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USA Rugby announced Monday the opening of the application process for head coach of its men's senior national team. Mike Tolkin, who served as the Eagles' head man from 2012 through the conclusion of the World Cup last month, has seen his contract expire. He was not terminated, nor did he step down, and he is eligible to re-apply for the position.
USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville, performance director Alex Magleby and former Eagle and current Life University athletic director Dan Payne will review applications and make their recommendation to USA Rugby's board. The announcement says a coach is expected to be picked before the end of the year.
“We reviewed the program in great detail following the Rugby World Cup in England last month and concluded that we should invite interested coaches to apply for the role and widen the search further than the current Eagles coaching team,” said Melville.
The unusual practice of having the incumbent coach re-apply isn't the only oddity highlighted in the announcement, as the timing has to be called into question. The Eagles were eliminated from the Rugby World Cup Oct. 11, and, if reports are to be believed about the new Pan-American competition Team USA is supposed to be competing in, they will be back on the field in February.
As recently as a couple of weeks ago Tolkin publicly expressed his interest in staying as head coach.