Alabama looking for new rugby coach
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Mason Smith
The club is looking to fill the position after Eddie Buckner, who was the first official coach in program history, stepped down after five years.
Alabama Rugby Foundation board members Sara Crosby and Allen Kipp are leading the search for a new head coach alongside ARF President Matthew Colson and Paul Molito, who is the player representative for the club.
Crosby said the interview process has begun, but they are leaving the door open for prime candidates.
“It’s the University of Alabama,” Crosby said. “We have a reputation for being the best, and that’s what we want from the next coach.”
Alabama competes in Division I of the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference. As a club sport, rugby does not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA, but it does follow a similar structure, and the SCRC comprises Alabama and other SEC and ACC schools with club teams, including Tennessee, Ole Miss and Clemson.
“A lot of the clubs have good coaching programs,” Colson said. “We want to match those programs. You need good coaching to keep up with the premier college teams.”
Colson said they prefer to have a local candidate because the club doesn’t have the funds to support relocation, but the position is paid and includes a stipend based on experience.
“We want a coach who is passionate about player development,” Colson said. “Not only on the field but in the classroom.”
Alabama Rugby was established in 1973, and until Buckner became the coach in 2017, the team was essentially self-coached.
“They’ve come a massive way,” Buckner said. “They are a solid group with the potential to be phenomenal.”