The Colgate University Rugby Football Club was born out of the cold depths of a Hamilton winter in 1966, as a part of the University’s “January Plan”, an independent-study project for students in- you guessed it- January. Stephen Wright ’67 completed his work in the form of a report titled "Why and How Rugby Should Be Developed at Colgate".
Not long after, a group of visionary young men led by Mr. Wright and Pete Stackhouse ’66 organized Colgate's first athletic club, made up mostly of varsity football players and anyone else who was interested. As the modern college leagues would not come into existence for many years, original opponents of the club included East Coast colleges like University of Pennsylvania (Colgate’s first-ever match), and local men’s clubs from central New York. Colgate played its first full season in 1966-67 and had their first All-American, Gene Detwiler '69 named in 1968.
In the spring of 1970, the Colgate Rugby Club moved its operation to Academy Field, a scenic green running along the university’s famous Oak Drive, where they played their first home game against Boston College. A few years later, Betsy Zimmerman '79 would found the Women's Rugby Club and usher in a new era of athletic cooperation between the men's and women's sides. Today Academy Field is considered one of the most beautiful pitches in the nation, and holds the unique position as one of the only active competition grounds at the center of a college campus. Both the men’s and women’s sides continue to proudly call Academy Field their home.
A long and colorful history distinguishes the Colgate RFC program, and we encourage anyone interested to read more in our "stories" section. Some are goofy. Some are heartfelt. All are part of who we are.
David Chapman is the program director of Colgate University Rugby. He has coached both the men’s and women’s sides for the past seven years and is responsible for the promotion of the program into Division I competition. During David’s tenure, the men’s and women’s sides have competed in several national tournaments, which includes a national championship for the women’s 7s side. David brings over two decades of rugby experience to his position, dating back to his playing days at Ole Miss. He is a certified level-300 USA Rugby coach, whose goal is to allow each player to grow both their skills and mindset, with an emphasis on success, safety, and (of course) fun..
President, Colgate Rugby Alliance
Matt is the president of the Colgate Rugby Alliance (CRA), the alumni/student/parent organization which seeks to provide financial support, mentorship, and guidance to continue growing Rugby at Colgate and beyond. The CRA helps players enhance their Colgate experience, career prospects, and alumni opportunities. Matt played rugby at Colgate, in Minneapolis (Metropolis) and Seattle (Seattle RFC, NOBS), and is a Director in KPMG's Risk Advisory practice.