Utah Warriors Release
Chris Latham announced to his players and staff that he is stepping down as head coach of the Utah Warriors Rugby team. Latham has been with the Warriors since 2019 and has been integral in building a new team culture, a strong roster of players, and one of Major League Rugby’s strongest coaching staff. Latham is departing for personal reasons.
“Leaving the Warriors has not been an easy decision. I have the utmost respect for the organization, and I am proud of the progress the team has made in a short period of time,” Latham said. “The roster for 2021 has the talent and experience to be the MLR Champions, and I have no doubt that’s where the team will be at the end of the season with Shawn at the helm.”
With Latham’s departure, the Warriors have named Shawn Pittman as the new interim head coach for the 2021 season. As assistant head coach since 2019, Pittman has been an integral part of the coaching staff. He brings more than 12 years of professional coaching and player experience, including playing for London Welsh RFC, and has held key coaching positions for USA Rugby during the 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign and with the Seattle Seawolves leading to their inaugural MLR Championship in 2018.
“I am honored the Warriors put their trust in me as the interim head coach. Chris Latham has left a legacy at the Warriors, and I intend to build on that,” Pittman said. “We have a strong, passionate team of athletes; I know we will make the Warriors Nation proud this season.”
“I am grateful for what Chris did for the Warriors as our head coach. He dramatically changed the culture of the team during his short tenure,” said Kimball Kjar, CEO, and GM of the Utah Warriors. “Under Chris’ leadership, we began to change the culture and attitude of this program and I believe, culminating with a hallmark win over the two-time MLR Champion Seattle Seawolves, typified this passion and pursuit of excellence that Chris was building within this team.”
“We are extremely fortunate to have the depth of experience and talent in our coaching staff to be able to promote Shawn Pittman to interim head coach,” Kjar continued. “Shawn’s experience as one of America’s top homegrown players and coaches, along with his relationships with our players and the respect he commands in international circles, makes him the perfect choice to lead the Warriors, as we transition and continue to build on the foundation Chris helped us build with an eye towards becoming an MLR Championship team.”