Clemson Rugby hires new head coach

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The Clemson University Rugby Club has hired Steve Lynch, of the Glendale Raptors program, as their next Head Coach. Coach Lynch comes to the Tigers with extensive experience in all levels of rugby and will continue to build on a strong foundation of almost 50 years. “We were humbled by the quality of the coaches interested in the position, and it was no easy task, but Coach Lynch stood out as the best fit to lead the students in reaching their goals,” said Robert Bortins, a member of the search committee. Coach Lynch will be relocating to Clemson, South Carolina following his coaching commitment to the All Navy Select team’s competition at the Armed Forces Championships in mid-August.

Lynch, originally from Ellicott City, Maryland is the Head Coach and Director of Rugby for the All Navy Select 15s and 7s sides, as well as a full time coach for the Glendale Raptors. Steve joins the Tigers having led a number of different competitive levels and positions on both men’s and women’s programs. His current role as the Head Coach of the U19 High Performance Academy at Glendale has positioned him perfectly for developing maturing student athletes. He has coached a number of Senior and Collegiate level programs throughout his 26 years of rugby ranging from Italy, New Zealand and the United States. His off the field resume is equally impressive with the skills needed to increase the visibility and leadership opportunities for the students in the community.

The Clemson Rugby team is building on tested experience with a returning squad of mostly starters that qualified for the CRC, reached the second round of the Varsity Cup, earned back to back ACRL Championships while finishing in the Top 15 in the country. Coach Lynch and the staff will have a roster depth of 50+ and the addition of 15 incoming recruits to challenge throughout the fall 15s season.

Dylan Goulding, Clemson’s rising-junior center from Singapore, stated “We are confident that Coach Lynch is going to build the program to a point where we are the toughest team to play on the pitch. We trust that his plan will accelerate our development and make Clemson the number one choice for high performance student athletes.”

The Clemson Rugby Foundation continues to grow in its support of the program while Clemson University continues work on a multi-million dollar world class club sports facility to enhance the student experience. The first phase of the project, to be completed in August, will include a new Shaw Sports Turf field to handle inclement weather training and competition. Coach Lynch is excited to get to Clemson to begin his work with the students, “It has been my experience that with athletes committed to a high performance environment, the learning curve is very short.” The Tigers will have a month to prepare under Coach Lynch before the season opening back to back weekend tests against ACRL opponents, Wake Forest and UNC, on September 18th and 19th. Coach Lynch says, “If we can present players with decision making opportunities under pressure in training, we can begin to implement an exciting wide open Southern Hemisphere style of play.” Clemson’s toughest fall match will be against Life at Homecoming on Friday, October 16th and everyone will want to know if the Tigers have enough of the new game plan implemented to upset the Running Eagles. It’s an interesting question to ask with Coach Lynch’s son playing for the opposition, only time will tell.

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