Marian University Release
INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian Athletic Department has announced that the school will introduce rugby as the school’s 27th sport, effective at the start of the 2020-21 school year. John Harley has been tabbed as the program’s first head coach.
“Rugby is a fast-growing sport, especially in Indiana,” said Marian athletic director Steve Downing. “We’re excited to open up this opportunity for student-athletes to compete at a high level in the sport of rugby, while receiving an outstanding education at Marian University. John Harley has proven himself as a great coach and he is well-known throughout the Indianapolis area. We’re excited to watch this program grow under his leadership.”
Harley is a veteran rugby coach from Fishers, Indiana, and comes to Marian with nearly a decade of experience. He spent the last six years as the Super League Head Coach 15s in Fishers where he won back-to-back Fall 7s Indiana State Championships. In 2016, both the varsity and junior varsity teams won state championships and twice his team has finished runner-up. At the high school national tournament, Harley led his teams to sixth and eighth place finishes.
“I would like to thank my wife as she is one of the biggest supporters of my career,” said Harley. “I also want to thank Brian Sweany for being instrumental in the push for rugby at Marian and lastly I would like to thank President Elsener and Mr. Downing for giving me this opportunity.”
Harley also served as the Rugby Indiana All-Star Junior Varsity and Varsity Coach of the U-19 and U-17 divisions from 2012-19. While at the helm, Harley led the team to a pair of state championships and served as a 2019 EIRA Midwest U-19 Select Side Coach. He also spent time as the head coach of Southeastern Youth Rugby and has an extensive recruiting background. Since 2014, player involvement at Fishers High School has grown from 35 players in 2014 to presently over 60 players and three sides under his watch. Harley has attended various camps and clinics around the country and the world and has worked with the City of Fishers Parks and Recreation staff and youth sports administrators to grow the city’s youth rugby program into the fourth-largest in the nation.
“We want to compete at the national level,” said Harley. “We’re looking to recruit 30-35 players for the first season and will recruit the Midwest hard. If we can get kids from the Midwest then I believe we can be highly-competitive.”
Harley and his wife Heather reside in Fishers with their son, Johnny, and daughter, Grace.
MUKnights.com: Your online source for Marian Athletics, tickets, multimedia, Knight merchandise, photos and more.