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The article in 2008 was entitled “Gael Storm,” a poor pun marking the university rugby success of St. Mary’s Men on the rugby pitch. The underlying finding was that a small school (enrollment around 980) could compete on any college level given the right culture and the right coaching.

St. Mary’s was led by USA Eagle standout Tim O’Brian, who was confident when he started in 2001 that he could build a competitive side at an institution that played rugby beginning in 1889. St. Mary’s ranked 365 out of 450 college teams in terms of enrollment. Such a small school would normally play in D-II or D-III leagues but the Gaels played then in D-I’s Northern California RFU.

In the three-years between 2005 and 2007, St. Mary’s went 45-12, often defeating fifteens from D-I large enrollment schools.

The team captain, Kevin Swiryn, went on to play for the Eagles, and Volney Rouse continued to play for Trinity University Dublin.

And from the writing of the 2008 article. St, Mary’s has continued to be a dominant rugby powerhouse in the D-I division, frequently, playing in the league’s championship game.