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USA Rugby’s board of directors has hired Dan Payne to succeed Nigel Melville as its chief executive officer. Payne, who has held a myriad of roles in American rugby, will officially take his post Aug. 1. The search to fill USA Rugby’s top role has been ongoing since the beginning of the year, with hundreds of applicants having been sifted through.

"We are pleased to announce the hiring of Dan Payne as the new CEO of USA Rugby," said USA Rugby Chairman of the Board Bob Latham. "Dan brings an attractive range of experience and skills to the position. He has experience in many levels of the game as a national team player and coach, as a university coach and now athletic director, and as a club player and administrator.

"He has built and managed programs in multiple sports at Life University, both for men and women. He is a well-known and respected member of the USA Rugby family, and we look forward to his leadership."

Payne has most recently worked as the athletic director for Life University, a national rugby power in both the collegiate and club space. He started Life’s undergraduate men’s and women’s rugby programs, coaching the men, before moving to the administrative side. While at Life, he was also an assistant coach for the United States Men’s National Team under Eddie O’Sullivan and Mike Tolkin. He was also capped as a player, playing in the back row during the 2007 World Cup. Payne also served as USA Rugby’s director of competitions for a time.

"These are exciting times for our great game, in our great country," said Payne. "I'm honored and privileged for the opportunity that has been presented.  That being said, I'm eager to get to work and shoulder the responsibility that this position requires and our membership, fans and supporters deserve. I want to thank [former USA Rugby CEO] Nigel Melville for the service and leadership he provided over the past nine years and the USA Rugby board for this opportunity. There's a strong group of individuals in Lafayette, CO that I'm looking forward to working alongside as there is plenty to be done. As the game expands and evolves in our country, it's important we continue to work to unify our efforts amongst all groups and stakeholders in our country.

"I've had a tremendous seven years and made many lifelong friendships and relationships during my time at Life University. It's important that I thank our executive leadership, our great coaches, staff and the 300+ student-athletes that have all been a part of our amazing growth."