News

Letter from PSURAC President Greg Gooch

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
President
Penn State Rugby Alumni Club
(917) 689-1905
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Penn State Officially Hires 2 New Coaches

Penn State Rugby Alumni Club
8th September, 2015

State College, PA
The Penn State Rugby Alumni Club has partnered with the University to support the hiring of 2 full-time coaches for the men’s and women’s rugby teams.  The recent announcement of Blake Burdette as the Men’s Head Coach and Kate Daley as the Women’s Head Coach is a huge step forward for Penn State Rugby and the culmination of several years of discussions between the alumni and the university.

 

With the hiring of Blake and Kate, Penn State Rugby has joined the ever-growing ranks of teams who have the benefit of full-time, university-employed coaches.  This step is vital to the success of PSU Rugby. To make this a reality, the Alumni Club made a financial commitment to the University to partially fund the head coach positions for three years.

 

The rugby department has gone through a significant transformation over the last year.  With club sports moving to student affairs, rugby is now fully in the Athletic Department.  The new positions are also the end of a slow re-organization pushed by the Alumni Club for many years.  The University appointed Chris Amoratis as the Director of Rugby earlier this year, and with the hiring of full-time head coaches the rugby department is now in a position to drive the game forward on campus.

 

“We are very excited about the partnership we have with the University to support the Penn State Rugby programs,” said Greg Gooch, Alumni Club President.  “Chris, Kate and Blake will be the leaders of the program, and our goal is to rally Alumni support so they can be successful.”

 

The Alumni have launched the “Invest in Change” campaign to support the new coach positions, and to help fund the operational costs of the teams and the alumni club.  The goal of the campaign is to raise over $150,000 by the 2016 Alumni Reunion Weekend with the request that alumni, parents and supporters make monthly donation.  Pledges can be made here.

 

The Penn State Alumni Club is a 501c3 devoted to the support of the Penn State Men and Women’s rugby programs.  You can find out more about the Alumni and Penn State Rugby at www.psurugby.org.

Alumni Reunion 2015 Summary

Thank you to everyone who came out to State College for our Annual Alumni Reunion! Over 300 people attended a fun, Hawaiian shirt filled weekend. The Men's Alumni edged the undergrads 63-59 and the Women's Alumni won with a score of 57-19. The matches were competitive and fun for both players and spectators.

The banquet was another enjoyable affair full of delicious food and good company. Congratulations to new Lifetime Members Brett Hoffman, Kate Daley, Jonathan "Hooker" Swart. We also honored Pete Steinberg for over 20 years of service to PSU Rugby. It was great to see all of the women alums who returned to Happy Valley to honor Pete as he passed the torch to Kate Daley, who was announced as the next Head Coach of the Women's team.

Finally, at last year's Reunion, the '89 Men's Team announced that they would be raising $89,000 for PSU Rugby. A class gift of this magnitude is unprecedented. This year, they announced that they have raised over $60,000 towards their goal! Congratulations to a team that continues to set an amazing example of giving back to the program.

Finally, I wanted to acknowledge the people who made sure the weekend went off without a hitch:

The entire Board, especially Anne Marie Blaccuti, as well as Chris and Kara Amoratis, for all of their efforts. The weekend would not have been possible without the behind-the-scenes efforts of this group.

Bob Ricketts and Fasta & Ravioli Co. for putting out yet another incredible spread.

The girls from Lindsay Pullara's studio, Dance Fusion, for their help all day on Saturday selling merchandise and babysitting.

Everyone who donated Silent Auction gifts. We raised $800!

Everyone who bought 50/50 tickets. We raised $668 for Ariel Johnson's medical bills (West Chester University Rugby Alum)

Please stay tuned for upcoming Alumni Events!