Now, they aren't kicking me to the curb, they offered me the position of Director of Rugby. This position would continue to set up match schedules, match reports and make an attempt to work with Chris Gormley. I asked if I would have input in the selection of the new coach, and input in practice or matches? Their answer, I could make recommendations, to the new coach and officers.
I thought this over, and with the years that I've invested into the club, to have to ask to do something or to be part of the club? No, I couldn't and can't do that, so I've decided that I am going to step away from UT Dallas Rugby.
I remember our first practice, 8 years ago, when I looked at 45 potential players and asked how many of them had ever played rugby and 6 players raised their hands. Going into our first tournament, and scoring a Try against Rice University in our first match. I knew things were going to be fun. The guys didn't care about winning or losing, they just wanted to play.
Going into our first league match, we were losing by 8 points at half time. I told the guys that if they would make tackles, we could win the game. By the end of the game, we won by 35 points. This pattern continued throughout that first season. Going into our first playoff match, we got rained out on Saturday and ended up playing that match at 8:00am Sunday morning, another game, another victory. This would bring us to the championship match against UTSA. This was probably the most physical match we had played all season, we were again down to UTSA going into the final minutes of the game when, inside center Dominic Prestia broke through and ran 30 meters to score the game winning Try. A Cinderella club from no where, came out played 7 friendly and 7 league matches and win their first state championship, no way, but yes they did it.
There were other moments with this game that I'll always remember, like having 300 plus UT Dallas fans line the pitch to watch us play that championship match. Watching our club President and Captain Nathan Sohadaseni accept the trophy for winning that first state championship. Remember, up until then most if not all of the players had never won anything.
Then there was us going undefeated for 3 consecutive seasons only to lose in our 3rd appearance in a state championship. So 2 state championships and runner up in a third, being nationally ranked as high as 8th in the nation out of 218 clubs, Not to bad for a bunch of guys who had never seen a rugby ball or even played sports.
I then added a friend John "Bear" Hinson (Thanks) to help me coach the forwards, he joined us that second season and has been with us through thick and thin. With so many players coming in and graduating, I can't name them all or the impact they made on me or the club, so if I miss some of you I apologize. I already mentioned Nathan and Dominic, then there were guys like Sunshine, AJ, Shawn, Zach and Urbold, they all fancied playing one position on the pitch, then I asked them to play another and they did, for the best of the club. Wings like Alejandro and Hudac, Locks like the silent assassins John and Weston.
Then there are players like Cameron, Vince and Andrew, Victor, Ben, Daniel, Caleb. These guys came to play, some knew what they could do, others realized it and shined like no other on the pitch. I added coaches like Pete and Daniel to help out and those guys added a whole lot to the lads and I'm grateful to them.
Thank you to the parents who helped not only the UT Dallas Rugby Club, but me. Steven Shaffers dad, who designed the goal post pads and our score board, John and Heather Bradshaw for their years of support, Scott and Rebecca Yale for making Suzi and me a part of their family.
Good luck to UT Dallas Rugby Club in the all of you future matches.