Coaching is about more than wins and losses. It is about making a positive impact on the game, the people and the community. NCR is proud of its over 400 coaches dedicated to improving the lives of young men and women playing college rugby across the United States.
The Penn Mutual Coach of the Month program recognizes coaches who exemplify the characteristics of a strong role model, build confidence and character in their players, devote time and energy towards building for the future, and make a profound impact in the lives of their athletes and the sport of rugby.
Congratulations to Doc O'Neil, Head Coach of the Emory & Henry College Rugby Clubs, on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month for June.
Coach O'Neill is a full-time federal probation officer in Virginia. He balances his time between this work, his part-time work as the Head Rugby Coach as well as with his family. Dylan Johnson, the school administrator who nominated Doc O'Neil says " I have seen the high amount of effort and commitment to the program that Doc has exerted and I could not be more proud to work alongside him."
Johnson also says "Since 2014, Coach O’Neill has worked diligently to build the E&H Rugby Program into what it is today- a tough, determined, skilled, tight-knit community that has seen tremendous growth and success. Coach O’Neill has worked tirelessly to recruit and train his players into competitive athletes. Coach O’Neill’s work does not end following a practice or match. Doc has worked with each player individually ensuring they make important, smart decisions in regards to their future and education while in college. This holistic approach to coaching has created a team that trusts and believes in one another and in Coach O’Neill. The Emory & Henry Rugby Team’s performance rivals top performing athletic programs at our institution and beyond. This past month of March, Coach O’Neill has been prepping his team for a very impromptu season which has proven to be difficult in it’s planning process. However, despite these hurdles, Coach O’Neill has continued to build a competitive program."
In an exhibition match in early March, Emory & Henry played visiting Radford University in a game of 15s and 10s. Not only did Emory & Henry win both matches, but the Radford University club that had multiple former Division 1 athletes, went out of their way to state how well coached the E&H team was and how well of a job Coach O’Neill had done in preparing them for the match and being great stewards of the game of Rugby.
Dylan Johnson closes his nomination with "Coach O’Neill has been relentless in his pursuit and advocacy for his program and the institution looks highly upon the Rugby Program as a result of his efforts. "
Past accolades for Coach O'Neill include the 2018 Cardinal Conference Coach of the Year.
Great job Coach O'Neil and Congratulations!
Congratulations to Ryan Grant, Head Coach of the College of the Holy Cross Men’s Rugby Club on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month.
Coach Grant has been coaching for five years and coaches in the Small Colleges Division of the NERFU Colleges Conference with NCR. Coach Grant was nominated for Coach of The Month because he injected a level of structure and passion to take the club to the next level immediately upon arrival.
Ryan was nominated by Senior Player Jack Vaughn who says "On the field, the team has enjoyed great success, having winning seasons in each of the five campaigns with Coach Grant at the helm, including a NERFU title and a trip to the NSCRO Quarter-Finals last year. Most notably however has been Coach Grant's impact on the club off the field. In collaboration with the leaders of the team, he established HCRFC's core values as Gratitude, Selflessness, Responsibility to Improve, and Brotherhood. Under Coach Grant, the club has doubled in size with each player completely buying into the values of the club. HCRFC has become the most charitable team at Holy Cross at the Varsity or Club level, organizing weekly volunteering in collaboration with Holy Cross' Student Program for Urban Development, annual fundraisers raising thousands of dollars, as well as food-drives for the Worcester community. Under Coach Grant, the quality of the players' rugby ability has grown tremendously, but more than that each member of the club has benefitted from a culture which has nurtured appreciation of the sport, love for our teammates, and care for the community.
Great job Coach Grant and Congratulations!
Congratulations to Thomas Clark (T.C), Director of Rugby for Tufts University Men’s Rugby Club, on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month.
Coach Clark has been coaching for more than five years, is the Director of Rugby for Tufts University, the Operations Director for Northeast Academy-Boston, the Coach of Mystic River Rugby Club and the Varsity Coach, St. John’s Prep. T.C. was nominated for Coach of The Month his active engagement in the NCR Fall programming and his willingness to support and participate in future coach development opportunities.
He says “There is something about the sport of rugby that mirrors our life experiences. How players respond to adversity and success on the field can tell you a lot about their character and mental resiliency off the field.
At a small school like Tufts, building a successful program is measured not by wins and losses, but by the growth and development of our players as they embark on their life’s journey after college.
We are extremely excited that Liberty Conference made the decision to join National Collegiate Rugby (NCR). Tufts was a proud member of NSCRO for many years and we know firsthand the commitment of NCR to inspiring and fostering the growth and development of our student athletes and coaches.”
Congratulations to Tyler Scott, Head Coach of Grace Colleges Women’s Rugby Club on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month.
Tyler got hooked on rugby during a summer abroad in Australia. During his senior year of college (2006) he joined the local club in Greenville, SC and played with them until he completed grad school in 2014. His first job was at Northwestern College in Orange City, IA where he was able to get a club started with Bryn Chivers. When he moved to Grace College in 2018, they were looking to expand their athletic programs and emphasized club sports. Being a full-time employee as a physics professor, made it easier for them to get the women’s rugby club started. Tyler has played rugby for about 10 years and has coached for about four.
Within the last year, Tyler has established a brand new program, recruited, and built a campus presence during the COVID19 pandemic. In the Fall 2020 season, not only did he lead his team to the #NCRVirtualRugbySeason playoffs, but he actually got his team on the field. The Grace College women played a 7s series with Tiffin University allowing their new team to maintain during its infancy. Angela Smarto, NCR Interim Women’s Director, who nominated Tyler, said “creating a real and virtual rugby experience for a new team this season was so much work, and I admire his commitment to grow his team.”
Congratulations to Jeremy Ognall, Head Coach of Claremont Colleges Men’s Rugby Clubs on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month.
Jeremy says, “While I appreciate the award and the recognition from NCR that goes with it, I would like to say that it’s clearly an award earned over the past six years of NCSRO success for The Claremont Colleges rugby program. It’s due to the amazing support that I have had from my Associate Head Coach and lifelong friend, Scott Bracken, and the significant addition four years ago of Ray Egan who truly helped transform us. That support along with the rest of our amazing staff, Lauren Klein, Brandon Johnson and Zach Ognall and those before them made all things possible. But undoubtedly the biggest acknowledgment goes to our players who have never wavered and continually pursue excellence in all they do. Captains Grant Frazier, Sean Pyne, Brendan MacDonald, Conner Pederson and now Jeremy Seow, with all who played under them, made my role infinitely rewarding. It’s fitting that THEY get this award also. I would like to thank NCR for their continued pursuit of excellence in College Rugby, specifically the small college element, especially Steve Hiatt and Jeremy Treece who acknowledge the hard work that has gone into making Claremont so great and the Team of the Decade within NSCRO. Also thanks to all at NCR for keeping us engaged in rugby while COVID pervades, it’s nice to have hope.”
In his nomination, a former player states that Jeremy Ognall is not just a great rugby coach, he is an incredible motivator, administrator, friend and mentor. When Jeremy took over as the Claremont Rugby coach in 2009, he put in place structures and instilled an attitude of professionalism that have set the standard for what it means to be a Claremont Rugby Lion. He has been instrumental in building and improving every part of the program, from fundraising and alumni engagement to media/public relations and relations with each of The Claremont Colleges’ administrations.
Jeremy’s efforts have paid massive dividends over the last decade, as is evidenced by Claremont’s immense on the field success. Claremont secured the USA Rugby Collegiate Division II 15s National Championship in 2010, the NSCRO 15s National Championship in 2017 and 2019, and the NSCRO 7s National Championship in 2018. Claremont Rugby has also advanced to the 15s national Elite Eight or further seven times (2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and the 7s national Elite Eight or further seven times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). During the 2015-16 season, Claremont became the first NSCRO team ever to qualify for both the NSCRO 15s Final 4 and the NSCRO 7s National Championship.
While the on-field success and administrative strides Jeremy has helped facilitate are no doubt important, his greatest influence on the program has been his impact on the players themselves. From day one Jeremy has emphasized the importance of top-flight leadership at the player level, camaraderie, brotherhood, accountability, and legacy. He not only preaches these things, but lives them, and it shows in the love his players have for him and for each other. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that many alums and current players consider Jeremy to be an extension of their families. He supports his players in all their pursuits – academic, athletic, professional, and otherwise.