Rugby United New York – Mike Tolkin
Rugby United New York Release
NEW YORK (August 6, 2018)- Rugby United New York, New York City’s first professional rugby franchise, is excited to announce that Mike Tolkin has been appointed Head Coach of the organization, after successfully leading the team throughout the 2018 exhibition season.
Tolkin graduated Xavier High School, Manhattan, in 1985, before attending St. John’s University. Upon college graduation, Tolkin returned to Xavier as an English teacher and a coach for the rugby program. In 25 years as the Head Coach, Tolkin guided the team to 3 High School National Championships and 17 National Semi-Final appearances.
In 2000, Tolkin took the Head Coaching role for the New York Athletic Club, simultaneously teaching and coaching at Xavier. Over the span of 10 years, he led the team to 3 Rugby Super League Championships, the highest level of competition in American rugby at that time.
2010 was a particularly special year for the coach, as he won a High School National Championship with Xavier, and a Super League championship leading the New York Athletic Club. Those feats, coupled with his strong showing as the USA National Team Defense Coach in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, propelled him into becoming a candidate for the USA National Team Head Coaching role.
In 2012, Tolkin became the Eagles Head Coach and guided them throughout the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In 2014, Tolkin coached the Eagles to their first win over Canada since 2009. He led the team against the New Zealand All Blacks in front of a sold-out Soldier Field, home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears. The Tolkin-led Eagles attained the most World Rugby ranking points out of any Eagles team during his tenure.
Tolkin returned to coach the New York Athletic Club in 2016 and led the team to an undefeated campaign. In the spring of 2018, he led Rugby United New York through their exhibition season as Head Coach, going undefeated. That successful season was hopefully just a glimpse of what is to come in 2019 for the native New Yorker.
“It’s an exciting time to come into the league,” Tolkin said. “We are looking to compete, we are looking to work hard, we have a lot of talent- but that all has to come together in a hard-working group that is ready to succeed. I know we have a thriving rugby community that will support our endeavors in all aspects of the game. There are so many hard-working, knowledgeable, and passionate men and women in the New York area that I look forward to working with. We know it won’t be easy, but we will be prepared.”
“We’re very excited to welcome on board Mike Tolkin as our Head Coach,” General Manager James English said. “Mike comes with a wealth of experience at every level of the game in New York. He is New York rugby. There’s not a better guy to have at the helm of this organization as we take on the 2019 season.”
Rugby United New York looks forward to working with Coach Tolkin for the 2019 Major League Rugby Season.