Mount St. Mary’s Makes Commitment to Men’s Rugby Program as Premier Team Sport
Mount St. Mary’s Release: EMMITSBURG, Md. (April 9, 2018)
“The success of the men’s rugby program at Mount St. Mary’s University, both on and off the field, has led the university to identify the program as the Mount’s first premier team sport. This commitment involves making Head Coach Jay Myles a full-time university employee, providing student-athlete rugby scholarships and increasing the program’s budget.
Under Myles, the team won the 2016 National Small College Rugby Organization’s National Championship. Since the national championship, the program has moved into the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference, a Division I-AA conference under USA Rugby. The program finished second in its inaugural season in the conference in 2016-17. In addition, the 7s team competed in and won the Philadelphia region of the Collegiate Rugby Championship to qualify for the 2018 National Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s tournament in the Premier Division.
This successful program led by Coach Myles has outgrown the previous club model. In elevating the program to premier team sports status with the goal of becoming one of the top DI rugby programs on the East Coast, the university is committing more resources to the program through operating funds and rugby scholarships. The addition of scholarships will allow Coach Myles to recruit and develop some of the best rugby student-athletes in the country. The increased budget will permit the program to grow its roster to have three competitive sides. The roster-building process began in 2017 when the team added 20 talented freshman players to its ranks.
“The university is proud of the rugby program’s strong and passionate alumni base, burgeoning national reputation and high-level leadership by coaches and students on and off the field,” said President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. “We look forward to the program’s continued success under Coach Myles well into the future.”
Myles, who has been a part of Mount rugby for 20 years, is the first full-time “on staff” coach of the program, which began in 1973. “As a former Mount Rugger, I have had the privilege of watching rugby grow in both size and notoriety here on campus. We are blessed to have one of the nation’s finest rugby coaches, Jay Myles, as the full-time head coach,” said Vice President for University Advancement Robert J. Brennan, who provides administrative oversight of and support for the men’s rugby program. “My role at the Mount provided me with a unique view of the thousands of little things Jay and his coaching staff needed to do in order for the team to win a national title. I am confident Jay is the right leader for our program and that the best is yet to come.”
Myles expressed gratitude for the resources and support being offered to the rugby program and praised his student-athletes. “The young men in the men’s rugby program have shown they are committed to success as true student-athletes,” Myles said. “They are consistently at the forefront of community service programs and excel in the classroom.”
Since 2014, Myles has focused on developing the team into a more cohesive unit and building a strong reputation. Myles’ coaching staff has implemented team weightlifting sessions, more structured practices, discipline and dedication to the team and a focus on community service. “This has helped the team become more cohesive, which aids them during matches,” said Myles, who recalled how the team rallied around junior Louis Turbyfield when his home country of Turks and Caicos Islands was ravaged by Hurricane Irma last fall. Turbyfield and his teammates collected and sorted more 650 pounds of supplies, including diapers, clothes, work gloves and dust masks. Ruggers also volunteer at children’s hospitals, children’s homes, and with organizations such as The American Red Cross.
Myles’ players also are committed to honing their rugby skills. For several years the entire team has benefitted from the professional, international coaching staff of Global Rugby Group, led by Neil Tunnah. Last summer six Mount ruggers and Assistant Coach Tyler Myles, C’17, traveled to Ngongotaha, New Zealand to train under Global Rugby Group for two months. The trip, organized by Dean Wharekura, a native New Zealander who is the head coach of the Baltimore-Chesapeake Rugby Football Club, allowed the players to learn a looser and free-flowing yet faster and harder Southern Hemisphere style of play. Archie Cullen, C’20, Campbell Johnstone, C’21, Jesse Linsemeyer, C’19, Keegan Lowensen, C’19, Cuyler McCorkindale, C’21, and Josh Thorne, C’21, reported that the New Zealand players used a similar attacking pattern to the Mount’s and that they were able to quickly pick up plays and patterns in the intense training environment.”
About Mount St. Mary’s University
Mount St. Mary’s University is a private, liberal arts, Catholic university in the Catoctin Mountains near historic Emmitsburg, Maryland, with a satellite campus in Frederick, Maryland’s second largest city. The university offers more than 40 majors, minors, concentrations and special programs for traditional undergraduate students, and more than 20 adult undergraduate and graduate level programs. The Mount includes Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, the second oldest in the United States, and the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, an idyllic shrine for spiritual reflection located on the hill above the university.