Coaches of the Year awarded at National Development Summit

BOULDER, Colo. – Dan Payne, former Men's Eagles assistant coach, was named the Crispin Senior Club Coach of the Year as part of the USA Rugby Coach of the Year Awards.

Nominated by players, coaches and administrators from around the country, William Nicholas (Participation Coach of the Year), Marin Pinnell (Female Coach of the Year), Tammy Cowan (Competitive Coach of the Year), and Danielle Miller (National Team Coach of the Year) also received awards at the Banquet of Champions which took place as part of the 2014 USA Rugby National Development Summit presented by BLK in Philadelphia, Penn., last month.

“The USA Rugby Coach of the Year program recognizes the outstanding commitment of our coaches to grow and develop all levels of rugby,” USA Rugby Director of Rugby Development Dave McCann said. “With more than 100 nominations across five categories, we saw the community’s appreciation for the time, effort and dedication of our coaches. This year’s class of Coach of the Year award winners exemplifies the best of what rugby in the U.S. is about. It’s an honor to be able to show our appreciation for all they do.”

Currently the director of rugby at Life University, Payne led the Life Running Eagles to a Men’s Division I Club Championship and a second-place finish in the inaugural USA Rugby Elite Cup competition. Two of his players – Cam Dolan and Phil Thiel – made appearances for the Eagles in 2013, while Dolan moved on to sign a professional contract with the Aviva Premiership’s Northampton Saints.

Nicholas, of the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists High School, was recognized for his work to build rugby into the fabric of his community in the urban and culturally diverse area of New York. Three of his players were recruited to play in college in 2013.

The Female Coach of the Year Award recognized the dedication of Pinnell to grow participation amongst women and girls in rugby while creating high-caliber players. Coach of Fallbrook Girls Rugby Club, Pinnell led her Under-18 team to its third consecutive national championship and held a combined 35-1 record in 2013 with the club’s three teams. Three of her players attended the inaugural Stars v Stripes Camp and one was named to the USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans.

St. John’s University Men’s Rugby Club won the 2013 National Small College Rugby Organization Championship thanks in part to the coaching of Cowan, who received the Competitive Coach of the Year Award for her work in building a successful and winning rugby program. Her team placed five players on the NSCRO All-Tournament team, including the tournament most valuable player. Cowan is also the head of the Minnesota Referee Society.

The WJAAs finished second at the IRB U20 Women’s Nations Cup with National Team Coach of the Year Award recipient Miller at the helm. Three of those athletes moved into the Women’s Eagles and Women’s Eagles Sevens squads.