August 16, 2017
Mel Denham Named Harvard Women’s Rugby Head Coach
Harvard Athletics Release
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – “Harvard Athletics has announced the hiring of Mel Denham as the head coach of women’s rugby. Denham joins the Crimson after a three-year tenure as the head coach at Central Washington.
“We are thrilled to announce Mel Denham as the head coach of women’s rugby,” said Bob Scalise, the John D. Nichols ’53 Family Director of Athletics. “Mel has been very successful as a head coach, and she was instrumental in helping the women’s program’s elevation to varsity status as an assistant coach. We believe she will be a terrific leader and mentor for our student-athletes.”
Denham was the first varsity head coach in program history at Central Washington, and led the Wildcats to a 39-4 record over three seasons, which included appearances in national championships for both 7s and 15s. Additionally, Denham developed 14 All-Americans and two USA women’s national team development athletes, with one making senior team appearances in 15s and 7s.
“I am very excited to be returning to Harvard, and joining a program and athletic department committed to the advancement of rugby and an integrated student-athlete experience,” said Denham. “Harvard is a leader in NCAA rugby and has a great history of attracting ambitious and determined athletes. I can’t wait to help progress the program and see what this talented group is capable of achieving over the next few years.”
Previous to her stop at Central Washington, Denham was the head coach at American International College from 2013-14, where she helped the squad to a 22-5 overall record with five collegiate All-Americans. Denham also spent three years as an assistant coach at Harvard from 2010-13, which included the program’s elevation to varsity status in 2013. While a club program in 2011, Denham helped lead Harvard to the 2011 Division Two National Championship.
Denham was a mainstay with the USA Women’s national team, and appeared in the 2010 World Cup player squad and the 2014 World Cup training squad. Denham tallied 21 appearances for the national team, while also earning a trio of national championships for Northeast Regional Select Side.
The second head coach of the Harvard women’s program’s history, Denham graduated from Bridgewater State in 2007.”