Rugby HTX Release – Grant Cole
(HOUSTON, TX, 13 August 2020) Rugby HTX held a combine at AVEVA Stadium this past Saturday. More than 70 MLR hopefuls competed for invitations to be a part of the Houston SaberCats’ senior academy team for 2020-2021. The Rugby HTX staff have selected fourteen (14) combine attendees to receive an invite to be part of the team.
Forwards Coach, Brett Mills states, “The level of talent at the combine far exceeded my expectations. Despite the heat, the players rose to the occasion to demonstrate both fitness and rugby skills. I am excited about the number of players who attended. This is something we will build on throughout the year.”
Echoing the excitement, Head Coach Paul Emerick adds, “This was the best combine turnout we’ve experienced. We hope everyone who came got a feel for the skill level needed to play at the next level. We’re excited to get this crop of young men into the academy system and develop them into full-time players.”
Rugby HTX begins training on 8 September 2020 at AVEVA Stadium under the coaching staff of Paul Emerick IV, Taylor Howden (Attack & Backs), Brett Mills, and Josh Schnell (S&C). Grant Cole joins the staff as the Team Manager.
Rugby HTX is the senior academy team for the Houston SaberCats Major League Rugby (MLR) team. Its mission is to develop rugby players ages 18 and over to play in the MLR by providing a club team with high-quality coaching, training that replicates match-intensity, and a competitive match schedule featuring a higher-than-normal number of opportunities to play rugby.
Paul Emerick IV is the Head Coach of Rugby HTX and the Skills Coach for the Houston SaberCats. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2003, Paul debuted as USA Eagle #325 in a 58-13 rout of Spain. He was capped 54 times while appearing in three (3) XVs Rugby World Cups (RWC) and one (1) 7s RWC. He played professionally in Europe for 10 years for Overmach Parma, Ulster, Newport Dragons, and the London Wasps. Paul began coaching after his 2013 retirement from competition and joined the SaberCats staff in 2018.
Brett Mills is the Forwards Coach for Rugby HTX, bringing 36 years of rugby experience to the squad. Brett played prop for several senior clubs for 11 years before settling in for 16 years as Assistant and Head Coach at St. Thomas High School. In addition, Mills has served as Head Coach for the University of St. Thomas, University of Houston, Texas A&M University, and Houston Athletic Rugby Club, as well as coaching Lone Star RFC. He coached with the Texas Collegiate All-Star team and spent two years as manager/coach of the United States U17 and U18 teams. Mills received honors as the Texas High School Coach of the Year in 2011 and the United States Olympic Committee Development Coach of the Year in 2010. Mills has won many conference, state, and regional championships while taking five different teams to various national championship tournaments. He serves as the Dean of Social Studies at St. Thomas High School and is married to Sonya Mills. They have three sons Conor, Riley, and Keegan.