COACH'S CORNER

DUKE UNIVERSITY RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB


Message from the Coach:

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Our athletes have committed to work hard and to do what it takes to achieve excellence. I have matched their commitment and have agreed to serve for a minimum of four years (and hopefully, much longer). We will be prepared, mentally, emotionally and physically to compete with our ACC rivals in the new Atlantic Coast Rugby League. We compiled a 9-3 record in the 2009/10 season and likely would have been undefeated if not for injuries to key players. The rugby world has taken notice of our program and we were invited to move from Division 3 to Division 1. This is a huge step for our team and while becoming a national powerhouse won't happen overnight - we will become a winning program at the highest level of collegiate rugby and will do it while maintaining excellent scholastic standards at this rigorous university. Stanford has done it, Dartmouth has done it and now it is time for Duke to show the rugby world that we can do it. Mediocrity is not an option.

Our Mission Statement reflects this goal: To bring credit, honor and pride to the members of the Club, the student body and the university by adhering to an exemplary code of conduct, sportsmanship and competitive spirit while competing successfully against other collegiate rugby clubs in the state of North Carolina, the region and the nation.

Duke Rugby players winners off the field as well. We raised more than $16,000 for pediatric cancer research by shaving our heads as part of St. Baldrick's Foundation event we hosted at Duke Children's Hospital in March. Many of our players volunteer at the Children's Hospital to work with terminally ill children. Through a grant secured by assistant coach (and former US Eagle), James Gillenwater, we will be implementing an after-school touch rugby program for disadvantaged kids in Durham. We also boast one of the highest GPAs of any sports organization on campus.

We thank the Duke Club Sports Department and its director, Michael Forbes, for their support. Thanks also to assistant coaches James Gillenwater and Ian Long for taking time from their busy schedules as Duke Law students to help us achieve excellence.

New players are always welcome (no experience necessary - we'll train). We hope students will come out and watch their team play this exciting sport and support our student-athletes. International and U.S. high school rugby players with the academic credentials to be accepted to Duke should definitely apply. Duke University prides itself on being "financial need-blind" in admissions. If you have the academic excellence to be admitted to Duke, we will find a way to make it affordable. Interested recruits can sending me an email: jay AT whandco DOT com

We also will be reconnecting with former Duke rugby players, keeping you informed of our progress and inviting you along for our journey to excellence. We need and appreciate your support!

Best regards,
Jay Wisse Head Coach