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Coach Q&A: Justin Hundley

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Justin Hundley has an impressive resume, hailing from South Africa and playing rugby from an early age. Playing at Penn State during college, he went on to compete in national championships at the New York Athletic Club. He’s also held coaching jobs with the New York Athletic Club 7s, Xavier High School and the West Point United States Military Academy.

Q: What do you think are the benefits of playing rugby?

A: The friendships you make through rugby are lifelong. It’s also a constant learning process. As a player, everything that happens in a game or in practice is an opportunity to learn, not only about rugby itself, but also about you as a person. It puts you in situations where there’s a little bit of adversity and you’ve got to work your way out of that.

Q: What are your favorite rugby moments, both as a coach and a player?

A: As a player, the championship games here at Penn State in the freezing cold rain, winning games in the last minute. I won two national championships with the New York Athletic Club; those moments as a player stand out in my mind. Getting to see the world, traveling to a number of tournaments with the New York team. Then, coaching at West Point was very special. I worked with a lot of very young men who are doing stuff for the country that puts themselves in harm’s way after they graduate, and it’s always good to see those guys again. Coming back to Penn State and coming full circle from my playing days — my first day in practice here will be a moment that stands out in my life, forever, as a coach.

Q: How are you a different person today because of rugby?

A: I think rugby has taught me good leadership skills and also taught me in terms of how I want to treat people and what kind of coach I want to be.

Q: What would you say to a young man considering rugby?

A: Give it a shot. Like with any sport, it’s not for everybody, but rugby has the benefit of being for more people than not. There’s a position for any body shape, size, speed…As a young kid or man getting into it, it’ll help you grow as a person and you’ll meet some of the best friends of your life.

Q: Why should alumni and community members support Penn State Rugby?

A: From going to school here and coaching here, I know we’re doing our best to grow these young men into good leaders…we hold them to high standards day in and day out. If someone’s looking to support the program, it’s a good program to support. It’s a good family atmosphere, and the more friends we have, the better off we’ll be.