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Since 2010, CWU has won the Northwest Collegiate 7s twice (easily), won the CRC Qualifier at the 2011 Las Vegas Invitational, fourth at the CRC last June, finished second in USA Rugby’s national tournament last December, and then finished 3-1 at the 2012 LVI, losing in the knockout rounds to eventual runners up Utah.
In five tournaments at the high levels of college 7s rugby, CWU is 22-5, with losses to Utah (twice), Arkansas State, Life, and Army. He has also worked closely with the Old Puget Sound Beach 7s program, helping several players join that squad. His track record shows he can coach at that level.
What he will be able to do with the All Americans depends in part on factors out of his control. Will the program have the budget to go on a trip? How big a camp will he have? What information can he glean from Alex Magleby (who was scouting for the program in February) and others?
And one question he does have control over – what can he bring to the program?
“I enjoy this,” Pacheco told RUGBYMag.com about coaching college 7s. “We’ve had a lot of success at a high level. I’ve sought out a lot of opportunities, whether it’s our program or working with Beach, to learn. Now I felt like I was ready to put myself out there. The opportunity was there and I felt I was ready to do that.”
Pacheco has a lot of work to do in scouting players. He’s seen plenty at the USA 7s CRC, and he saw others at the Las Vegas Invitational and at the national championships. But he knows there are more out there.
“I really think it’s about identifying the athletes that translate to the Eagle jersey,” he saud. “We’re at an interesting time right now. This group of All Americans have a unique opportunity, with us four years from the Olympics, to be right there. These next two years is the time to being that development process and put them in a position to take that opportunity.”
Pacheco says he likes players who make their teammates better – not
necessarily the ones who score the tries, but perhaps the ones that made
the try happen.
“I really enjoy the space creators,” he explained. “I feel a lot of times you can see guys who made up their mind long before they got the ball. I am looking for the guy who makes his teammates look like All Americans. There are a lot of big strong athletes out there. But can you catch and pass, can you create space, and you hold space, for your teammates?”
Pacheco will be working to put together a staff, but will also bring in expertise from outside to work with the team. He was seen have a long and positive conversation with former USA 7s team head coach Al Caravelli in Philadelphia, and he is close with the Old Puget Sound Beach setup and Waisale Serevi. Those types of resources could well be people he reaches out to.
But more than that, Tony Pacheco is a new face in an ever-growing group of 7s coaches, who all have said, in one way or another the same thing. Whether they are with the All American team, a club, all-star team, or college, they want to help the USA win an Olympic medal.