Utah Warriors Release
Salt Lake City, UT—On the heels of hiring Wallabies legend Chris Latham as the team’s new head coach the Utah Warriors today announce the rest of the team’s coaching, operations, and medical staff members
With the four new members to the Warriors staff and two returning members the Warriors staff is adding 57 international test caps, 2 Club 7s National Championships, 2 Collegiate National Championships, 2 Club National Championships, 3 Rugby World Cups as players and coaches, coaches and managers who have served within the USA Rugby age-grade system as well as with the Fijian and USA Men’s National Teams and one former Warrior player who scored the team’s first-ever try.
With this staff’s combined accolades, it’s no wonder that newly appointed head coach and Wallabies legend Chris Latham sees 2020 as an exciting and pivotal year for the Warriors team.
“I’m very honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the new and existing staff at the Utah warriors,” Latham said, “We’ve been able to secure a knowledgeable and diverse group of coaches and support staff that are hell-bent on making this team successful. I encourage Warriors Nation to get behind us with your support and help make this organization one of the premier clubs in the MLR.”
The Utah Warriors’ new and returning members of the team and operations staff:
• Brandon Sparks, Director of Rugby Operations
• Ben Nicholls, Asst. Head Coach
• Shawn Pittman, Asst. Coach
• Shaun Davies, Asst. Coach
• Mark Drown, Team Manager
• Sica Glauser, ATC, LAT, MA
Drown and Glauser, both seasoned veterans with the Warriors team, return to support the team’s on and off-field operations and performance, while the rest of the staff bring some new, but familiar perspectives to the Utah Warriors staff room.
Sparks, a native of Michigan, is most recently the head coach of the University
of Michigan and founder of the Legacy Academy, which aims to serve under-privileged rugby players achieve the goal of playing collegiately or professionally. Sparks has spent a considerable amount of his time with USA Rugby’s age-grade system working with collegiate and high school coaches and players while also having spent the inaugural 2018 season with the MLR Champion Seattle Seawolves on their coaching staff.
Sparks will oversee the Warriors’ player and team operations including talent identification, Academy development, community rugby engagement, and strategic rugby partnerships.
“Excitement isn’t a strong enough word to describe my emotions about joining the Utah Warriors and working with the incoming coaching staff and players,” Sparks said, “On the field, I am committed to collaborating with the coaches to create a culture that players desire to be a part of and Warrior Nation is proud to support. Off the field, I am eager to be in a position to create opportunities for players, coaches, and referees in the passionate rugby communities of both Utah and the United States that will support their development and help them accomplish their rugby goals.”
Nicholls joins the Warriors after successfully coaching the Rugby Utah Selects
7s Team to back-to-back National Championships in 2016 and 2017. Nicholls, a former Utah Warriors player from 2018, will serve as Latham’s Asst. Head Coach and charged with developing and managing the team identity, culture as well as his respective tactical assignment from his head coach.
Nicholls lays claim to the Warriors first-ever try when he dotted down in the end zone at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah’s pre-season match against the Glendale Raptors in front an MLR record-setting 9,468 fans.
“Utah is a great rugby state,” Nicholls said, “I can’t wait to work with the team and staff to build something really special.”
Pittman is coming to the Warriors after finishing a long 2019 USA Eagles
Rugby World Cup campaign as an assistant coach to Gary Gold overseeing the forwards. During Pittman’s tenure since 2017, the Eagles set-piece has averaged an 89% success rate in lineouts and 90% in scrums, while the Eagles, with Pittman’s leadership, led the world in 2018 in lineout success rate with 93%.
Pittman was a USA U20 standout before spending time professionally abroad with the London Welsh RFC from 2010-2013 and 30-cap career with the Eagles as a player.
Pittman said he’s looking forward to working with Utah’s formidable forward pack.
“Utah has always been known for big and powerful players,” Pittman said, “I’m looking forward to joining the Utah rugby community and Warriors Nation.”
The final coaching addition to the Utah Warriors staff is a face familiar to many within the Utah rugby community with the return of Shaun Davies to the Wasatch Front.
Davies was part of multiple Collegiate Rugby National Championship teams (2009 & 2012) while at Brigham Young University and he would go on to win multiple Club National Championships with Life U RFC in 2013 and 2014. Davies was a member of the USA Eagles for the last seven years and earned 27 caps over that time frame.
Having served as a Player/Coach with the PRO Rugby during the 2016 season with the Ohio Aviators and with his work with the Life University undergraduate teams for three seasons, Davies is ready to begin the next phase of his rugby career back in a state he’s very familiar with.
“Utah is a very special place to me,” Davies said, “And I’m grateful to the Warriors for this opportunity to help build something Warriors Nation can all be proud of.”
With the coaching and operations staff now fully in place with head coach Chris Latham, Utah Warriors CEO/GM Kimball Kjar says this group is one of Major League Rugby’s most dynamic staff.
“We’re building for the long term with this staff. After seeing how the MLR has grown and is growing we believe the teams that will be the most successful in the MLR over the long run,” Kjar said, “Will have a identifiable domestic pathway strategy supplemented by an innovative international model. With this staff, the Warriors are in a position to support and foster our local, regional and domestic player, coach, referee and even the non-rugby communities like no other MLR team while also building the necessary international partnerships to help us be successful on and off the pitch.”
The new Utah Warriors coaching and operations staff begins work immediately with head coach Chris Latham leading the way and will look to lay the groundwork for a successful 2020 campaign over the coming weeks.
For more details and information on the Utah Warriors and the upcoming 2020 season please visit www.WarriorsRugby.com.
For season ticket information and to reserve your spot in Warriors Nation visit www.WarriorsRugby.com/season-tickets/ or call the ticket office at 801-935-4045.
Utah Warriors Staff Bios
Chris Latham—Head Coach
Hometown: Brisbane, Australia
Int’l Caps: 78 (Australia)
Int’l Tries: 40
Professional Career: NSW Waratahs (1997), Queensland Reds (1998-2007), Worcester Warriors (2008-2010), Kyuden Voltex (2010-2012)
Honors: Super Rugby Player of the Year 2000, 2003, 2004
Coaching Experience: Kyuden Voltex—2010-2012 (Asst. Coach), Manu Samoa—2017-2019 (Asst. Coach)
Ben Nicholls—Asst. Head Coach
Hometown: Eden, UT / Harare, Zimbabwe
Int’l Caps: Zimbabwe 7s
Honors: 2 Club 7s National Championship 2016, 2017
Coaching Experience: Rugby Utah Selects 7s 2016-17, Park City Haggis 7s 2019
Shawn Pittman—Asst. Coach
Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Int’l Caps: 30 (USA)
Professional Career: London Welsh (2010-13)
Coaching Experience: USA Eagles 2017-Present (Asst. Coach—Forwards); USA U20 2015-2016 (Asst. Coach—Forwards); USA Selects 2017; Seattle Saracens 2015-2016; University of Washington 2016-2018; Seattle Seawolves—2018 (Coach Consultant)
Shaun Davies—Asst. Coach
Hometown: Draper, UT / Durban, South Africa
Int’l Caps: 25 (USA)
Professional Career: PRO Rugby Ohio Aviators (2016); Glendale Raptors (MLR) (2018-2019)
Honors: Collegiate National Champion (BYU—2009, 2012); Club National Champion (Life U RFC—2013, 2014)
Coaching Experience: Ohio Aviators—2016 (Player/Coach); Life University Undergraduate—2013-15 (Asst. Coach)
Brandon Sparks—Dir. of Rugby Operations
Hometown: Ypsilanti, MI
Coaching & Management Experience: University of Michigan—2014-2019 (Head Coach); Legacy Rugby Academy—2015-2019 (Dir. of Rugby); USA Rugby Age-Grade Asst. Coach—2015-2018 (Boys and Girls HS All Americans); Seattle Seawolves—2018 (Coach Consultant)
Mark Drown—Team Manager
Hometown: Draper, UT
Coaching Experience: University of Utah 2015-2016 Asst. Coach; Utah Youth Rugby Cannibals 7s 2008-2017
Management Experience: Fiji 7s National Team 2018; USA Rugby Men’s National Team 2019; Utah Warriors 2019-Present
Sica Glauser—Team Athletic Trainer
Hometown: Holladay, UT
Athletic Training Experience: University of Utah 2010-2012; University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire 2012-2013; San Jose State University 2013-2015; San Diego State University 2015-2018; Utah Warriors 2018-Present
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