American Rugby Loses a Legend
Obit – Allen Daniel Porter
Allen Daniel Porter passed quietly away at Stanford Medical Center on October 30, 2010 after a long illness, with friends and family close at hand. Dan was born on October 2, 1946 in Whittier, CA to Ralph and Virginia Porter. He grew up with his brother Dexter, sister Terry and a close knit clan of cousins, aunts and uncles. After graduating from Whittier High School, Dan headed north to attend newly opened UCSC in 1966, living in a trailer on the East Field, since the dorms for Stevenson College were not yet complete.
As a freshman Dan was a founding member of the first UCSC Rugby team, drumming up additional players by posting flyers in the new dorms. Dan played as a forward, transitioning from player to coach. Dan would go on to be an innovative leader in American Rugby coaching circles. Beginning with coaching at UCSC, Dan expanded his skills in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1980s, coming back to coaching UCSC in 1984. Dan developed a partnership with Cal Rugby coach Jack Clark. Together they formed the first Collegiate All American Rugby side in 1987 with Jack as Head Coach and Dan as Assistant Coach. In 1993, Jack became Head Coach for the Eagles, the USA National Rugby Team with Dan as Assistant Coach, focusing on backline play and technical analysis until 1997. Concurrently, Dan and Jack coached Cal Rugby to 7 national championships.
Dan left California in 1998 to lead the Rugby program at Harvard University and then shifted to Ohio State University in 1999. He coached OSU in Columbus until 2004, taking the Buckeyes to consecutive territorial championships. Dan moved to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, using his construction skills to help rebuild homes and coaching the New Orleans Rugby Club. He returned to OSU to coach the women’s Rugby program in 2008. In 2009 Dan assisted at San Jose State in 2009. Throughout, Dan wrote for American Rugby journals and USA Rugby coaching manuals.
When not absorbed in Rugby, Dan was a talented builder, versed in all aspects of construction. He was also an avid player of miniature war games, spending hours painting whole armies of tiny metal Napoleonic soldiers and staging battles over mini-fields of his own devising.
Dan touched the lives of many people, including the hundreds of young men and women whom he coached, his friends and his family. He will be remembered for his quick laugh, his inexhaustible store of rugby lore, his intelligence, his generous nature, his creativity, and his fierce independence.
Dan’s legacy will be his keen analysis of attack and defense strategies, which has factored greatly in the development of American Rugby. His memory will be well served by the Coach Dan Porter Rugby Endowment Fund being established by his family at OSU to benefit the men’s and women’s Rugby programs. Contributions can be made to Ohio State University, designating the “Coach Dan Porter Rugby Endowment Fund #482075” and sent to OSU-Gift Processing, 1480 W. Lane Ave,,Columbus, OH 43221 or made online at www.giveto.osu.edu. Click “give now” and use gift #482075.
Memorial services will be held on December 12, 2010, 2:00-4:00pm at the Fireside Lounge, Stevenson College, UCSC and January 16 in Columbus, Ohio.