The Texas Rugby Union is proud to welcome its seven newest members to the Hall of Fame. The Class of 2020 represents a wide spectrum of contributors- players, coaches, administrators and pioneers. In a first, two women were elected in the same year. The Magnificent Seven are (in alphabetical order):
Robert Hays – Corpus Christi
Jennifer Joyce-Brewerton – Austin
Joe Kelly – Arlington/Dallas
Rick Medina – Austin
Brett Taylor – Dallas Harlequins
Alex Ramirez – McAllen/Kingwood
Wendy Young – Austin (TRU, TRRA)
One of his club’s founders in 1974, Robert Hays IS Corpus Christi rugby; and remains very active today in addition to also being a player/leader of the Texas XXXs touring side. The International Sevens By The Sea is a staple of Texas rugby, and he has refereed throughout Texas and helped form the A&M Corpus side, in addition to his work with youth rugby.
Jen Joyce Brewerton is a capped Eagle, a former member of the USA Board of Directors, was a representative to the IRB and the USOC and served in various roles with the Western RFU including captain of the West Selects. In addition to playing for and coaching the Austin Valkyries, she currently coaches the Four Points Youth Rugby 5-9 year olds.
As well known for his happy countenance as he is for his many contributions, Joe Kelly has been instrumental to the success of several clubs as a player, captain and coach in addition to being an outstanding player who for many years was a member of the Western USA 7s team and the TRU Selects. He founded the UT-Arlington side and was a key part of the Dallas Reds. He has been very active with high school rugby in North Texas, and served as the manager of the Texas Selects.
Rick Medina is known for his fire and passion for the game as both a player for the Austin RFC and as coach of Lake Travis HS. He played at Texas Tech, captained the Blacks, played for the Western USA Selects (15s and 7s), and captained the Texas Selects. He has toured with the Atlantis 7s program, coached the Texas HS Selects, and even served as assistant coach of Mexico’s National 7s side.
A prop on the 1984 National Champions Dallas Harlequins, Brett “Rosie” Taylor was the heart-and-sole of Texas’ first team to hoist the championship trophy. A player for the Western USA Selects and a Junior Eagle, he captained and coached the team for several years and was a key contributor to 14 TRU titles, and four other teams that reached the national Final Four.
If Texas rugby had a Pied Piper, it would be Alex Ramirez. A former Mexico national team player who also coached several high profile programs there, his first Texas stop was with the Houston RFC before he was a founder, player and coach of the McAllen Knights. He would move back to the Houston area many years later where he enjoyed great success as coach of the Kingwood HS program and founded the Kingwood Crusaders men’s side before returning to the Valley where he works with the women’s side.
Wendy Young is not only the glue that holds the TRU, the RRRC, and the TRRA together as a professional administrator, but she is a great rugby player, coach and referee. A former scrum half for the Austin Valkyries, she played on the TRU select side and coached the 7s team. In 2018, she was named USA Rugby’s Female Referee Coach of the Year. She is the founder of one of the first women’s rugby-focused internet blogs, Your Scrumhalf Connection.
The Class of 2020 will hopefully be inducted at a banquet this fall with details TBA. At that time, more complete biographies of each new member will be published.
This was easily the most competitive cycle in the Hall’s five year history, with many additional nominees being clearly well qualified. The HOF members would like to thank everyone who submitted a candidate or allowed themselves to be nominated. Their participation in the selection process enhances the Hall and is a great service to rugby in Texas.