NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Monroe College, a national leader in educating urban and international students, announced today that it has hired premier rugby coach James English to launch a Rugby Academy in the Fall semester, bringing the fastest-growing team sport in the country to its New Rochelle campus.
The Rugby Academy will provide students with varying levels of experience the opportunity to play competitively at the collegiate level, playing traditional "fifteens" in the fall semester – meaning 15 players per team on the field at a time – and the faster-paced "sevens" tournament-style format during the winter and early spring. Monroe's Rugby Academy will play against teams in the Central Division of the Tri-State Conference for Collegiate Rugby during the fall, with the first game scheduled against Vassar College on September 11, and in various national tournaments during the second semester.
Head Coach James English will lead the Academy. He joins the Monroe Mustangs athletic department with a wealth of experience playing and coaching rugby across England, Ireland and the United States. English, who has been coaching rugby since 2003, played and studied the sport at the University of Northampton in England before returning to his native London to earn a Post Graduate Certificate in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching. As Head of Rugby and Long Term Athlete Development at a specialized sports high school in London, he worked with future Olympians across a variety of sports. He then relocated to Dublin, Ireland to teach and coach rugby at the renowned Blackrock College.
"With its core focus on developing the whole student-athlete, Monroe's approach of driving academic accomplishment and personal development along with sport-specific technical skills and training is very much aligned with my own philosophy, and a key reason I jumped at the chance to help build a rugby program here," said Head Coach English.
He noted: "The Rugby Academy will operate as a club program, but with the training rigor and discipline of a varsity program, bringing experienced players and those from sports like football with transferable skills together on the pitch."
Since moving to the United States three years ago, English has led rugby program development as the Executive Director and High Performance (players) Director for Rugby Pennsylvania, and coached Yale University's men's team; he's also coached at Atavus USA Rugby Academy and the Atavus All Star Women's program. He is currently a coach with Play Rugby USA's Community Olympic Development Program, as well as Head Coach of the New York Rugby Club women's team in the Women's Premier League. English is also the Attack and Backs Coach for USA Rugby Women's Collegiate All-Americans.
Rugby is the fastest-growing team sport in the United States and the second-most watched and attended sport globally. Further underscoring its growing popularity, rugby will be returning to the Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro after a 92-year hiatus. The U.S. team will defend the gold medal it won in 1924 when the sport was last included in the summer games.
Additional information about the Monroe College Rugby Academy is shared on the college's website; admissions and financial aid information is also available.