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News & More

Important Announcement about 2019 Reunion Weekend

Penn State Rugby Family,

We are excited to announce that the 2019 Annual PSU Rugby Friends and Family Reunion Weekend (formerly “Alumni Weekend”) will take place on September 28, 2019 with the highlight of the weekend being competitive undergraduate matches. This marks a departure from our tradition of holding Reunion Weekend on the same weekend as Move-in Weekend, the weekend prior to the start of classes in August. After discussing the pros and cons of continuing to hold the event before the start of the fall semester, it was decided that moving the event to a later date would be optimal for the Program at this time.

Our head coaches broached the subject of moving the Reunion Weekend over a year ago. They informed the Board that moving the event would benefit the teams for two main reasons. First, with new players only arriving on campus on move-in weekend, neither team has the opportunity to add incoming freshman, who tryout the two weeks after move-in weekend. Accordingly, the undergraduate teams are now limited to fielding a roster of only returning players for a match against the Alumni. This makes it difficult to field an adequate roster for the match especially during years after a large class graduates. Also, the timing of try-outs makes a week-long training camp prior to the move-in weekend less productive. Second, and more importantly, there is the concern of growing risk to the teams. The fall season has become increasingly competitive and neither team can afford to lose a player in a social match, especially if the rumblings about moving the XVs national championship to the fall come to fruition. On the Alumni side, it has become more and more difficult to field full teams -- though we do very much appreciate the peer pressure, boot lending, and borrowed undergrad subs, which have allowed us to put out Alumni sides on the pitch over the past several years!

The Board and Coaches also believe this is an opportunity to strengthen the connections between the Alumni, current players and the families of players. Our Penn State Rugby Family has grown exponentially over the past decade and this growth includes the families of both current players and Alumni. We believe it is best for the Program to encourage everyone who loves Penn State Rugby to stand together on the sidelines in Happy Valley at a match against a long-time rival, and then get to know each other better at dinner.

We will be keeping certain traditions for the weekend including dinner at the golf course, awards, the golf outing and maybe a touch match between the undergrad matches. We’re also open to hearing what you would like to see during Reunion Weekend! Also, we will still set up hotel blocks during this away football weekend.

While we understand that this change may present challenges for some, we trust you can appreciate that moving the date is what is best for the Program, and supporting the teams is always our primary goal. This is a pilot for 2019 and it is always possible to make adjustments in following years. We hope that providing notice a year in advance allows you to “save the date” for your return to State College next fall. We cannot wait to see all of our Alumni, friends, and families of players - past and present - the weekend of September 28, 2019. More details will be provided at the beginning of 2019. Thank you for your continued support of the Penn State Rugby Program.

Sincerely,
The Penn State Rugby Booster Club Board of Directors

Penn State Rugby Alumni Club Undergoes Reorganization

At the 2018 Reunion Weekend in August, the Alumni Board announced the reorganization of the Alumni Club into a Booster Club in an effort to maximize our resources. We also announced the formation of a new organization, the Penn State Rugby Foundation, which will have the goal of raising enough money to guarantee an elite program on campus forever.

Traditionally, the Penn State Rugby Alumni Club has functioned as the organizational and financial supporter of the Teams.  For the past 25 years the Alumni Club has run events, provided updates on the teams, worked with the University, stocked and sold merchandise, networked, and provided financial support to the Teams.  Last fiscal year was one of the most successful we can remember with the Alumni Club working with parents and alumni to raise over $100,000 to support coaching, travel, and other needs.

The Penn State Rugby Program has always been fortunate to have so many of our players’ parents providing fundraising and logistical assistance to the Alumni Club. In more recent years the Alumni Club has worked to strengthen its relationship with the parents by reaching out to them directly and with the change in the designation of “Alumni Weekend” to “Friends & Family Weekend.” Due to the increased number of parents who are interested in providing meaningful and regular support to the program, the Alumni Club decided to transition to a Booster Club structure that would enable parents and other friends of the program to take on more formal roles. Alumni will not see much change in terms of the operation of the Booster Club.  You will still receive updates. Events will still be run, and the Lost Lions will work to connect alumni from different generations.  However with the additional support of the parent network we will be able to enhance the game day experience, add additional fundraising support, and provide more networking opportunities to help you connect to the current team.

The Alumni Club has discussed creating a foundation over the last few years but the necessity of it has become even more apparent due to the University’s refusal to disclose any information regarding its long-term plans for the Rugby Program.  In fact, we have been encouraged by Athletic Department employees to start a long-term fundraising campaign to demonstrate to the University that the Alumni, Parents, and Friends of the program are able to make a significant contribution. The Penn State Rugby Foundation will be the vehicle for that long-term fundraising campaign.

We have identified 11 “Founding Members” who have each committed to a $5,000/year donation or fundraising goal for the first 2 years of the Foundation.  The commitment from the Founding Members will fund the Foundation’s operations, including the hiring of an executive director with experience in running fundraising campaigns of this nature.  The Foundation’s goal is to start with 20 founding members, so if you would like to be part of this important moment in Penn State Rugby history please email Pete Steinberg (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  We would like our founding members to be in place by the end of the year. Thank you for your consideration and please reach out to Pete with any questions.

Reunion Weekend A Rousing Success

Thank you to everyone who traveled to Happy Valley for the 2018 Penn State Rugby Friends and Family Weekend! More than 200 people attended this year’s festivities, which were kicked off on Friday with the Alumni Golf Outing. Tim Antoian and Chris “Nova” Wolff took charge of the event this year with over 20 golfers playing “scramble” golf on the Blue Course. On Friday evening, we celebrated the founders of the Women’s Program at a dinner at the Nittany Lion Inn. Everyone who attended was treated to hearing the team’s pioneers recount how it all started and how much their experiences and the program’s overall journey has meant to them. On Saturday, the Alumni played the undergrad teams in perfect weather conditions on real grass with Beaver Stadium in the background – just like the old days! The matches were competitive and fun for both players and spectators.

Read more: Reunion Weekend A Rousing Success

Chris Henry's Saving Grace

At the start of 1986, Chris ‘Baby’ Henry didn’t know rugby would eventually save her life. In fact, she barely knew what rugby was.  But, that changed when her college roommate told her to come her rugby match.

Mid-game, a player was injured, and Chris heard her roommate shout, “Hey, Baby, go get my extra cleats out of my car. Put ‘em on, we need you to hook.” The Penn State players quickly taught Chris what she needed to know and sent her on the field.

Read more: Chris Henry's Saving Grace

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