Belmont Abbey Release
BELMONT, N.C. — Belmont Abbey College is adding Men’s Rugby as its 41st intercollegiate sports, Director of Athletics Stephen Miss announced today.
In addition, Miss announced that Nick Whitrow, the head coach at Charlotte Catholic High School has been named as the program’s first head coach.
“After having conducted extensive analysis and an extended search, we are excited to announce the addition of Men’s Rugby as a program and of Nick Whitrow as our Head Coach,” Miss said. “Ideally suited to mentor, teach, form, develop, and, thus, coach our students, Coach Whitrow’s persistent pursuit of our head coaching opportunity and his passion for the sport of rugby inspired confidence that he not only will establish and, in time, grow our program into one of perennial regional and national prominence but, more importantly, that he will attract students who will enhance the culture of the Belmont Abbey College community as a whole.”
A USA Rugby level 300 coach, Whitrow has been in coaching since 1998, most recently at Charlotte Catholic, where he serves as head coach and as a learning support specialist. He was the head coach for the Clemson men’s team from 2013-16 and still serves as an adjunct instructor in the Athletic Leadership Department. From 2016-18, he also helped reestablish the Clemson women’s program, finishing ninth nationally in Division 2 before returning them to Division 1 Rugby and competing in two Collegiate Rugby Championships.
Over the last several years, Whitrow has been heavily involved in youth rugby in the Carolinas region acting as head coach for the South Carolina Select side in 2016 and the North Carolina All-Stars in 2019, winning the bowl and South Championship, respectively, with those teams. He has created an academy for the elite youth rugby players in Carolinas region, taking a team to the high school bracket of the Collegiate Rugby Championships (CRC) where the team went finished ninth at 2-3. He also worked with the High School All-American Boys team from 2010-12
“I am deeply honored to be given the responsibility of forming the foundations of this program at Belmont Abbey College,” Whitrow said. “With such a beautiful campus, so close to one of the fastest-growing economic cities in the United States, I firmly believe that the experiences young men will have here will be second to none.
“I would like to thank the Chancellor, Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., President Dr. William Thierfelder and Athletic Director Stephen Miss for defining the vision, guiding the creation and allowing me to be part of this wonderful opportunity,” he continued. “Their dedication to creating an environment consistent with both the values of Belmont Abbey College and the sport of Rugby already sets a wonderful platform from which this program can launch.”
Nick and his wife, Jodi, have two children — Lily (8) and Ashton (6). They will be relocating to the Charlotte area in the summer of 2020.
The 2020-21 athletic year will mark the inaugural season of Abbey Rugby.