July 25, 2016
Todd Thornley, New Men’s Rugby Head Coach at Central Washington University
Photo: Central Washington University Athletic Department – Todd Thornley
Central Washington University Athletic Department Release: July 25, 2016
ELLENSBURG, Wash. (July 25) – Central Washington University Director of Athletics, Dennis Francois, has announced the hiring of Todd Thornley as the Wildcats’ new men’s rugby coach.
“Todd’s level of familiarity with our program and the University, as well as his commitment to recruit and develop the holistic student-athlete stood out in his candidacy,” Francois said.
Thornley, a Blenheim, New Zealand native, spent the last two seasons as the graduate assistant for the Wildcats.
“I’m excited and honored to lead this program into the future,” Thornley said. “I look forward to developing an enhanced overall student-athlete experience, while continuing the strong tradition of Central Washington rugby performing on the national stage.”
Thornley takes over a squad that finished 12-3 last season with 12 All-Americans. The Wildcats worked their way to the semi-final of the Varsity Cup, before falling to Cal. They also put up an impressive run in the 7’s national tournament.
“I’d like to thank the previous leadership of the program for giving me a great foundation to build upon,” Thornley added.
Prior to coaching at Central Washington, Thornley was an assistant coach for Dartmouth College. Dartmouth finished third in the 2013 7’s National Collegiate Championship and made the quarterfinals of the Varsity Cup.
“After talking with many people in the rugby world, Todd’s ability to lead our program was reinforced time after time,” search chair and Assistant Director of Athletics Gary Hyatt said.
Thornley worked under the tutelage of Gavin Hickie and current USA Rugby Director of Performance Alex Magleby. He also coached current Eagles’ 7’s captain Madison Hughes.
“During the search process, Todd continually produced a high level of understanding and professionalism that made him stand out,” Hyatt added.
He also played and coached for the Calgary Saints during their 2015 Alberta Cup run.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to not only grow excellent collegiate players for CWU,” Thornley noted. “But also a chance to develop players that can compete at a high level for USA Rugby.”
“Growing up in New Zealand, rugby has been a way of life for Todd,” Francois added. “But it was done in the context of a vehicle to develop positive skills in young people that transfer into other aspects of their lives. Todd is clearly an example of this model and we are excited to have him lead our program in the same manner.”
Francois would like to commend the search committee, chaired by Hyatt, of Bob Ford, Mel Denham, Isaac Perry, Kari Johnson, and Tyler Unsicker for their work and dedication throughout the process.
Thornley’s official start date is August 1.