To coincide with the commencement of match play, this issue is dedicated to all the volunteer coaches who give of their time to make Woodlands Youth Rugby Club such a fantastic organization for youth rugby in our community. These men and women are committed to our club and our players. They give their time, the most precious commodity of all. We are thankful for their commitment. As you read their profiles, you will find the common theme that runs through all rugby veins….camaraderie, opportunity, experience and friendship. All the good things in life!
Phil Beck- Head Coach
Coach Phil’s favorite quote is “Leave it all on the field”. It’s possible that he likes that quote because he lives it! Coach Phil’s dedication to the club is unwavering. He has been Head Coach for WYRC for almost a decade, leading the club to one State Championship and top three performances nearly every season. Coach became involved with WYRC when he came to help out when the club was in its infancy. Today, Woodlands Youth Rugby Club is one of the largest rugby clubs Texas, thanks to Coach Phil and all the volunteers involved with the club.
From the young age of 8 in England, Coach Phil began his storied rugby career. Before he left England, he had 3 seasons with the Wasps before rugby went professional. Coach Phil’s background is in teaching so coaching is a natural fit. He states ” to be able to give back to this amazing sport and help introduce players to the game is very rewarding. I am extremely grateful to all the coaches who help us and the huge support from our board, team helpers and fans” For Coach Phil, rugby represents great experiences, life long friends and huge camaraderie. This is not an uncommon theme armong rugby aficionados. Coach Phil has a nice collection of rugby pals all around the world.
Visiting Coach- Gareth Nicholas
Woodlands Rugby Club is thrilled to see the return of Welsh Coaching Legend Gareth Nicholas. Gareth is the Director of Rugby for the Bridgend RFC and Bridgend College in Wales, UK. He is a former Wales U18 & U19 Head Coach, and holds a UKCC Level 4 coaching certification. Two years ago, WYRC hosted the Bridgend College Rugby team. Rugby is a sport of friendships- we forge them and we keep them. Coach will be working with our club for the next week. If you see him on the pitch, please give him a big welcome. Our players will learn a lot.
Frank Rizzo- JV/Varsity Coach-Forwards
Coach Rizzo got his rugby start playing for Santa Ana RFC in California in the early 70’s, Back then, rugby was a relatively unknown sport in the US. Coach Rizzo then went on to play in college, then toured New Zealand, England, Australia. He made it all the way to Texas, then took on the role of Head Coach at Sam Houston State University. With some coaxing from Coach Phil, Frank graciously came on board to coach JV/Varsity.
All three of the Rizzo boys have played or are playing for Woodlands Rugby. To Coach Frank, rugby represents life as we attempt to make order out of chaos. Woodlands Rugby is fortunate to have Frank on board. Here is a glimpse of Coach Frank’s philosophy..I don’t do facebook so no matter how hard you try to like me, it’s just not possible.” No coach, we don’t like you, we love you! Thanks for playing along.
Doug Mooneyham- JV and Varsity Coach
Coach Doug loves the game, just like every other coach out there. Another California transplant, What is it about these California kids? Coach Doug got involved with Rugby at San Diego State University in 1989, then played from 1995 – 2003 in the newly formed Super League at the time (this was USA’s 1st stab at professional rugby).
He became a part of WYRC when he landed in Texas and his son Conner played for the club. CD thinks about rugby as “a character defining sport based on what you put into it.If you can apply the same effort you do during games and practices to everyday life challenges then you have already won. I have seen it happen with players, more than once.”
We often see Coach Doug running around and playing like a varsity kid. In fact, his favorite rugby quote is “It’s the game they play in heaven.” Not that any one of us is rushing to get there, but it sure gives us something to look forward to!
Chelsea Peper – Ladies High School
If you like tricks, you’ll love the story of how Coach Chelsea came to be the ladies coach. She was asked by the coach at the time, to come and help the team out while the then coach was away. Two weeks later, the coach said she was leaving for England and Chelsea would be the head coach. “Best trick someone ever played on me!” says Chelsea. That was two years ago.
Coach started playing rugby at Texas A&M about 6 years ago, She has played for A&M, The AustinValks and the Houston Athletic Rugby Club (HARC). She assists with the Ladies team at A&M assistant Coach for Texas High-Performance U19 Girls.
Coach Chelsea details the meaning of rugby in the following way. “Rugby is a great game it brings together all different people, it teaches you strength and discipline to work hard, play to your strengths and to work on your weakness. As great as that is it’s not the part of rugby that has stuck out the most for me. It’s the close knit groups that we become as we play together and against each other, it’s the friends that you have made for life! It’s about the friends that you don’t see for months at a time, but as soon as you do, you fall back into that friendship like you still see each other every day. They are the reason that the game is played with passion, the reason you will push yourself a little harder. You play the game for the love of the game, but it’s the friendships that are made that will make you a little bit better, make you work just a little harder and a little longer! They are your best friend on the Pitch and off, they become a part of your family. That’s what rugby has meant to me, I love the game and know I will be a part of it as long as I can but I know when I stop playing and stop coaching I will still have those friends that have become part of my family.”
Nic James also assists the ladies team. This dynamic duo keep the ladies team excited about rugby. Should you ever get a chance to see these coaches play, you should. They are phenomenal players and Woodlands Rugby High School Girls are fortunate to have such talented volunteer coaches.
Mitch Earley- Junior High
Coach Mitch answers the question of the meaning of rugby
“Rugby to me means opportunity. Opportunity to
meet new friends, learn life lessons, travel the world, and most importantly
Coach Mitchell has come full circle with Woodlands Rugby. As the son of one of the club founders, Donovan Earley, Mitchell started playing rugby at the YMCA in the 5th grade. As Woodlands Rugby got its start, Mitchell continued on his rugby journey, playing from the ages of 10 through high school. During this time, his mad skills were recognized and he was chosen to play for the Texas Select side starting his sophomore year. He moved up to play scrum half for the USA Eagles on their U17 and U18 teams. Following his graduation from high school, young Mitchell went on to play rugby for Life University on scholarship.
Today, Mitchell has the honorable distinction of being addressed as Coach Mitchell. He has coached the U11/13 for the last 2 years is now the Junior High team coach.
He recently completed his Level 200 Coach Certification which focuses on player welfare and teaching players the technical skills to play safely. The assessment requires coaches to demonstrate effective coaching techniques. These techniques include teaching through games, technical skill development through progressions and collaborative coaching. Rugby is a special community and we are grateful to have Coach Mitchell giving back to the club.
“The aspect of sport that you learn is that you have your good times and your bad times, but you share it with great people.” – George Gregan
Phil Devos- Youth Rugby
Originally from sunny South Africa, Coach Phil started playing school rugby when he was 12 years old until his senior year. He also had the honor of serving as the school’s rugby captain. Played for U21 Alberton Rugby club, then immigrated to the great State of Texas. Played a season for the Houston Old Boys RFC before joining The Woodlands RFC in 1993. A proud player on the team that won the 2001 USA National Division II Rugby Championship for the Woodlands. Still an active member/player of The Woodlands RFC Men side and Woodlands Deadwood (over 35) side.
Coach Phil started helping out the club when his sons started playing a couple of years ago. He is glad to be a part of the club and to able to give back to youth rugby. He is even more thrilled that his two boys are keen to play and learn this great sport. Thankful that The Woodlands has a great youth program. Looks like Phil will have lots more rugby to watch and help with in the near future!For those of you in the front row, hear Coach Phil’s favorite quote “Squeeze – Sink- Drive!
Kevin Murphy- Youth Rugby
Newcomer Coach Murphy relocated back to the states from Australia. ” Ironically his coaches asked some guy from upstate NY to help coach the forwards. They were great mentors for coaching kids at this lev
el so upon moving to the Woodlands, it was excellent to see the strong youth rugby program and I knew it would be a good way for my son to meet friends with a bit of character.”Without hesitation, Coach Murphy jumped right into Woodlands rugby. He was instrumental in developing the club’s Touch Rugby League and he continues to help coach now that the season is in full swing.
Kevin switched from soccer to rugby his freshman year of college and he never looked back. He has played for many clubs in Fort Colins, Co and in NY.“These days I try to keep Woodlands Old Boys ‘Deadwood’ Games on my calendar and hope to make Siena Rugby Alumni Match in the spring without looking to beat up for work on Monday.”