Mike Tolkin used the opportunity of Kees Lensing’s selection as head coach of the Seattle Seawolves to indicate that he would not be returning as head coach of Rugby United New York for the 2020 Major League Rugby season.
Mike was hired as head coach by RUNY for the 2018 exhibition and 2019 MLR seasons. There was excitement about his signing as evidenced by the team in a team release in 2018.
In the 2018 exhibition season the team has a 3-0 record. During the team’s inaugural MLR season in 2019, the team had a 11-5 record. That advanced them to the semifinals where they lost to the San Diego Legion in the final seconds after a bounce of the ball resulted in a try to level the match, with Joe Pietersen slotting a kick from touch for the 24-22 win.
Mike has been very successful as a coach. At Xavier High School he led the team to three National Championships, six National Championship games, 17 National Championship Semifinals, and 20 Regional Championships. He coached New York Athletic Club from 2000-2012 and from 2016-2017 with the team winning the Rugby Super League National Championship in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
He served as the USA National Team defensive coach from 2009-2011 and for the Rugby World Cup in 2011. He then became the Head Coach from 2012-2015, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
I, as well as others, wish Mike well in whatever he pursues in the future. Mike has fostered the growth of rugby in the United States and his expertise is invaluable to rugby.
Mike Tolkin Release
“I’d like to wish Kees Lensing all the best for his new role as Head Coach in Seattle. He’s an excellent coach and will be a great asset for the franchise in its upcoming MLR season. I thoroughly enjoyed working together in NY last season, where we accomplished a lot in the club’s inaugural season. Furthermore, I will not be returning to coach RUNY in 2020. The players and staff performed magnificently under challenging conditions throughout the season.”