Austin Gilgronis Names Brendan O’Meara Academy Coach & MLR Contact Coach

AG Rugby Release

AG Rugby is thrilled to announce the hiring of Academy Head Coach and AG’s Contact Coach, Brendan O’Meara.

O’Meara’s first task will be to fine-tune the AG Academy program and grow the high-school program while also preparing the next wave of AG talent for the MLR-level. O’Meara will lead the Outlaws senior team through a five-match schedule this fall; fully integrating 30 domestic MLR-hopefuls into the AG structure with a holistic four-month S&C and training program.

USA Rugby Hall of Famer and AG Rugby Director of Player Personnel Dave Hodges says, “I’m thrilled to be reconnecting with Brendan in Austin, his relation to the college game through his time at St. Mary’s as well as Brendan’s experience with the USA U20s makes him ideal for this job. As we build out our Outlaws and Jr. Outlaw’s academies mirroring the High-Performance staff in the MLR team/AG’s team, Brendan’s technical capacity and ability to develop athletes was too compelling to pass up. On his visit to Austin, Brendan and his wife Lisa impressed our leadership group and we all knew at that point they would be a great fit for the AG family.”  

O’Meara also looks to expand the AG Academy Junior Outlaws program which fosters player development at the high school level. The goal of this program is to prepare players under 18 years old for their club seasons and careers beyond high school rugby, whether that’s the college, senior academy or professional game.

“I was attracted to the passion and focus of the Academy program and its success in growth, and I’m looking forward to building on that momentum and developing homegrown players that will become the future leaders of this team,” says O’Meara. “The thing that drew me most to the role was the collaboration in the AG organization that happens across all the departments from the players to the coaching group, to the medical team, front office, and back-office staff.”

Furthering that collaboration, O’Meara has been brought into the AG’s Coaching staff to serve as contact coach for the MLR side. He’ll work alongside Head Coach Sam Harris, Assistant Coach Mark Gerrard, and forwards coaches Jamie Mackintosh and Isaac Ross. 

AG Head Coach Sam Harris feels O’Meara has great potential to not only develop players but himself as a coach, “I’m super excited to bring Brendan into this already young and dynamic coaching staff, his energy, rugby knowledge, and connection to the younger generation is a huge asset to AG rugby,” says Harris. “Part of our purpose is to develop as many North American players to a national level as possible, and now we can say the same for the coaching department. Brendan has already had a taste of the national coaching setup with U20s- nothing would make us happier to see Brendan coaching at the international level.”

O’Meara grew up in one of the great hotbeds of rugby talent in the United States in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was ecstatic to experience Austin’s rich rugby culture. “Seeing the strength of the local club scene here in central Texas and the facilities and resources around Austin was a delight for me.”

O’Meara’s Background

O’Meara first picked up rugby at the high school level in one of the storied club rugby teams in the United States, San Francisco Golden Gate. From 2004-2009, O’Meara played college rugby at St. Mary’s under legendary college coach Tim O’Brien. Upon graduation, O’Meara shipped off to New York to play a fall season with yet another blue blood club rugby team NYAC, before heading off to New Zealand to play club rugby in Wellington Poneke. In New Zealand, O’Meara fell deeper in love with the game and its culture and sought to spread his experience back in the United States.

He returned to his home club, San Francisco Golden Gate, in the glory years of the Super League before returning to the St. Mary’s program as an assistant coach under Tim O’Brien. In his time at St. Mary’s, the program reached national prominence as a three-time national champion; while consistently producing some of the nation’s top collegiate talent. In a four-year span, two St. Mary’s players won the Rudy Scholz Award as the top player in collegiate rugby (Dylan Audsley ‘16, Payton Telea Ilalio ‘20).

“It was such a privilege to be a part of the St. Mary’s program as a player, person, and progress the program as a coach,” says O’Meara. “Being able to be back in Moraga and develop the next generation of Gael talent was a special time in my life that I’ll cherish forever.”

In 2018, O’Meara joined the USA U20s staff to prepare the All-American team for Junior World Trophy Qualification matches against Canada. That U20s was a milestone in O’Meara’s coaching journey that allowed him to spread his coaching wings in elevating another player pool outside his alma mater and further grow his own coaching ability alongside the best young domestic coaches.

Now, O’Meara brings a domestic flavor to an international coaching group led by Sam Harris that’s found impressive success in their first year as a coaching group. He looks to bolster the AG Academy program and bring sustained success to the future AG Rugby.

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant