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AFA Alumni Rugby Newsletter September 2019 Coaches Corner.

Men's Team (Denny Merideth). The Men's team has an exciting season ahead of them with a number of new players showing a great deal of promise. Unfortunately we lost our first match of the season to CSU on September 6th in Ft Collins in a score of 27 to 12. The lads showed a lot of promise as they battled a much more experienced side and walked away from the match confident as they outplayed CSU in the second half. Our forwards were amazing to watch in the scrums as they truly manhandled the CSU pack literally taking the ball away from them on their scrums on multiple occasions. The penalty count was overwhelmingly against us, which, coupled with unforced errors from our inexperienced players was difficult to overcome. Four players were in their first ever rugby match and 9 of our starting 15 were in their first legitimate starting role. The future looks bright with a great deal of enthusiasm and 15 of the 23 man match roster being underclassmen.

At this point in the season we are still seeing about 75 players trying to regularly make practice. Our challenge is having enough support to get playing time for our younger players in order to get them experience and keep them motivated. This weekend we are playing at the annual Jackalope tournament in Laramie which will give us a chance to see all of our upperclassmen in action. Fourth classmen cannot travel until early October. Next weekend we have 3 matches at home which will give them their first chance for actual game time.

Many kudos to our OIC, Glen Dudevoir who is doing a fantastic job trying to meet all the administrative hurdles that seem to loom larger every year. Also, our coaching staff for the year is doing everything possible to balance jobs with getting out to give the lads their best guidance. Jeff Burrows ('81) manages the forwards along with Mick Harper ('92) and are doing great work. Schaun Colin from South Africa and a previous USA Eagle player from the early 90s is working with our backs with assistance from Joe Dan Cox ('98). Clarke Cayton is settling in as the B side coach and is having a great impact on the development side of the equation. The Zoomie Rugby website gives a good breakdown of the coaches and their backgrounds.

The team sends its appreciation for all the support they have received and looks forward to seeing all alumni and supporters at any match.

USAFA and USAF Annual 7s Scrimmage, August 17 2019.

Women's Team (Amy Rusert). The women open conference play at home this Sunday, September 15, against the University of New Mexico with our B side opening against the University of Northern Colorado immediately following. The A side is returning ten seniors; eight of whom are four year seniors and contributors to four collective national 7s and fall national 15s titles during their tenure. Second year senior, Adrienne Yoder, is the program's most recent USA Rugby Collegiate All American and named in the 23 for the WCAA/WPL All Star Week Series in early August. Our seniors will be keeping excellent company with a skilled group of returning sophomores and juniors as well as a high octane core of new freshmen and upperclasswomen; two of whom join Zoomie rugby as former high school players. The 2019-20 team captain is C2C Jess Beyer and vice captain is C1C Devin Doyle.

Given the women's first 23 perennially includes a number of freshmen, the women will play all conference and B side matches at home through Prog and then finish the balance of in-season conference and B side play on the road. A change in the 2019 conference playoffs format affords the women the added incentive to clinch the regular season in order to host the conference semifinals on October 27 and conference finals - if they are to advance - at home on November 3.

To follow the women's program real-time, please request to join our closed Facebook Group USAFA Women's Rugby or check scores and stats at https://usarugbystats.com/team/1168 - please note, the Army game listed in the schedule on 9/21 at AFA has been cancelled.

Thank you for your continued support and boundless generosity.

The 2023 newbies!

President's Message. The AFA Rugby Affinity Group Board and the Zoomie Rugby Booster Club recently voted to consolidate our efforts, with a common goal of supporting both short-term operational needs and long-term investment in the rugby program.

As part of this combined effort, the new entity has embarked on several initiatives that will help the board support our teams. Specifically, we recently hired an outside website development firm to create a new website, which will provide information on both the Men’s and Women’s teams, including schedules and rosters, an explanation on how to donate to AF Rugby, both through the USAFA Endowment and Falcon Athletic Fund (formerly Pride Funds), information on alumni events, and a store to purchase AF Rugby merchandise. Importantly, a portion of the merchandise proceeds help support the short-term operational needs of the program.

From a long-term perspective, we are pleased to announce that we have raised close to $2 million towards our 5-year goal of $10.5 million. We still have a long way to go in getting AF Rugby fully-funded and recognized as an intercollegiate sport. The new website is an important tool in our attempt build a bridge between the alumni and the Men’s and Women’ teams, so please … Give and Engage.


Jimmy Lamar. Class of 1995

30th Reunion of the 1989 National Championship team was held in Dallas this past June and a cameo appearance was made by coach Vern Francis. Impeccably organized by one of Vern's AFA academic mates, Keith Gay, and accompanied by his lovely (and devoted) wife Laura, Vern was pinned as a three star by our own three star, LGen Sharpy. Vern did not let his condition keep him from saying just the right words to bring the crowd to laughter in remembering the good times and events of that glorious season. There was talk about another event next year for the 1990 Championship team, and Vern is looking forward to attending that one too!

L to R, Front Row: Mike Junk, Brent Vander Pol, Coach Vern Francis, Doug Nikolai, Tim Bohman Back Row: Kevin Oleen, Dan Drummond, Jim Snyder, Jon (Floyd) Finley, Ted Schiller, Dave Mets, Cam Brown, Coach Walt Daniels, Dave Almand, Frank Souza Rugby Grads in the news: (Army grad, but a fellow rugger) - McClain is an avid rugby player who has played in Women's Premiership, the top level of the sport in England, and for the United States women's national rugby union team, known as the Women's Eagles.[5] While her U.S. Army commitments thwarted her international career in rugby and prevented her participation in the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup, she participated at that level for a decade interrupted only by her deployment to Iraq,[5] and credits the sport for her success in becoming an astronaut.[7] According to an interview published in the NASA Johnson YouTube channel, McClain said that the rugby training was helpful when training with a space suit in a neutral buoyancy pool.[8]

Rugby Families. Yes, our rugby culture makes the 'team experience' more of a 'family experience', and it was never more evident than at 1989 team reunion. During the conversation that evening was the discovery that Brent Vander Pol was involved in rugby coaching, but that his program included kids from KG though 12th grade! Yes, Brent's kids participated and are included in our historical website family page: http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?

Farris ElNasser recently let me know about his kids participation and leads me to wonder how many others we are missing. If any of YOUR kids played or are playing, please let me know so we can keep the history of our long blue rugby line intact.

Join the Ruck (JTR) Status.

We have jumped up significantly due to a $500,000 gift from the Anschutz Foundation, split evenly between the Men's and the Women's fund. We GREATLY appreciate the efforts of '79 team captain and MGen (Ret) Tru Eyre and the staff at the Endowment who have made this grant possible. As a wake up call, in order to make our goal in the remaining 4 years, we need more grants like this (or we grads have to definitely step up our gifting).

1. If you haven't started your 5-year commitment, do it now! We are looking for a level of giving that is doable, but also feels like a (good) sacrifice that supports the teams. If you want to contribute, please go to one (or both!) of the following sites and make your tax deductible donation. It is important to note that gifts to either the men's or women's team all count toward our $10.5 million 5-year target.

Vern Francis Perpetual Fund for Men's Rugby https://www2.usafa.org/Give/perpetualrugby Alan Osur Perpetual Fund for Women's Rugby https://ww2.usafa.org/Give/wrugby

2. If you haven't considered a legacy gift, do so now! A legacy gift only comes to play after both you and your spouse have passed and your family is taken care of. You pledge x % of your net worth to the teams and it counts NOW (even though you are alive!). It is reversible at any time in the future (as situations do change) but it shows great support and counts towards our goal. All that is required is to fill out a simple form and send to the Endowment.

3. Corporate funding. As teammates we can generate a good amount of money, but the deeper pockets are in corporate America. If you have any leads, please pass them on and we will have the Endowment follow up. You only have to point us in the right direction! Address questions to: HarryFLaws@gmail.com

Questions Asked and Answered.

Q. Love the new online store and have been awaiting the ability to buy AFA Rugby gear, but the items seem over priced. What is the deal?

A. The purpose of our ZRFC Squadlocker web store is for fan wear or spirit wear to counter not having a presence in the Academy gift shops or Athletic Department outlets. We have researched vendors and processes for the past 14 months, to include a clunky vendor process for our 50th reunion and have arrived with Squadlocker as our optimal solution. During our work with the Academy and the Athletic department, we gained approval for use of the AF Rugby logo…all other logos created with some help from outside agencies. So there is no copyright problems and our teams have been using the logos for some time. We understand your concerns for price which is why there are 32 items for sale across various price points. We can even rotate or change items upon demand or feedback. As a matter of fact, we are tracking exactly what is bought and where money is spent so we can anticipate items for our supporters. An added benefit is that once a customer is signed up they will receive weekly coupons to lower prices and our store managers will continually try to leverage the on sale items to place our logos on them ensuring they are an option for our supporters. Last, the slight up-charge is for the fundraising aspects of the storefront. The website provides 15% of all sales back to the board and eventually our teams. If we can achieve our annual sales goals the storefront can completely sustain the web presence for AFA Rugby by itself with no additional asks for donations. This self sustainable aspect is our desired outcome.

Got Gear?? We now have a AFA Rugby alumni store where you can purchase and wear the Rugby colors! See here for details: https://teamlocker.squadlocker.com/#/lockers/zoomie-rugby-football-club If you don't see an item you would like to order, or if you see something you like, but wish there were a different logo on it, notify Brian Schafer at splitschafer@hotmail.com

Know about the Golden Oldies? The tournament this year is in Denver, 8-15 June, and there will be an Air Force team! If interested, contact Tom Beers: sreebmot@gmail.com (FYI, Tom designed the ZRFC logo the team is currently using)

Need help in getting a new patch. Does anyone have one of these: http://usafarugbyalumni.com/images/f/fb/UsafaRugbyPatch2.png Tom Dollahite is looking for one!

Looking Back. If you were a member of the team during one of the seasons below, click on the link to see what information we have about that season; please let us know if you have more! This site is the only place where the history of our teams are recorded...and an important resource once we hit intercollegiate status!

Spring 1970: http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:1970_Spring_Men Spring 1980: Men - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:1980_Spring_Men Women - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:1980_Spring_Women Spring 1990: Men - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:1990_Spring_Men Women - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:1990_Spring_Women Spring 2000: Men - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:2000_Spring_Men Women - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:2000_Spring_Women Spring 2010: Men - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:2010_Spring_Men Women - http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:2010_Spring_Women

For some of these seasons we have absolutely NOTHING on the site. Again, if you have more information you wish to share, please email Harry and he will upload it.


NAVY. 5 Oct , 1100 Tailgate at the men's match (1230 Kickoff) at the Prusmack Rugby Complex at the Brigade Sports Complex, 200 Bullard Blvd, Annapolis MD 21402. MENU: Sandwiches, snacks, Bloody Mary bar, beer, COST: $20 if RSVP’d by 25 Sep 2019 ($25 if later), Includes souvenir cup; children 8 and under eat free. Submit payment to the “General Fund”: https://www.zoomierugby.com/booster-club-goals QUESTIONS: sarah.emory@afrugby.org

Army. Save the date, 1-4 November. The class of '74 is planning a get together for those who played with them ('71-'77), as well as anyone in the area. The plans are tentatively scheduled for a Wednesday night event (30 Oct). If you are REMOTELY interested in attending, please let Nate Rosenberg nrosenberg@insigniam.com or Jimmie Meeker meekereast@gmail.com know and they will keep you directly in the loop.

Rugby Alumni for Congress! Our own Nikki Foster has announced her candidacy for US Congress and you can see why she is so passionate about this from here launch video: Please share with the board our launch video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-8R908Q3kk See more at here website: www.nikkifosteroh.com

Letters to the Editors. We'd like to know what you wish to see in these newsletters, so please let us "editors" know: Harry Laws, '69: harryflaws@gmail.com Sarah Emory, '98: sarahlemory@yahoo.com

Staying Connected. If you’re looking for information about our men’s team, a variety of options exist: · Website: http://www.zoomierugby.com/ · Instagram: @zoomierugby · Twitter: @zoomieRugby · YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFuXSkEJxi19pTHxKcP5REQ

         And the men’s team booster club has a Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ZoomieRugby/.  

Our women’s team has two sites available: · Website: http://afclubrugby.wix.com/wzrfc · Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/115971358484614/ Alumni have a couple choices available as well · Website: http://usafarugbyalumni.com/index.php?title=Portal:Main · Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1278288132270630/ Alumni Historical site: USAFARugbyAlumni.com Alumni Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1278288132270630/

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