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On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr. assumes his post as
Superintendent of the US Military Academy, replacing Lt. Gen. David
Since the Army men's rugby team was punished for a series of offensive emails, and put on suspension, any longer-term decisions about the program, including the future of Director of Rugby Rich Pohlidal, have been waiting for Caslen to assume his office.
Indications are that the team wants to be on the field in the fall in time to play an Army v. Navy game in November, but the seriousness of the programs infractions - and it's not clear that all have come to light - could preclude such a quick return.
Caslen will have plenty of knowledge of the rugby program. A 1975 graduate of West Point, he served as Commandant of Cadets at West Point in the mid-2000s, a post that oversees the Director of Cadet Activities, the body which administers the rugby team, among many other duties. He was Commandant during part of Pohlidal's tenure as Director of Rugby.
So new Superintendent Caslen will be expected to know a lot about what is expected of the rugby team and its purpose, and will also be expected to work closely with current Commandant, Brigadier General Rich Clarke.
Caslen has a long resume in the US Army. He served in Operation Desert Storm, helped attend injured at the Pentagon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and has served as Deputy Director for the War on Terrorism. He commanded the 25th Infantry Division in Iraq, and also served two tours in Afghanistan, serving in part as chief of staff of the Combined Task Force.
So, suffice to say, he won't suffer fools gladly and, in this politically sensitive time when respect for women is a major issue in the US Army, will demand much of a reinstated rugby team.
Various off-the-record sources have said Pohlidal is on thin ice as Director of Rugby. It was under his watch that the team violated rules, and further reports say Pohlidal did not follow procedure when dealing with the email scandal. Pohlidal, who has run the Army program since 2004, may also be under fire for other issues unrelated to the emails. Some aspects of the team's activities and status are still being investigated by an outside investigator.