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An Introduction to Daniel Szkudlapski, Penn State Rugby’s Director of Operations

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An Introduction to Daniel Szkudlapski, Penn State Rugby’s Director of Operations

Penn State Rugby could never be the blue and white community that it is without its teams running smoothly both on and off the field. In fact, it is the family off the field — the kind that roots for the players and manages the communication and inter-workings among coaches — that helps run the show. Daniel Szkudlapski, who is now living and breathing Penn State Rugby on the daily, is one such family member. He has been working as the new PSU Rugby Director of Operations since the beginning of the 2019 fall semester following the resignation of Lauren Daly in June.

Szkudlapski collaborates with both Men’s and Women’s Rugby to ensure that both contend for the national championship all while supporting the student athletes in their pursuit of academic excellence and integrity.

“As Director of Operations, my job is to make sure that every aspect of the program off the field is being covered so that the coaches can put as much time and energy as possible into coaching,” he said.
“Anything from travel scheduling, to alumni relations, to office maintenance, to website management, I like to make sure that all of the bases are covered.”

This great opportunity did not just fall into Szkudlapski’s plate, however.

“I like to think a big reason why I was selected for this specific position is because my passion for Penn State is hard to match. My parents met while they were attending Penn State. I am the youngest of five siblings, all of whom attended Penn State. I’ve pretty much grown up living and breathing blue and white, and therefore I have a great deal of pride in this University and its athletic department as a whole,” said Szkudlapski.”

“I also have an equal appreciation for the sport of rugby; to see how far it has come is exciting, but for me, seeing how much growth potential it still has is what really drew me to apply for this position. If I can come into this role and end up being able to play a part in the growth and expansion of Penn State Rugby, I’ll feel like I did what I came here to do – both as a rugby fan and a PSU alum.”

He first shook hands with the rugby community back when he joined the Cardinal O’Hara High School rugby team in Springfield, PA as a teen.

“I played rugby in high school at Cardinal O’Hara in Springfield, PA. I immediately fell in love with the sport and was considering getting involved with a club team wherever I ended up going to college, but unfortunately being injury-prone and playing a high-contact sport like rugby aren’t always a great mix and I was forced to call it quits after high school. I have still continued to follow the national rugby scene as well as college; I had a couple of good friends go on to play in college as well.”

Szkudlapski’s love of the sport and experience interning with the Lady Lions basketball team inspired his vision for Penn State Rugby.

“I was fortunate enough to intern as Assistant Director of Basketball Operations for the Penn State Lady Lions last semester. Getting an inside view of a prestigious Penn State program really opened my eyes to a lot of good opportunities and ideas that I hope to transfer and implement here with the rugby team,” he said.

“With the great success on the field that the teams have, I want to make the program as a whole feels like a successful and thriving program in all aspects of the day-to-day operations – they certainly deserve to.”

Szkudlapski has many goals and aspirations for what the PSU Rugby program can be but is also making strides to maintain all the great aspects that the current program has provided to players, families, and supporters.

“In my short stint here, I have been really bent on improving our website and our social media. I want to make sure that our team websites are on the same level as all the 31 varsity teams here at Penn State. I have also been beginning to work with a PR group to discuss our social media presence and more effective ways to drive in recruits, fans, and alumni in order to continuously garner support for the program.”