Coach and Referee of the Year Awards Announced

Denver, CO.- At the National Development Summit (NDS) in Denver USA Rugby announced its annual awards for the coaches and referees of the year. In total there were ten award recipients. Awards were handed out for the Senior Club Coach, College Coach, Youth and High School, Referee Coach and Community Referee. The award winners are listed below:

Female Senior Club Coach: Linda Niemela

Linda is the head coach of the Milwaukee Scylla Women's Rugby Club. She has held the position since the Fall of 2014, and from the beginning of her tenure she had a clear goal, win a national championship. She adopted a holistic approach to her coaching taking over the fitness regimen, leading film sessions and reinventing their offensive and defensive systems. As a result of the dedication that she put into her role, In 2017 Linda achieved her goal of winning a National Championship.

Male Senior Club Coach Jason Van Wyck

On a somber note this year's Male Senior Club Coach of the Year was awarded posthumously to Jason Van Wyck of Norther Virginia Rugby Football Club. Jason joined the NOVA rugby club in 2016 and guided them to a 9-2-1 record, and their first playoff birth in five years.  Jason's philosophy of "Good people make good rugby players." Is a legacy that those at NOVA rugby will continue to uphold.

Female College Coach: Nancy Ketchner

Nancy Ketchner has been the head coach of the Univeristy of Virginia's women's team for the past 20 years. In her time as coach she has reached and touched the lives of countless young adults and helped to shape them into the people they are today. In her nominations there were countless stories from past players where Nancy had provided them with moments and lessons that they still use today. She has produced 15+ All Americans, 1 Woodley Award Winner and 3 Eagles. She has taken the team to 18 round of 16s, 16 quarter finals, 4 semifinals, and 1 National Championship Game. 

Male College Coach: Darrin Barner

Darrin Barner is the head coach for Wayne State College. In 2017 Wayne State went 18-0 in 15s and 20-1 in 7s. The previous year Wayne State had won its third NSCRO National Chamionship for 15s, and came 2nd in the NSCRO 7s National Championship. Coach Barner is somebody who has dedicated so much of his time to the advancement of the game, and making sure that the game has a lasting impact on those who play it.

Female Youth and High School Coach: Kerrie Kubo

Kerrie Kubo is the head coach of the Berkeley Red Hawks Girls High School team. She has been coaching them for the past 5 years. The Red Hawks do not have a club administrator and often it comes down solely to Kerrie. She is constantly looking for funds, fields and getting equipment for the club. Not only does she have an impact on the club from an administrative standpoint but she consistently turns out teams that display un paralleled enthusiasm, passion and sportsmanship.

Male Youth and High School Coach: Tyree Reed

Tyree Reed is the Coach fro Myers Park Rugby Club. In 2017 he went 14-4, while coaching one All American, five North Carolina All Stars, won the 2017 South RCT, and won the North Carolina State Championship. Winning a State Championship is always an impressive feat, what makes it even more impressive is that fact that he did this with a roster of 17 new players. His commitment to growing the youth game, and to teaching the game to newcomers is something that has not gone unnoticed within the community.

Female Referee Coach of the Year: Rosalind Anderson

Rosalind Anderson comes from the New York Referees Society and has had a profound impact on promoting women's refereeing within New York. She always makes herself available to those looking for assistance, and guidance and works tirelessly to promote the game at every level.

Male Referee Coach of the Year Lee Johnson:

Lee has been a contributor both at the local and national level in his support of referees and their development. His referee coaching has taken the form of helping new referees get started in a supportive environment and also in the form of mentoring and guiding top referees in the country. 

Female Community Referee of the Year: Dawn McKenzie

Dawn McKenzie is one of the busiest referees in the country. She referees on average forty matches a year, and on top of this serves as the Referee Retention Officer for the Chicago Area Referee Society. She works hard to not only create the best referees but also the best players. She will travel to high schools, colleges, and clubs to referee scrimmages but also to answer any questions that players have about the laws. Having played the game before refereeing it, she has empathy for the players, and as a result earns the players respect.

Male Community Referee of the Year: Kevin Terpstra

Hailing from Minnesota, Kevin Terpstra is a heavily involved referee. He referees constantly throughout the Fall and Spring seasons he is off coaching a young referee. He takes great pride in educating the youngest players about the game and is more than happy to explain a decision, in order to help educate the younger, inexperienced players.