You are here

USA Rugby made a couple of big announcements regarding its collegiate All American program Thursday. One was the new coaching staff, which sees Dartmouth coach Gavin Hickie take over as head man, and the other was a change in operating procedure.

The press release says that an overhaul of the program is underway after an internal audit that will see the All Americans, “evolve from an end-of-season, single assembly team to a year-round identification, monitoring and development structure for future Eagles.”

As head coach, Hickie will report to the same man he reports to at Dartmouth – Alex Magleby, USA Rugby director of performance. He appears to behind the change in emphasis for the All Americans.

“There are a handful of quality institutions that have produced the majority of our Collegiate All-Americans over the years, and subsequently our senior Eagles,” said Magleby. “And there is no wonder there – great coaching, superior [daily training environments], and in most cases some level of rivalry or parity in the local competition.

“College coaches across the country need to be more involved in this process--we will look to provide better information and tools for this to occur, together with the new All-American staff, to help deliver better training environments to these potential future Olympians and World Cup standouts.”

The release cryptically introduced the term Eagle Eye Scout Network to the American rugby lexicon, saying details will emerge in due course. Michigan coach Brandon Sparks, AIC coach Josh Macy, New England College coach Jeremy Treece and Minnesota-Duluth coach Jeramy Katchuba were named “head scouts” for their respective divisions – D1A, DI-AA, DII and NSCRO.

Hickie’s coaching staff is rounded out by forwards coach Justin Hickey, who led Clemson to the second round of the Varsity Cup and a Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship berth, and Yale coach Greg McWilliams. The latter, like Hickie, a former English Premiership hooker, cut his teeth overseas, coaching with Blackrock College, St. Michael’s College, Leinster’s under-19s, and the women’s national team in Ireland.  

“It is a truly exciting time to be a young rugby player in the U.S. with more opportunities to learn and compete than ever before,” Hickie said. “My aim for the program is two-fold: to celebrate the outstanding collegiate rugby players along with identifying and developing future Eagles.

“Developing an effective Collegiate All-American program to identify, monitor, and help develop our student-athletes throughout the year is a vital step in the long-term progress of our national team as we look ahead to the 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cups.”

Central Washington head coach Tony Pacheco was reaffirmed as the head man of the 7s All Americans, too. He will oversee the collegiate portion of the Eagle Eye Network.

“Tony has done a nice job selecting students who have proved capable at the next level, with current Men’s Eagles Sevens examples Nate Augspurger, Pat Blair, Martin Iosefo, Aladdin Schirmer, and Brett Thompson evolving from his All-American teams,” said Magleby. “He has a demonstrated eye for talent. We look forward to working with him, along with Gavin, Justin, and Greg, as they continue their progressions from emerging to being elite-level coaches.”