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The newest fully-funded collegiate rugby program is Lindenwood University – Belleville, located in suburban St. Louis in Belleville, Ill. LU-B is a full-service extension of Lindenwood across the Mississippi River in St. Charles, Mo., which started in 2011, with the men's team winning the DII National Championship its first season and becoming one of the top teams in the nation since.

The Belleville program is being born out of the same mold, as it’s powered by the university’s athletic department, is fully funded and has scholarship money on offer for recruits. Belleville plans to field its first men’s and women’s teams in the fall of 2015.

Here is the announcement issued by the university about the hiring of the program’s director of rugby and men’s head coach, yours truly.

Editor's note: This isn’t a typical announcement or news story, obviously, as I’m not often writing about myself or in the first person. But this announcement calls for an exception, as I don’t want to create more questions than answers.

Like most of us in the rugby community, I have worn many hats through the years – first I played, then I was a club administrator, a referee, union administrator, college conference commissioner, etc. All the while I’ve written about the game professionally. I went to school to be a journalist, and I’ve had bylines in numerous publications and been credentialed for NFL press boxes and DI NCAA sporting events, as well as covered all the rugby you’ve come to know me for.

The role I’ve relished the most, however, has been that of coach. I helped with some men’s clubs and college teams before co-founding a high school club in 2012. I’ve always considered coaching a potential career path, and I continued to cut my teeth coaching high school wrestling.

When the opportunity to coach a fully-funded rugby program in the college ranks arose, I jumped at it, and I could not be more excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I will strive to build a highly competitive team on the backs of local and regional talent.

While coaching, recruiting and program building will be a full-time endeavor, I will continue with Rugby Today, helping fill the void of quality American rugby content.

There are countless people in the game of rugby who have influenced me, helped me and supported me throughout my time in the game, and to them I say thanks. I am incredibly humbled by the opportunities that have been afforded me, and I continue to be dumbfounded by the fortune I’ve experienced. Go Lynx!

Comments

You should not do both jobs. People will think that you are acting as a PR man for your team and it will leave the next Pat C. Without a job opportunity. Very best of Luck with your new job. Mike McNerney
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Pat, best of luck and you are going into a great program at Lindenwood. I have been to the facility in ST. Charles to see Life play and it is quite the set up. As far as your editorial role, I think you are fine, just make sure to let someone else write about your team and take yourself out of the ranking process and you should have no issues. It is great to see dedicated rugby administrators advance.
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This is great! We need more college opportunities like this to promote to youth and HS rugby players about the prospect of playing in college. The DC area youth/HS rugby scene is booming! Would love to send some kids your way in the future.
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Hey Pat, Great article! Do you have plans to write about the other fully funded programs that are launching as well?
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