September 30, 2015
Dear Fellow Alumni, Supporters, Parents, and Players,
I am excited to announce that a new era of Penn State Rugby has officially begun. As you may have heard, Penn State recently hired full-time head coaches for the Men's and Women's Teams. The hiring of Blake Burdette and Kate Daley, along with Chris Amoratis as the Director of Rugby, is a huge step forward for the program. However, now is not the time for the PSU Rugby Alumni to rest on their laurels. Now is the time to invest in change. The Alumni have made a 3-year commitment to the University to partially fund the head coach positions. In order to fulfill our commitment and to ensure that our teams have everything they need to succeed in an extremely competitive environment, the Alumni Club has launched the "Invest in Change" campaign with the goal of raising over $150,000 by next year's Alumni Reunion. PSU Rugby has never needed its Alumni more than now.
Over the last decade, the competitive landscape in the Men's game has exploded. Where there used to be a single, dominant program (Cal), the top tier is now occupied by many teams who have benefitted from the increased support of their school administrations and alumni. Many of these programs have scholarships and full-time staffing. On the Women's side, there are many programs poised to challenge PSU's dominion over the competition for the same reasons. In fact, the last 4 teams that the Women faced during the playoffs all offer scholarships to high school recruits. While the Women had their most successful year ever in 2015, staying on top will become much harder as more and more programs commit the resources necessary to challenge them.
When the University staff first created full-time positions for the rugby program, the administrative and coaching duties were combined in one position. This model did not work. The program needed full-time coaches and a full-time administrator in order to compete. As a result of the Alumni's push for change and willingness to put down money to make it happen, PSU Rugby now has a sustainable, effective organizational structure, which will enable the Men's team to take its rightful place among the nation's elite and the Women's team to stay on top.
Recognizing how critical the next few years are to PSU Rugby's long-term success and stability, the Alumni Club has begun a year-long reorganization to serve both you and the program better. Our efforts will include revamping how we connect with the Alumni and parents with more regional events, including upcoming meet and greets with the new head coaches in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, better managing our merchandising, and improving the connection between the Alumni and the Teams as well as to each other. I am excited about the engagement of our current board members and the number of you who have committed to helping us with this mission.
The goal of the "Invest in Change" campaign is to raise over $150,000. These donations will ensure that we can support the head coach positions beyond the current 3-year commitment, as well as fund coaching stipends, the teams' travel, and Alumni Club infrastructure.
With the support of the Alumni in attendance at this year's reunion we already have over $70,000 pledged to this campaign. In order to help the coaches and Director plan for the current season and the rest of the year, our goal is to have $150,000 pledged by December 1, 2015. Please consider joining the many Alumni who have pledged to make a monthly payment over the course of the next 12 months.
The following is a suggested pledge amount based on graduation year:
• Graduated 2005 or before: $100+/month
• Graduated 2006-2010: $50/month
• Graduated 2011-2014: $20/month
• Graduated 2015: $10/month
With your help we can help support the Men's and Women's teams on the pitch this season and build a strong foundation for their success in the many seasons to come.
Thank you all for your passion and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours in rugby,
Greg "Wombat" Gooch
Penn State Rugby Alumni Club