USA Rugby has opened the nomination process for the 2014 Coach of the Year Awards, which recognize rugby coaches who have demonstrated the values of excellence and dedication. Coach of the Year recipients will be announced at the 2015 USA Rugby National Development Summit in Chicago, Ill., during the weekend of Jan. 23-25, 2015.
Nominations will be accepted for the Participation Coach of the Year, Competitive Coach of the Year, Female Coach of the Year, and the Senior Club Coach of the Year.
Life University Head Coach Dan Payne was awarded the first Crispin Cider Senior Club Coach of the Year Award for 2013. He led the Running Eagles to a Men’s Division I Club National Championship and runner-up finish in the inaugural Elite Cup competition before he took up an increased role with varsity athletics at the Marietta, Ga., institution.
The Participation Coach of the Year will have demonstrated dedication to expanding the game of rugby, including bringing the game to new athletes to enrich the local community. Billy Nicholas received the 2013 award for his work in building rugby in an urban and culturally-diverse area at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists High School in New York. Since then, Nicholas has been hired as head coach of the Lindenwood University Women’s Rugby program.
Participation Coach of the Year submissions are limited to coaches who do not receive monetary or any other compensation for their coaching services.
The Competitive Coach of the Year is a youth-, high school-, or college-level coach who has put together a successful side by raising the level of development and refinement of the program’s athletes. Back-to-back National Small College Champion St. John’s University was led by Tammy Cowan, the recipient of the 2013 Competitive Coach of the Year Award.
The Female Coach of the Year is awarded to a female coach who has contributed to the progression of female involvement in rugby. With the aid of Title IX and Try on Rugby, as well as a growing list of varsity women’s rugby programs, USA Rugby is dedicated to help raise stronger, more confident, empowered young women. In 2013, Fallbrook High School Head Coach Marin Pinnell led three teams to a combined 35-1 record and sent multiple players to the Stars and Stripes Camp in Greeley, Colo.
“We are excited to recognize the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of our coaches to the rugby community,” USA Rugby Coach Development Director Josh Sutcliffe said. “These coaches help grow our game with their willingness to put their teams first as they strive to create success on and off the field.”
Nominations for the four Coach of the Year Awards must be fully completed and submitted prior to Nov. 26, 2014, after which they will be reviewed by an independent panel of USA Rugby Members. Award recipients will also be nominated for consideration in the United States Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year Recognition Program.