^
  14. ^ International Rugby Board
  15. ^, IRB vote propels american to top committee, December 14, 2011,
  16. ^
  17. ^ USA Rugby, 2010 Audited Financial Statements,[Application]\\Structure\\Content\\Brand%20Resource%20Center\\Content\\Home\\20907F3F-1296-66EA-DD8E-5E2AF35B49C0\\21D94194-12C3-6D38-DF2C-6844DCDD2CBETemplate:View:EditLiveContentTemplate:Tab:View
  18. ^ USA Rugby, 2010 Audited Financial Statements,[Application]\\Structure\\Content\\Brand%20Resource%20Center\\Content\\Home\\20907F3F-1296-66EA-DD8E-5E2AF35B49C0\\21D94194-12C3-6D38-DF2C-6844DCDD2CBETemplate:View:EditLiveContentTemplate:Tab:View
  19. ^ US Rugby 2012 Form 990
  20. ^ USA Rugby Financial Statements,
  21. ^ USA Rugby 2013 Audited Financial Statements
  22. ^ USA Rugby 2012 Audited Financial Statements
  23. ^ ESPN scrum, RFU posts record £153m revenue, November 15, 2013,
  24. ^ USA Rugby 2011 Financial Statements
  25. ^ Scottish Rugby Annual Report 2011/12.
  26. ^
  27. ^ USA Rugby 2009 Financial Statements
  28. ^ USA Rugby 2008 Financial Statements
  29. ^ USA Rugby 2007 Financial Statements
  30. ^ USA Rugby 2006 and 2007 Financial Statements
  31. ^ U.S. Rugby Super League, About RSL,
  32. ^ U.S. Rugby Super League, History,
  33. ^, PPL Park to host rugby college championships, November 10, 2010,
  34. ^ "USA Club Rugby: Geographical Unions". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  35. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol 12; No. July 5, 1986
  36. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol 13, No. March 2, 1987 and March 87 issue of The Eagle (USARFU publication)
  37. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol 13; No July 5/August 1986
  38. ^ December 87 issue of The Eagle (USARFU publication)
  39. ^ November 92 AGM Rugby Magazine Vol 18, No. 11; 21 Dec 92
  40. ^ AGM 11 – 13 Nov 94; Colorado Springs, CO as reported in Rugby Magazine Vol 20, No 11; 19 Dec 94
  41. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol 13; No July 5/August 1986
  42. ^ AGM 6 Jan 96 in Atlanta GA as reported in Rugby Magazine Vol 22, No. 1; Feb 96
  43. ^ 17 Jan 88 AGM at Atlanta, GA as reported in Rugby Magazine Vol. 24 No. 1; 30 Jan 98
  44. ^ March 3–5, 2000 Board meeting reported by Rugby Magazine Vol. 26. No.4; April 28, 2000
  45. ^ USA Rugby Official Minutes from March 1–2, 2002 AGM at New Orleans, LA
  46. ^ USA Rugby Official Minutes from April 2–3, 2004 meeting in Philadelphia, PA
  47. ^ USA Rugby Official Minutes from March 3–4 April 2–3, 2006 meeting in
  48. ^ Official Minutes USA Rugby Board Meeting July 14, 2006
  49. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol 14; No. 4 April 88
  50. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol 14; No. 4 April 88
  51. ^ Rugby magazine Vol 16. No. 1; 22 Jan 90
  52. ^ Rugby Union Magazine Vol 3 no. 3; July/Aug 95
  53. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol. 21 no. 8; 18 Sep 95
  54. ^ USA Rugby Touchline - Vol 6, Iss 1 Spring 98
  55. ^ USA Rugby Touchline - Vol 7, Iss 3, Spring 99
  56. ^ Rugby Magazine Vol. 25, No. 3; 15 April 99
  57. ^ Rugby magazine Vol. 25; No. 6; 17 July 99
  58. ^ Rugby Magazine - Vol 28, No. 11; December 2002
  59. ^ Red Terror, Doug Arnot to Step Down as CEO of USA Rugby, April 16, 2006,

External links[edit]