Tag Archives: Rugby

Duane Castro – RIP

Duane Stephen Castro
Date of Birth: August 4, 1954
Date of Death: April 28, 1980

I knew Duane well as I was a pilot in his unit at Ft. Bragg, NC when he was killed. Duane and I worked in the same office as he was the Supply Officer and I the Budget Officer. He and I flew many flights together as he enjoyed flying along on my OH-58A trips. At that time the OH-58’s were flown with one pilot so I took him along when I had an extra seat. He so loved flying and was a good pilot. I remember well the trip his accident occurred on as I had flown that same aircraft the day before on the same mission. The weather was so bad I cancelled the mission he was flying that day. There is no way I was going to slug my way back through that weather on the following day again. How he ended up flying that day I will never know. It was a sad day I remember well and he was so missed for all these years. I think of him often.
Eddie L. Hill

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Dorian Anderson

DorianAnderson_ArmyLFB_1974

“Selected for induction into the Army Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012…honorees will be officially inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 28. A special plaque unveiling ceremony will be held in the Kenna Hall of Army Sports inside Kimsey Athletic Center, with the formal black-tie Hall of Fame Induction Banquet set for Eisenhower Hall later that evening. The group will also be recognized during Army’s football game against Stony Brook the next day at Michie Stadium with a special photograph and autograph session planned on Black Knights Alley prior to the contest.

Anderson, a 1975 graduate, earned two varsity letters in both sprint football and wrestling and was the first sprint football player to take home the prestigious Army Athletic Association award.

On the football field, Anderson earned varsity letters twice. As a senior, he led the team with 435 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He averaged nine yards per carry and also caught a touchdown pass. During his three seasons with the team, Army went 18-0 and beat Navy by scores of 41-0, 27-24 and 28-12.

As a member of the wrestling team, Anderson won four dual matches in both his sophomore and senior seasons.

A fifth-place finisher at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in 1974, Anderson also served as a regimental commander within the Corps of Cadets. He retired from the military with the rank of Major General. After serving as Commanding General, U.S. Army Human Resources Command…”

http://www.goarmysports.com/genrel/061112aac.html

Rugby 2010

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Paul McNamara

Rugby (Right Wing) Cow & Firstie Years. Paul played in the Old Gray Game following the dedication of the new Anderson Rugby Complex.

Rugby – Spring of 1962


Dave Mundt

Rugby – Cow & Firstie Years

Doc Ellis

Robert Llewellyn Ellis
Rugby Cow & Firstie Years

Rugby at West Point

An Article from the Irish Times – Saturday Dec 2008

BAND OF BROTHERS: DESPITE BEING the ancestor of American Football, rugby is a relatively minor amateur sport in the United States. But at the elite military academy of West Point, New York, the game is flourishing for a simple reason: with its demanding technique, the need for rapid individual decision making and – above all – its warrior culture, rugby is considered the best possible sporting preparation for the controlled chaos of the battlefield.

Five minutes before kick-off, and coach “Rich Pohlidal” wants his men to know that the demands of daily life at West Point should give them an edge. “Look these guys in the eye and ask them where they live – what can they do to us? Hardship is good, suffering is good – you know it makes us stronger!”

A few seconds later, all 60 players on the rugby programme gather in the centre of the lockerroom and kneel for the prayer, followed by a poem written specially for the occasion – the sentiments are a little less Christian. Finally, the group huddles even closer, throwing their hands into the middle: “One, two, three, BROTHERS!” They file out, steel cleats clicking on the floor, to meet today’s opponents – Boston College – in a game they hope will prepare them for the much harder challenges of tomorrow.

Outside, heavy rain is lashing down diagonally across Warrior Field, driven by gusts of up to 60mph. Rugby is a winter sport, but even professionals find it hard to cope when the elements are at their worst. Most of the team are new to rugby, having discovered it at the academy – in these conditions, their lack of experience could easily lead to handling errors and poor tactical choices. But they display some exceptional individual skills and play intelligently, occupying territory with tactical kicks when the wind is at their backs before punching holes in the defence close to the goal line. At half-time the score is 19-0 to West Point. When they turn into the wind they keep the ball tight in among the forward pack, and start to grind down their opponents. Even if their discipline, fitness and all-round focus is no surprise, it is still a remarkable performance. Final score: 43-3 to the cadets. “If there was a team that was going to come out on top in that kind of weather, it had to be the army,” grins Coach Pohlidal.

At West Point, every cadet is an athlete: there are physical tests to pass as well as academic and military examinations. But the importance of sport runs deeper than simple physical testing – the spirit of competition is at the heart of a West Point education. Col “Greg Daniels” is Master of the Sword, director of physical education, at West Point. On his wall hangs a painting of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in the second World War and Superintendent of West Point from 1919-1922; along the bottom of the painting run MacArthur’s words: “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory.”

For Daniels, the game of rugby is quite simply the best sporting preparation for the rigours of war: “Rugby replicates, in a very elegant way, the potential situations of combat. It’s a slightly better way to do it than American Football – and I’m a big fan of American Football. While both sports are high impact and have a team working toward a common goal where you can’t rely on any one individual, only certain positions are truly exposed in American Football. In rugby, however, everyone is making tactical and technical decisions in real time, and there are fewer breaks in play so it’s physically very demanding.”

The culture that surrounds rugby is another point in its favour for the army. “These guys embrace adversity – difficult weather conditions, for example, are welcomed as a badge of honour – and they are imbued with the warrior ethos.”

Cadets have a host of branch options, with possibilities as diverse as finance, engineering or the infantry. Almost without exception, rugby players choose combat arms. Since 2006, West Point has instituted the Alexander Nininger Award (Medal of Honor recipient) “for Valour at Arms”. Two of the three recipients are former players, a remarkable statistic considering less than 20 players a year graduate in a class of over 900.

Courage in combat is not without its risks, and Coach Pohlidal has buried six former players, one of whom has his ashes scattered on Warrior Field.

Rugby came to West Point in 1961, when cadet John Taylor gathered together 40-odd classmates for the first team practice on an isolated, muddy field. To begin with he could count on their enthusiasm and little else: they had one rugby ball and a cadet who had played rugby for a few years at school in Chile as coach. They didn’t win a game in their first season, but progress was fast, and for some decades have been proud to describe themselves as “the winningest team at West Point”.

Although they are yet to win a national championship, West Point have qualified for the Sweet 16 every year since the collegiate championship play-off system was established in 1980. Until 2007, the Academy lacked a first-class facility, but the inauguration of the Anderson Rugby Complex in May last year has changed all that. Built at a total cost of over $8.35 million and boasting a state of the art all-weather practice pitch alongside the main field, which are both floodlit, on-site weights room and high-tech video gear for match analysis, the ARC is on a par with training complexes at professional clubs in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere.

Afternoons before training during the week, the lockerroom at the complex takes on the air of a fraternity: “The guys like to come down and hang out when they have some free time between classes and practise,” says Pohlidal. Life at West Point is demanding, to say the least: a typical day begins with breakfast formation at 6.30am and the first class starts at 7.30am, so any chance of downtime is welcome.

A television in the corner screens the weekend’s games from the European championship, and the smell of gear that should have been washed yesterday mingled with chatter and laughter is typical of lockerrooms anywhere. But there is something more as well – beneath the relaxed atmosphere is an undercurrent of tension, and it is hard to ignore the singular task for which these young men are ultimately preparing.

No matter how seriously they take their rugby, ultimately the game is only a stepping stone – soon, they will be leading men into battle, where the consequences of a bad decision or sloppy execution will be much greater than a lost match.

“Tommy Sandonato”, the hooker and team captain, has a ready smile and a pit bull jawline, typifying the West Point ruggers’ mix of easy good nature and mental toughness. In his last year at West Point, he already has one eye on the future. “I do think about combat. I’ve come to terms with it because, for a long time now I’ve wanted to be involved and the army offers me the most direct way to do good,” he says. Sandonato is confident that leadership and decision-making skills learned on the rugby field will feed through into his responsibilities as an officer.

“I think the most direct correlation will be in observing what the other guys are doing and reacting to that, looking for their weakness and exploiting it together as a unit. Other sports have that tactical aspect but only rugby has it on the fly – you have to adjust during phases, communicate solutions and anticipate the results. And you can’t just think ‘I’ve done the right thing’ and leave it there, you have to be responsible for the whole mission. If we beat Al Qaeda in Iraq but destroy the state, then that’s no good.”

Major “Mark DeRocchi”, a veteran of Iraq and now an officer representative with the club, sees the channelling of aggression and the emotional discipline required in rugby as another useful skill that translates to the battlefield. “Combat is very intense, but you have to be able to switch on and off as the situation requires, and that can change in the space of a minute. We were in a firefight, for example, chasing insurgents, and as we turned a corner we came across a young boy who was injured. Very quickly we had to assess whether or not this was a trap or whether he was an innocent bystander – it turned out he was – and take the appropriate action. Rugby obliges you to control the adrenaline rush, to keep cool while you are fired up.”

Rugby is not just a game that helps cadets get into the right mindset for the physical danger of battle, they also enjoy it. For “Mike Sheehan”, the team’s centre, it is the highlight of his time at West Point.

“Rugby is the best thing here. It makes the rest of life – which is sometimes very hard – more enjoyable, and gives you a little extra motivation. And the rugby guys are probably the best group of friends I’ve ever had. We call ourselves brothers.” The team motto is taken from Shakespeare’s Henry V: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers/For he today that sheds his blood with me/ Shall be my brother”.

Like all the cadets, the rugby players have had to grow up fast – their determination to live their lives to the full and create memories to draw on in the harder times ahead is palpable, and it creates a tight bond between them. As Sandonato says: “We’re not a bunch of rogues but we do try to make the most of any event, which generally happens if we do it together.”

Even if the strict environment of the academy sometimes makes it a little complicated, the tradition of beer drinking that goes hand in hand with rugby around the world seems to be respected here: two members of the programme were recently disciplined for sneaking out one Sunday after midnight for a few restorative ales.

Perhaps it wasn’t the drinking, but rugby’s esprit de corps is what attracted “Samuel Aidoo” to the game. He had the opportunity to come to West Point after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a private in the Rangers. “The platoon leaders I had come into contact with were rugby guys, and I wanted to stay close to the kind of people that rugby attracts. They were very focused, effective leaders, who emphasised individual responsibility and the importance of the team. There was no room for stars – it was all about self-sacrifice.”

The culture of self-sacrifice is omnipresent at West Point, where the motto is Duty Honor Country, but it is particularly evident one weekday afternoon as the team runs through a tackling drill. Pohlidal tells the ball carriers to “facilitate the tackle”, and his orders are followed to the letter as they turn themselves into moving targets: in almost suicidal fashion they jog slowly toward their team-mates without lowering themselves into a defensive stance or trying to avoid the hit.

In the eyes of a professional, this would look hopelessly naive – here, putting your body on the line in the service of others is a fact of life. Time and again they are smashed to the ground, then get up and go to take their turn as tacklers. Nobody flinches.

Russ Grimm

RussGrimm_1976_ArmyLFB-1975_RobensonMVP75

Rugby

In the closing days of World War II, Brigadier General Charles Canham, then assistant division commander of the 8th Infantry Division, was about to receive the surrender of a German Unit.

“I’m here to receive your surrender,” he told the three- star German commander, who replied “I won’t surrender until I see your credentials”.

Canham gestured to the Riflemen accompanying him:

“These are my credentials.”

Founders of Rugby at West Point — The Army Rugby Team – Spring of 1962:

The Class of 1962 are the Founders of Rugby at West Point. One of those first “Can Do” Rugby players was to become Army Chief of Staff. He understood the profound significance of General Canham’s response …. and the sacred and inherent obligation officers have to the soldiers under their command.

Currently the only names listed are Class of 1962 – The Can Do Class.

Extreme upper left in soccer uniform – Coach “Ric Cesped”;
70 John Taylor – Founder; 6X Mike Schredl – Left Prop; 65 Dean Stanley; XX Denis Reimer – Right Prop;
62 George Tank Telenko – RFC Scrum Lock; 40 Bob DeVries (Left Wing); 20 Bill Scherr – Scrum Half; 44 Russ DeVries (Right Wing); 93 Dick DuncanDave Mundt not in Team picture due to injury. Paul McNamara (Right Wing) also not in Team picture.


Probably Ric Cesped standing and Russ DeVries #44

John Taylor Class of ’62 the driving force in founding Rugby, dedicates what Rugby is in 2008/2009 to our Classmate “Ric Cesped” Rugby’s First Coach:
Rugby at West Point – An Article from the Irish Times – Saturday Dec 2008
http://forwhattheygaveonsaturdayafternoon.com/wp-rugby/irish-times

!New! Army RUGBY ALUMNI page:

http://armyrugbyalumni.com/Army_Rugby_Alumni/Home.html

Click on “Photos”
http://armyrugbyalumni.com/Army_Rugby_Alumni/Photos/Photos.html
to see some 70 photos from the decade pages:

Army Rugby, 60s
Army Rugby, 70s
Army Rugby, 80s
Army Rugby, 90s

Army Rugby, 00s

More photos and information are welcomed – send to armyrugbyalumni@gmail.com.

Note- These photos were once hosted by USCC but are no longer available at the Rugby club page. However, if you want to follow the current Men’s and Women’s Army Rugby teams i.e. view roster, schedule etc. (current as of 2013) go to:

http://www.usma.edu/rugby/SitePages/Home.aspx
click on Competitive Sports for Men’s and Women’s Rugby:
http://www.usma.edu/dca/SitePages/Competitive%20Sports.aspx

West Point Rugby on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/WestPointRugby?ref=stream&hc_location=stream

West Point Women’s Rugby on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Point-Womens-Rugby/222697878865

The First Army Men’s Rugby Team – 1961

The Early Years: It was gloom period 1961. Since the previous summer John Taylor ’62 was intent in bringing the game of rugby-football to West Point. He knew that once started it would spread like wildfire adding to the long tradition of leaning how to win by competing in the fields of friendly strife. He faced a tough challenge. Little support from organized sports at the Academy, no funds, no experienced players, no coach, and no fields to call home. John persisted against all odds. He got the support of Pete Dawkins, who had made fame first as an All-American Football player and later as a successful rugby player while at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. He gathered positive feedback from the Corps, Finally John received a personal letter from General “William Westmoreland”, the Superintendent, authorizing the formation of a Class B competitive Club.
From the surveys that John conducted he learned of a classmate from Chile, “Ric Cesped”, who had played rugby. I first met John in March 1961. John infected me with his enthusiasm to add rugby-football to the sports practiced at West Point. Would I coach? Coaching was an art about which I knew nothing – although I had been blessed with wonderful coaches in my life. My rugby experienced was limited to playing wing forward for 6 years at the Grange School, an English Boarding School in Chile, with some success as a player. To coach in English, my second language was a daunting thought. But I could not refuse John’s request and thus I joined him in starting the Army Rugby-Football Club and in creating the first team of what would become the seed to the most successful sport in the history of West Point.
Authorized to start the Club John, raised enough funds to buy a few rugby balls, whistles, and rulebooks. In recalling those early days Bill Scherr ’62, Army Rugby’s first great scrum half recalls… (our first practices we didn’t have uniforms. During practices, half of us had to turn our USMA Sweat Shirts inside out to distinguish the two sides. One afternoon, walking back to the barracks after practice, I was written up by the OIC for being out of uniform because I was wearing my muddy sweatshirt inside out. My understanding TAC threw it out). Later, Coach Palone loaned us Army soccer equipment and much came from the B football team. We were assigned the furthest-most field on Post (Target Field located by the Hudson River) where only the NYC railroad trains would visit us, once in a while. If you got injured, your teammates would have to carry you back. John took the lead on all administrative tasks and in learning how to finds rugby teams to challenge. He also played whenever and wherever there was a need. At the time, rugby in the USA was played mainly in Ivy League schools, in the West Coast at Stanford and Cal, and by Clubs formed mostly by immigrant enthusiasts from traditional rugby countries like England, Ireland, France, Australia and South Africa. The Rugby Clubs were the best teams around and were known for having the best party traditions in American sport circles.
Those who volunteered to start the Rugby Club finally gathered at our lonely playing field. About 40 cadets from all four classes showed up on that cold April day. Their backgrounds were B squad football, 150 lb. football, soccer, and ice hockey and intramurder jocks. Not one of the prospective players knew what rugby was all about. Within minutes John and I realized that creating a respectful Army rugby team would be a bigger challenge than we ever imagined, specially doing so safely and without serious injury. Learning the basics on how to tackle (not block), how to use your feet (after all the game is called rugby-football because the feet play an important part in winning the game), how to constantly pass the ball to your team-mates (and not hang-on to the ball while trying to gain as many yards as possible), how to play without rest in 45 minutes halves, how to form loose scrums to retain control of the ball, etc would be the key to our mission… and so, we started with the basics. But the volunteers wanted to “play” the game, and so, we started playing a little at a time, with the one practice ball we had, selecting in the process an A and a B team, without regards to class standing, and without loosing focus of the need to master the basics. We all learned at the same time, not only how to play the game but how to do a better job of coaching the game and administering the emerging organization. By late April 1961 we were ready to try our new skills, against one of the best rugby clubs in the East — the Westchester NY Rugby Club (NYRC). It would be a learning experience — Army lost, but the score was very close, and our heads were held high. In the process, we gained confidence and we became a better team. Rugby had become part of our life at West Point.
In our second year, spring 1962, we again focused on the basics while learning to improve our teamwork. John had organized a full schedule of games ending the season with a match against “our teachers of an earlier year… the Westchester NYRC. We started fielding one team. We had about 40 – 50 club members by then. General “William Westmoreland” and his wife took interest in our Club and we got more support including a medic and an ambulance in case of serious injury. Once in a while they would show up during practice and encourage us on.
We became a pretty good team, blessed with tons of enthusiasm, lots of energy and speed, fearless low tackling, a serious lack of weight and size in the forward line, and an incredible “Can Do” attitude. We needed no coaching in having a good time together or in partying in NYC when we played away. Lack of discipline in our trips was noted by the Sup. As the team departed for NYC to play Columbia it was stopped by the MPs and returned to barracks for inspection, by General Westmoreland, no less. The bus commander, Mike Schredl ’62, was requested to call him at his quarters on the team’s return to WP. In Mike’s words… “When I called him at home that Sunday evening and told him that we lost, I was expecting disciplinary action. I had visions of a 15&15 and possibly a delayed graduation. Completely opposite of the tact taken when inspecting us he expressed his sorrow over our loss and then complemented us for a good season. I am sure that he sensed the anxiety in my voice. He then commended me for seating at the front of the bus and explained that good leaders lead by example and are highly visible but, at the same time, are always aware of what the troops in the back are doing. I found General Westmoreland to be a warm, caring and compassionate man and he then told that there would be no further actions taken….”
Our second season was our first winning season. We had lost only one game by the time we again met the NYRC. It was Saturday, May 12, 1962 when we were scheduled to play the NYRC, our last game of the season. That same day General Douglas MacArthur would make his famous trip to West Point to deliver his last speech to the Corps of Cadets. (“Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country….Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps. I bid you farewell.”) No doubt, MacArthur’s speech had a profound impact on all of us. Maybe it was listening to the author of such inspiring words. Maybe it was just what West Point is all about. On that day, the Army Rugby-Football team would play and beat the best team in the Country, giving those who would follow us the legacy that our rugby team was destined to stand not only among the best in America, but ultimately rank with the best in the world.
Success in the rugby fields requires total commitment to teamwork and rarely one player makes the difference, perhaps with one exception –the fullback position. This is the last line of defense, the one person who has … to stop the hordes at the gate…. and we were blessed by the best fullback in the Eastern Rugby League — Rizzio, who knew no fear and kept the opponents from scoring in numerous occasions. He would be selected to the All Eastern Rugby Team to play the All Canada Rugby team.
A few weeks later, the oldest of the Founding Classes would graduate. On June 6, 1962 we bid a fond adieu to some of the best friends we made while at the Academy, our Rugby-Football teammates.

Written by Ricardo E Cesped, First Army Rugby Coach, with invaluable help from John Taylor and many members of the Founder’s Team June 2003
This rememberance is also posted at:
http://armyrugbyalumni.com/Army_Rugby_Alumni/Honors___History.html

The First Women’s Rugby Team – 2003

Just as John Taylor 62′ and the members of the first men’s Rugby Team experienced a difficult start so did “Kafi Joseph” 03′ and the members of the first Women’s Rugby Team. There was little support from the Corps Squads, no funds, no coach, no field to call home, and no experienced players. Kafi received verbal approval from the Commandant, General Brook after obtaining a very positive commitment from the Corps of Cadets.
Women’s Rugby received the official sanction to become an Army Club sport when, despite three feet of snow on the ground, the newly formed team played a scrimmage to demonstrate their determination to compete at the intercollegiate level. The Charter was signed immediately – probably November 2002.
After a practice session in Ike Hall, we didn’t have dedicated practice space and at times had to practice in the ball room and ran laps around the upper floor of Ike Hall. The second is after our first Victory, which was against Rutgers.

The Second Year

Their 2d season was a winning season just as with the Men’s Team 41 years before.
The Team won the MET-NY Championship, defeating the previous six-time champions in the process. The Team’s early accomplishments also include beating Navy 31 to 3 (2004), placing 3rd at the DC Cherry Blossom Tournament, and sending 6 ruggers to the NERFU U-23 team tryouts and had a player selected for the U-19 development camp. Women’s Army Rugby has continued to pursue excellence in its trips to Ireland, where the team took on the Women’s Irish Defense Forces team, and to San Diego, where they finished first in the Champagne Classic.
“Kafi Joseph”


Good Afternoon! I am Kafi Joseph, founder of Women’s Army Rugby – I wanted to add a submission to the Women’s Rugby portion of the page. A lot of folks don’t know how the Women’s team got it’s name and I’d like to contribute that, if I may.
Women’s Army Rugby – W.A.R…Declare It!
“W.A.R. is about Desire…W.A.R. is about Leadership…W.A.R. is about Camaraderie…W.A.R. is building and leaving a tradition for future W.A.R.riors to live up to.”
Above are excerpts from the Original W.A.R.rior Creed drafted by the Founding Forty (and original members of the first team) after spending hours of in a Washington Hall Lecture Room. It is those words that highlight the VERY reasons why we call ourselves “W.A.R.” and the essence behind why we “Declare It!”
For those that don’t know, here’s a W.A.R. Story (aka history about the team and its name):
As you may or may not know, the men’s rugby team calls themselves “the Brothers” which is derived from a the speech given by King Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt in the Hundred Years War. There is a particular segment of that speech around which the Men’s Rugby Team rallies. It reads:
“…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;”
When we (the women’s rugby team) were deciding on a name, in one of the Mac Long day rooms, we KNEW wanted something just as powerful as the “Brothers shedding blood together in pursuit of victory” around which we could also rally. While the thought of naming ourselves the “Sisters” crossed our minds, there was nothing in a simple sisterhood that specifically tied us to being Soldiers, being ruggers…then Gennelle Lee looking at the folder I was holding saw the words written on it as such:
Women’s Army Rugby
And exclaimed, “What about W.A.R.?!” And that was it for us…we coined the phrase “Declare It!” as our battle-cry (and pre-game chant) because each time you step on the the pitch you are facing an opponent, you are battling for victory! We affectionately reffered to members of the team as W.A.R.riors and we drafted the WARriors Creed…which was no accident. We hammered out that ENTIRE W.A.R.rior’s Creed to leave behind as a legacy, as the beginning of a TRADITION…
Those who do not know the history behind the name, think of it as simply a slogan, but for those that are WARriors – we benefit from the bonds of friendship and camraderie that has been borne from this team; we know that these bonds won’t be broken in the years to come BECAUSE of this team; and understand in part, that is due to “Declaring It” and being WARriors.

W.A.R. is not just a name, it IS a TRADITION and we are WARriors now and we always will be.
WE DECLARE W.A.R.!!!

The Women’s Rugby Creed

~Kafi
USMA ’03

Anderson Rugby Complex



On May 12, 2007 Army’s Anderson Rugby Complex was dedicated at a ceremony attended by the principal donors, officials from West Point and from the Association of Graduates, many Old Grads who played rugby while cadets at West Point, friends of West Point and both men and women cadets who are members of the 2007 Army Rugby teams.

Saturday May 12 2007 was exactly 45 years since General Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous speech to the Corps of Cadets on the occasion of his accepting the prestigious Thayer Award.
http://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurthayeraward.html

It was also the day when the first Army Rugby team beat the then best rugby team in the nation launching what would become the most successful sport in West Point history.
The new Anderson Rugby Complex is a spectacular sports facility and the best of its kind in the Nation. The day was one to remember. The weather made for a perfect spring day. West Point and all that it stands for was at its very best.









The Founding Members made the decision to not include the Train as part of the Rugby Page. I like Trains and as Editor I decided to include the Train. The rails run along the west side of the Hudson through a tunnel under the Plain and rail traffic is a part of Rugby.

The 2007/2008 Army Women’s Rugby Team


2007/2008 Women’s Annual Snow Game

U.S. National Collegiate Championships – Army

In 1980 the USA Rugby Collegiate Championship playoff system was established. Since then, the Army Rugby team has qualified for every Sweet 16 tournament and has also reached more than ten Final Fours. The Army Rugby team has finished second in the nation 3 times. 2 Army Rugby players have played for the Eagles, and 6 players earned All American honors.

Club Honors
1989 D1 Collegiate Championship- 3d place
1990 D1 Collegiate Championship- Runner-up
Air Force 18, ARMY 12
1991 D1 Collegiate Championship- Runner-up
California 20, ARMY 14
1992 D1 Collegiate Championship- Runner-up
California 27, ARMY 17
1995 D1 Collegiate Championship- 4th place
1999 D1 Collegiate Championship- 4th place
2000 D1 Collegiate Championship- 3d place
2001 D1 Collegiate Championship- 4th place
2002 D1 Collegiate Championship- 3d place
2003 D1 Collegiate Championship- 4th place
2009 D1 Collegiate Championship- Semifinals
2010 D1 Collegiate Championship- Semifinals
“Division 1-A Rugby (formerly known as the College Premier Division) is the highest level of college rugby within the United States and is administered by USA Rugby….The competition’s first season was played during 2011 and consisted of teams from 31 schools from across the United States.”
2011 D1 Rugby East Conference Champion
2011 D1 Collegiate Championship- Quarterfinals
2012 D1 Rugby East Conference Champion
2012 D1 Collegiate Championship- Quarterfinals
2013 D1 Rugby East Conference Champion
2013 D1 Collegiate Championship- Quarterfinals

sources:
http://armyrugbyalumni.com/Army_Rugby_Alumni/Honors___History.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Premier_Division#Regular_season
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_rugby

Women’s
2011 – Army 33, Penn State 29 – NATIONAL CHAMPS!

USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship

Women’s

2011 – ARMY 14 – Penn State 5 – NATIONAL CHAMPS!
Army beat Penn State 14-5 in the women’s title game of the 2011 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championships

Men’s
2010 – Quaterfinals
2011 – Dartmouth 32 – ARMY 10 – 2nd
2012 – Quarterfinals

source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collegiate_Rugby_Championship

Honors

All Americans
1994 Jon “Petro” Petrucelli (No.8, Lock, Prop)
1996 Jason Jerreris (Inside Center)
1996 Justin “JP” Pelkey (Lock)
1996 Austin White (No. 8)
2006 Andrew Lock (Flyhalf)
2013 Will Holder (Flyhalf)

All Army
1980 Mike Stephenson
1986 Wade Jost
1987 Dave Duffy
1988 Mike Tetu
1988 Brian Mennes
1996 Dave Averett
1996 Jack Senneff
1996 Justin “JP” Pelkey
1998 Thomas “TJ” Iak
2007 Andy Locke

USA Eagles
Anthony M. Ridnell ’82: 14 starts from 1987-1993
Will Holder ’13: 1 start from 2012-

http://armyrugbyalumni.com/Army_Rugby_Alumni/Honors___History.html


2009 – someone please identify this brother!

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Work Area below this Point

1 – This page needs a lot of work. Anyone who has ideas on how best to organize the Rugby section – Please advise. Click on 1915 and 1962 for a method. Everything is tossed together for now so it is not lost. The ’62 page along with the photos of the Anderson Rugby Complex (with approval of his Class) should go on the first page with links to the other classes — or it could be set up similiar to the 150, Lightweight, Sprint Football page.

So as not to confuse CLICK ON — 1915 1962 and 150, Lightweight, Sprint Football

2 – Kafi ’03
P.S. – I will scan and send you a copy of the original W.A.R.rior Creed for the website as well as a picture of the founding 40. I would like my individual picture replaced with the team pic because I could not have done this without my fellow W.A.R.riors.
Attached is a scan of the WARrior Creed…and 2 pics of the Founding Team. The first is after a practice session in Ike Hall, we didn’t have dedicated practice space and at times had to practice in the ball room and ran laps around the upper floor of Ike Hall. The second is after our first Victory, which was against Rutgers. While it is much “cooler” looking, the picture you have on the website is not actually of the founding team, but of the second team.

WRT dates…I guess I’m officially “old” as I can’t recall actual dates…I believe we picked the name around the time we were “officially” authorized by Gen Brooks. The official birth month and year we give the team is Nov 2002. None of can really remember the actual date…

As far as ideas for organizing the Rugby page…I believe that telling the men’s story with a segue to the women’s team established 40 + years later is great. I’ll chew on it some more ad get back with you? Hopefully before your backlog is relieved
Thanks again,
Kafi

3 – Russ Grimm’76
Page updated on 05/23/13 with links to the new Army Rugby Alumni, which enables access to 70 some photos previously on the now defunct USCC hosted-page, Facebook links, and Club records added. I also re-ordered this page for readability and “flow” – i.e. removed duplicate pics. No text was changed. However, if there are strong objections to my reorganization (assumed from mandate above) – I can and will resubmit the older html file I have saved in Stories.

Bill Scherr

Name William A. Scherr III

Class 1962

Company E-2

Home Town Valley Stream, New York

High School Chaminade High School, Mineola, New York

Date of Entry to Academy 1 July 1958

Date of Graduation 6 June 1962

Age at Graduation 21

Cullum Number 24204

Cadet Rank Cadet Sergeant

Height

  • Entry 5′ 10″
  • Graduation 5″ 10″

Weight

  • Entry 135
  • Graduation 165

Teams

  • Plebe Track
  • Rugby A Squad

Team Captain

Positions Played

  • Hurdles in Track
  • Scrum Half in Rugby

Relationship with

  • Tactical Department Adversarial

Class Standing 388

Turn Out Stars Spanish Yearling Year

John Taylor

JOHN LESLIE TAYLOR

Class 1962

Company I-2

Home Town – BURAW, NORTH CAROLINA

High School – BURGAW HIGH SCHOOL

Prior College – NORTH CAROLINA STATE COLLEGE RALEIGH, N. C.

Prior Military Service – ENLISTED ARMY RESERVIST, TWO YEARS

Date of Entry to Academy – 1 JULY 1958

Date of Graduation – 6 JUNE 1962

Age at Graduation – 23

Cullum Number – 24293

Cadet Rank & Military Position

  • CADET SERGEANT
  • ACTING PLATOON SERGEANT

Height – 71″

Weight – 165 LBS.

Teams

  • ARMY RUGBY TEAM/CLUB
  • FOUNDER AND CLUB PRESIDENT, 1961-1962

Officer Representative

  • CPT CARNES, ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT, USMA: OIC

Team Captain

  • BILL SCHERR

Positions Played

  • SCRUM LOCK, C, OR D SIDE AND TEAM MANAGER

Team Recognition

  • Cow Year

    JOINED THE MANHATTAN RUGBY LEAGUE BY INVITATION.
    THE FIRST ARMY RUGBY SET THE BEST WINNING TRADITION OF ANY SPORT IN THE HISTORY OF WEST POINT. THUS, GIVING RUGBY A PERMANENT PLACE AT WEST POINT.

  • Firstie Year

    WON THE MATCH WITH THE NATION’S BEST TEAM, THE MANHATTAN RUGBY TEAM, FOLLOWING GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR’S “DUTY. HONOR. COUNTRY.” SPEECH ON 12 MAY 1962.

Academy Recognition

  • THE RUGBY SPORTS COMPLEX, THE FOUNDING SPONSORS OF WHICH ARE MR AND MRS. LEE ANDERSON, USMA CLASS OF 1961, IS CERTAINLY AN OUTSTANDING TRIBUTE TO THE RECOGNITION OF RUGBY AT THE USMA.

  • TEAM HISTORY WRITTEN IN THE “1962 POINTER” AND IN THE “ASSEMBLY”,
    AUGUST/SEPTEMBER, 2003 ISSUE, “EARLY BEGINNINGS” BY RIC CESPED.

Class Standing

LOWER 200 0F 601 GRADUATES: AFFECTIONATELY “A GOAT”.

Rugby Old Page

Please go to the link below for the current page

http://forwhattheygaveonsaturdayafternoon.com/wp-photos/rugby

Army Rugby Team Spring of 1962

Currently the only names listed are Class of 1962 – The Can Do Class.

Extreme upper left in soccer uniform Ric Cesped – Coach;
70 John Taylor – Founder; 6X Mike Schredl – Left Prop; 65 Dean Stanley; XX Denis Reimer – Right Prop;
62 George (Tank) Telenko – RFC Scrum Lock; 40 Bob DeVries (Left Wing); 20 Bill Scherr – Scrum Half; 44 Russ DeVries (Right Wing); 93 Dick Duncan

Army Rugby Sports complex

On May 12, 2007 the Army Rugby Complex was dedicated at a ceremony attended by the principal donors, officials from West Point and from the Association of Graduates, many Old Grads who played rugby while cadets at West Point, friends of West Point and both men and women cadets who are members of the 2007 Army Rugby teams.

The new Army Rugby Complex is a spectacular sports facility and the best of its kind in the Nation. The day was one to remember. The weather made for a perfect spring day. West Point and all that it stands for was at its very best. (1)You can view photos a Link below.

Saturday May 12 2007 was exactly 45 years since General Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous speech (2) to the Corps of Cadets on the occasion of his accepting the prestigious Thayer Award. It was also the day when the first Army Rugby team beat the then best rugby team in the nation launching what would become the most successful sport in West Point history.

(1)
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8EbsnLNw3ZsRq

(2) http://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurthayeraward.html

The Early Years

It was gloom period 1961. Since the previous summer John Taylor ’62 was intent in bringing the game of rugby-football to West Point. He knew that once started it would spread like wildfire adding to the long tradition of leaning how to win by competing in the fields of friendly strife. He faced a tough challenge. Little support from organized sports at the Academy, no funds, no experienced players, no coach, and no fields to call home. John persisted against all odds. He got the support of Pete Dawkins, who had made fame first as an All-American Football player and later as a successful rugby player while at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. He gathered positive feedback from the Corps, Finally John received a personal letter from General Westmoreland, the Superintendent, authorizing the formation of a Class B competitive Club.

From the surveys that John conducted he learned of a classmate from Chile, Ric Cesped, who had played rugby. I first met John in March 1961. John infected me with his enthusiasm to add rugby-football to the sports practiced at West Point. Would I coach? Coaching was an art about which I knew nothing – although I had been blessed with wonderful coaches in my life. My rugby experienced was limited to playing wing forward for 6 years at the Grange School, an English Boarding School in Chile, with some success as a player. To coach in English, my second language was a daunting thought. But I could not refuse John’s request and thus I joined him in starting the Army Rugby-Football Club and in creating the first team of what would become the seed to the most successful sport in the history of West Point.

Authorized to start the Club John, raised enough funds to buy a few rugby balls, whistles, and rulebooks. In recalling those early days Bill Scherr ’62, Army Rugby’s first great scrum half recalls… (our first practices we didn’t have uniforms. During practices, half of us had to turn our USMA Sweat Shirts inside out to distinguish the two sides. One afternoon, walking back to the barracks after practice, I was written up by the OIC for being out of uniform because I was wearing my muddy sweatshirt inside out. My understanding TAC threw it out). Later, Coach Palone loaned us Army soccer equipment and much came from the B football team. We were assigned the furthest-most field on Post (Target Field located by the Hudson River) where only the NYC railroad trains would visit us, once in a while. If you got injured, your teammates would have to carry you back. John took the lead on all administrative tasks and in learning how to finds rugby teams to challenge. He also played whenever and wherever there was a need. At the time, rugby in the USA was played mainly in Ivy League schools, in the West Coast at Stanford and Cal, and by Clubs formed mostly by immigrant enthusiasts from traditional rugby countries like England, Ireland, France, Australia and South Africa. The Rugby Clubs were the best teams around and were known for having the best party traditions in American sport circles.

Those who volunteered to start the Rugby Club finally gathered at our lonely playing field. About 40 cadets from all four classes showed up on that cold April day. Their backgrounds were B squad football, 150 lb. football, soccer, and ice hockey and intramurder jocks. Not one of the prospective players knew what rugby was all about. Within minutes John and I realized that creating a respectful Army rugby team would be a bigger challenge than we ever imagined, specially doing so safely and without serious injury. Learning the basics on how to tackle (not block), how to use your feet (after all the game is called rugby-football because the feet play an important part in winning the game), how to constantly pass the ball to your team-mates (and not hang-on to the ball while trying to gain as many yards as possible), how to play without rest in 45 minutes halves, how to form loose scrums to retain control of the ball, etc would be the key to our mission… and so, we started with the basics. But the volunteers wanted to “play” the game, and so, we started playing a little at a time, with the one practice ball we had, selecting in the process an A and a B team, without regards to class standing, and without loosing focus of the need to master the basics. We all learned at the same time, not only how to play the game but how to do a better job of coaching the game and administering the emerging organization. By late April 1961 we were ready to try our new skills, against one of the best rugby clubs in the East — the Westchester NY Rugby Club (NYRC). It would be a learning experience — Army lost, but the score was very close, and our heads were held high. In the process, we gained confidence and we became a better team. Rugby had become part of our life at West Point.

In our second year, spring 1962, we again focused on the basics while learning to improve our teamwork. John had organized a full schedule of games ending the season with a match against “our teachers of an earlier year… the Westchester NYRC. We started fielding one team. We had about 40 – 50 club members by then. General Westmoreland and his wife took interest in our Club and we got more support including a medic and an ambulance in case of serious injury. Once in a while they would show up during practice and encourage us on.

We became a pretty good team, blessed with tons of enthusiasm, lots of energy and speed, fearless low tackling, a serious lack of weight and size in the forward line, and an incredible “Can Do” attitude. We needed no coaching in having a good time together or in partying in NYC when we played away. Lack of discipline in our trips was noted by the Sup. As the team departed for NYC to play Columbia it was stopped by the MPs and returned to barracks for inspection, by General Westmoreland, no less. The bus commander, Mike Schredl ’62, was requested to call him at his quarters on the team’s return to WP. In Mike’s words… “When I called him at home that Sunday evening and told him that we lost, I was expecting disciplinary action. I had visions of a 15&15 and possibly a delayed graduation. Completely opposite of the tact taken when inspecting us he expressed his sorrow over our loss and then complemented us for a good season. I am sure that he sensed the anxiety in my voice. He then commended me for seating at the front of the bus and explained that good leaders lead by example and are highly visible but, at the same time, are always aware of what the troops in the back are doing. I found General Westmoreland to be a warm, caring and compassionate man and he then told that there would be no further actions taken….”

Our second season was our first winning season. We had lost only one game by the time we again met the NYRC. It was Saturday, May 12, 1962 when we were scheduled to play the NYRC, our last game of the season. That same day General Douglas MacArthur would make his famous trip to West Point to deliver his last speech to the Corps of Cadets. (“Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country….Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps. I bid you farewell.”) No doubt, MacArthur’s speech had a profound impact on all of us. Maybe it was listening to the author of such inspiring words. Maybe it was just what West Point is all about. On that day, the Army Rugby-Football team would play and beat the best team in the Country, giving those who would follow us the legacy that our rugby team was destined to stand not only among the best in America, but ultimately rank with the best in the world.

Success in the rugby fields requires total commitment to teamwork and rarely one player makes the difference, perhaps with one exception –the fullback position. This is the last line of defense, the one person who has … to stop the hordes at the gate…. and we were blessed by the best fullback in the Eastern Rugby League — Rizzio, who knew no fear and kept the opponents from scoring in numerous occasions. He would be selected to the All Eastern Rugby Team to play the All Canada Rugby team.

A few weeks later, the oldest of the Founding Classes would graduate. On June 6, 1962 we bid a fond adieu to some of the best friends we made while at the Academy, our Rugby-Football teammates.

Written by Ricardo E Cesped, First Army Rugby Coach, with invaluable help from John Taylor and many members of the Founder s Team
June 2003