Following coordination with the family of 1989 Air Force Academy graduate Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Shea (USMC) KIA, the Air Force and Navy rugby teams institutionalized their annual Air Force vs Navy match-up with the “LtCol Kevin M. Shea Memorial Rugby Cup”. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps after graduation from the Air Force Academy, and while later assigned as an instructor at the Naval Academy, he coached the Navy rugby team.
Kevin Shea left a profound leadership legacy which was broadly experienced by the many who knew, loved, and were affected by the life he shared as a cadet and rugby player at the U.S. Air Force Academy, as a Marine Officer and player with the All-Marine and Combined Services rugby teams, and as a rugby coach and faculty member at the U.S. Naval Academy. After attending the USAFA Preparatory School, Shea lettered in football at the Academy, played in the 1987 Freedom Bowl, and was a member of the Air Force Academy's 1989 rugby team, which won the collegiate rugby national championship.
Col Shea earned a Master's of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in California, taught Electrical Engineering at the Naval Academy, and coached Navy Rugby 2000-2003; the Class of 2003 selected him as an honorary graduate of the Naval Academy. After his Naval Academy tour, he reported to 1st Marine Division and deployed to Iraq as the regimental communications officer for 1st Marines. He was killed in a rocket attack on his 38th birthday, 14 September 2004. A memorial service was held at the Naval Academy Chapel on 29 September 2004, at which Kevin was posthumously promoted to LtCol, and his family was presented with his Bronze Star (with Valor) and Purple Heart. Col Shea was inducted into the USAFA Preparatory School Hall of Fame in 2009.
Additional information on LtCol Kevin Shea is available at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/kmshea.htm, http://www.fallenheroesmemorial.com/oif/profiles/sheakevinm.html, and http://www.usafaclasses.org/1989/shea.html.
Mr Rich Bristol, father of AF rugby player C3C Jackson Bristol, purchased and designed the cup hardware, base, and designed the plaques. The USAFA Training Devices shop provided the engraved brass plaques on the cup's base. As host for the match, Navy Rugby is coordinating the presentation ceremony to the winning team following the match.