Subscribe to and check the site regularly to stay posted on your University of Memphis Rugby Club. Tiger Rugby has a long tradition of athleticism and commitment to the game. We are especially excited about reaching new goals this coming season.
Practice is open for any U of M students (or Southwest Tennessee Community College students) interested in a great time playing the best sport ever. Practice is located at Memorial Field on the main campus of the University of Memphis. (Memorial Field is north of the Elma Roane Field House at 451 Zach Curlin Street, Memphis, Tennessee). Practice runs from 4:00pm until 6:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Check the practice button for practice updates.)
Thanks for being a part of Tiger Rugby. Go Tigers!
The Ole Miss team requested that we start at 11:00 so they could get back to watch their football team’s contest against LSU.
So…. bring out a chair tomorrow at 11:00am (Saturday, 10/23), and a cup of coffee to watch the Tigers take on Ole Miss. This rivalry has continued with the Tigers on top in recent years. This year the contest will determine if the Tigers remain undefeated and on their way to another conference playoff win.
Memphis and CBU inaugurate a cup to mark their annual rugby fixture. The sport of rugby has a fine tradition of naming special matches after cups, such as the Bledisloe Cup and the Webb Ellis Cup. In that tradition, the Curlin Cup is born.
The Curlin cup is named after Zach Curlin. A graduate from Christian Brothers College, Zach Curlin played football at Vanderbilt and coached at the Memphis State University. He is known as the father of athletics at the University of Memphis. The Tigers play at Memorial field on Zach Curlin Street.
The inaugural Curlin Cup match will be on October 30, 2021 at McBride Field at Tobey Park. The proud winner of the match will have possession of the Curlin Cup until the next meeting.
Ok this is the last alumni weekend email you will get from me as we have just about run out of time for everyone to clear their weekend calendar and concentrate on all of the alumni events taking place this weekend.
1. First event is the social soiree/catch up with everyone this coming Friday night, 7-10 pm, 9/17/21, over at The Casual Pint located along the Highland Strip, 395 S. Highland. So bring your wife/date/significant other/total stranger/another alumni/business associate/or just someone walking down Highland to the Casual Pint Friday evening for at least 15 minutes or 3 hours. Wear your nicest Tiger rugby clothing and if you don’t have anything let me know we’ll figure out something to make you look like an ex-rugby jock. Maybe make you stand net to Steve Swatzyna or Rick Cole so you really look special.
2. Second is the rugby game and post-match bbq/social on Saturday morning, 9/18/21, at McBride Rugby
Field/Tobey Park located on Hollywood Road between Union and Central. The Tigers play the Mississippi State Rugby Team with kickoff at 11 am. Blake and Dave are planning or running around 40 players, the entire squad, thru the game so State should be draggin’ by the end of the game. If you bring your kit maybe with all the on field confusion you could get in a few minutes. They probably won’t notice.
Those of us whose rugby kit is too big due to loss of weight and having a slim, trim physique or the moths have eaten most of the material, will have to just sit on the sideline and watch the game. Please feel free to bring a comfortable chair and we’ll find a strategic location to watch and comment on the game, referees, coaches, alumni, spectators, people walking down the street, weather, Afghanistan situation, current US fiscal policy or anything else that is on no relevant value at the time. Please feel free to bring suntan lotion and wear your speedo so you can work on your fall tan lines as it should be sunny, 80 F, slight southern breeze and a fine day for rugby, bbq, beer, people watchin’, etc.
Immediately after the game there will be bbq/beer for those that are hungry and have paid their $100 food consumption fee for the privilege of eating bbq, drinking beer or soft drinks, talking to the players, people watching and getting my autograph is you are so inclined although I’m not sure why you would want it.
Note: The U of M Football Team plays Mississippi State at 4 pm at Memorial Stadium down the street from Tobey Field. So plan on getting to the game early.
3. Finally on Sunday, September 19, there is a golf tournament at the Chickasaw Country Club starting at 8
am. Coach Blake White will be there and will entertain you during the game with his rousing rendition of the Tiger Fight Song on the karaoke machine and latest tap dance routing from his most recent Dancing with the Stars episode.
Time is running out for you to be part of something special. So please remember to pay your fees for the bbq dinner and golf tournament asap so they can plan accordingly. Payment information is in the attached brochure on the Tiger Alumni weekend which was so beautifully developed by Coach Dave Hill – international rugby coach, grandfather, veteran, retired admiral or something like that for the Navy and ex-Tiger rugby player that played a long, long, long time ago for the Team back in the really old days when I was coaching the Team.
So please sign up and pay for the bbq dinner and golf tournament so we can plan the food and reserve the t-times for golf. Stay safe out there and hopefully we’ll see you in a couple of weeks at one of the alumni events.
The Memphis Tigers will host Mississippi State on September 18, 2021 with a match at McBride Field at Tobey Park at 11:00am. This will be our homecoming match for the fall and will coincide with Memphis v. Miss State in Football in the stadium.
All Tiger Ruggers, fans and friends are encouraged to attend this event. We are looking at the possibility of a golf outing on Friday as well. There will be pre-match and post match events.
Block out 9/18 on your calendar and let’s make this happen.
Bring a lawn chair.
McBride Field at Tobey Park is adjacent to Shelby County School HQ near Hollywood and Central.
The Tiger fall season was recently published by Commissioner Bradley of the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference (SCRC). The Tigers remain in the DII level so we can continue to compete with regional talents like Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
I wanted to finally get around to contacting the Tiger Rugby Alumni and see how everyone is doing. With covid around it has been a weird year for everyone especially the University of Memphis and the Tiger Rugby Team. Because of covid the University cancelled the fall season and rugby until further notice. There are discussions about possibly starting it up in the near future but given the current situation in the City that is doubtful.We are hoping some type of spring season will take place but again, like everything else, time will tell.
Another phenomenal development for the Team was getting Blake White to coach the team. Blake comes over from the Arkansas State Rugby Team which is one of the most successful and nationally ranked teams in the country for the past 20+ years. Blake decided to coach the Tigers as he see almost unlimited potential with the Memphis Team especially with the high school feeder program we have in Memphis and the surrounding areas. He also has great international connections and we could shortly see players with accents (other than Southern) attending Memphis and playing for the Team.
I know many of you were wondering where I have been and why I haven’t already contacted you asking for donations. I really don’t have any good excuse other than I got lazy and found a number of reasons not to do anything. Well I hate to tell you this but I’m back, lean, mean, I’ve got my hand out and I’m again asking for money. As usual we have a number of potential sponsorship levels and opportunities for you to donate to the Team. The donation levels range from as little as $10/month to over $5,000. Should donate you over $5,000 we can easily customize the proper recognition of your donation and work on getting your name and likeness on any number of merchandise or sponsorship items. The donation opportunities listed below are various sponsor levels which could be a monthly draft or lump sum donation. You can choose one of 5 different sponsor levels from the Grey Tiger to the Gold Tiger. In return for your donation you would receive some stunning Tiger merchandise based on the level of your donation.
University of Memphis Rugby Team Donor Levels
Grey Tiger $10 per month$120 per year – foam drink koozie. – This donation will provide a player with a jersey.
Blue Tiger $25 per month $300 per year – koozie and cap. – This donation will pay the S.C.R.C. Conference dues for a year.
Striped Tiger $50 per month $600 per year. koozie and polo shirt. – This donation will pay for the cost of game balls and athletic tape for 1 year.
Silver Tiger $100 per month $1,200 per year – koozie, cap and polo shirt. – This donation will pay for referees for one season.
Gold Tiger $250 per month $3,000 per year. koozie, cap, polo shirt, gym bag – This donation will pay the cost of van rentals for 2 tournament trips each season.
The next donation option would be to sponsor a Team locker. The Team has arranged to fabricate lockers that will be installed in the locker room which is located in the Elma Rhone Fieldhouse. We are looking for individuals or firms that would be willing to be a sponsor for one or more of these lockers. The sponsorship cost is $5,000 and would be good for 10 years. The individual or firm sponsoring the locker will have their name placed on the locker. Below is the information on the locker sponsorship opportunity and a picture of the typical locker is on the attached Tiger Merchandise Sheet. To date we have sold 7 lockers so if you want your name emblazoned on a locker used by one of our stellar student-athletes please let me know.
University of Memphis Locker Sponsorship -Team Locker Sponsor$5,000Payment terms: One-time payment or $1,000/year over 5 years. Donor will have name in plaque placed on the locker. The lockers will be located in the team locker room in the Elma Rhone Fieldhouse. The final sponsor opportunity would be to fund a one or four year scholarship for a player. The donor would have the scholarship named after them if desired. To date we award 7 scholarships annually to deserving students that are members of the rugby Team. This would be an opportunity to financially assist and provide that extra support for one of the student-athletes on the Team.
University of Memphis Rugby Scholarship Sponsor
Scholarship Sponsor $1,200 to $4,800 Donation over a 1-2 year period depending on term. This donation will provide a 1 or 4 year, $1,000 per year scholarship for a student.
Here are a couple of web site links to make either your monthly or lump sum donations described above. For locker or scholarship sponsorships please contact me to discuss the specifics of that type of donation. As always any donation you make to the Tiger Rugby Foundation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Click on on this link and follow the instructions for your donation and sponsor level for the Club. If one of the links below is not a donation option for you we will take cash, checks, credit cards, Venmo and any other form of legal currency or tender and have even been known to accept a large bag of small unmarked bills in a pinch.
Finally I know many of you were hoping to purchase some additional Tiger clothing. We continue to stock a lot of the same Tiger merchandise you purchased last year and gave to family and friends as gifts and tokens of your appreciation. This year we have the same quality merchandise that you have seen in many of the clothing boutiques and fashion houses in Memphis, New York and Paris. Email Me for a Merchandise Form email@example.com and consider stocking up before the holiday rush begins. Nothing says your special to me like Tiger merchandise given as a gift for Halloween, Deviled Egg Day (11/2), National Fast Food Day (11/16), or National Tie One On Day (11/25).
Last year we received almost $60,000 in donations and commitments from alumni, players, parents and rugby supporters from around the country. We are hoping the Alumni will take a few moments to consider donating to the program again or for the first time.
So before you forget, write yourself a note to donate to the University of Memphis Rugby Team. Please remember that I’m getting older by the day and may not have much time left. So it’s important you dig deep as you can because you don’t want me to come back to haunt you for missing a unique donation opportunity. Let me know if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above sponsorship levels for the Team and thank you again for your support of the University of Memphis Rugby Team. Take care and be safe,
First, I’d like to thank Dr. Cole, the Board of Directors along with the current player leadership group, for putting their trust in me while giving me the freedom to help grow the program.
Currently, we have around 15-25 players. Having spent the last three years as head coach of a national contending program at the D1 level it was a relief to hear our leadership group express their intent to become National Champions and how this would require more work and commitment from everyone. In that meeting, we concluded that adding two morning fitness sessions a week was a good start. I have already seen great skill development and rugby IQ increasing seemingly at each session. I am encouraged by this groups effort and enjoyment of the game but even more so their care and commitment to each other as young men.
In our leadership meeting, these young men came up with three words that will guide us this season. These three words are what we want to hang our hat on and look to as a guide for our thoughts and actions.
-Champions-In everything we do, we will do it to the best of our ability.
-Gentlemen- We will be regarded as upstanding young men on and off the pitch.
-Servant Leaders- We will put others first and always find the courage to be the example.
I truly believe there is unlimited potential here if we can get the right people aligned and supporting the club to help sustain the growth needed to get this program to the top. Locally we have several youth and high school clubs competing, led by great coaches. I have several connections to some of the best High School programs all over the world and know that with all that Memphis has to offer I can get them here if we can get enough financial help to ease their costs. Having these players will make an immediate impact on our team but this will more so have a lasting impact on our program through cultural diversity and our local talent playing alongside more experienced players. As you may know, we are constantly seeking help to cut costs and improve our program in a variety of ways. Some items include; travel, hotel, jerseys, practice kit, practice equipment, film equipment and software, meals, team fees and the list goes on. From my experience, collegiate rugby in the USA is still very much an arms race, and the programs that can raise the most money to get these items will have a much greater chance at reaching their goals.
We have a wonderful opportunity to immediately impact our boys. We have purchased 19 custom lockers for the starting lineup, three staff lockers and even one for the referee to be put in our locker room at Memorial Field. These will be numbered 1 through 15 for game day use. We are looking for donors that would like to sponsor the naming rights. The cost will be $1,000/year for 5 years or you can pay all at once. The sponsorship will last 10 years or with an increased amount you can permanently name a locker. ACT FAST as there are only 19 spots available, in years past these have sold out in less than 48 hours. Perhaps you’d like to name a locker in someone’s memory, have your name above the jersey you wore yourself or even your company’s name. These lockers will be movable should we ever be moved to a new locker room.
We have several ways of contributing towards our program, please feel free to email me at Bwhiterugby@gmail.com if you’re interested in helping out.
I’m excited to see you all at our matches this spring!
Memphis TN –10/7/2020 –The Tiger Rugby Foundation announces today that Blake White is taking over the helm as head coach at The University of Memphis. He assumes the coaching duties as well as management of Tiger Rugby operations.
Blake recently resigned as head coach of Arkansas State (ASU) where he led the Red Wolves to top competition in the USA. “I’m thrilled to be coaching the Tigers,” said Coach White. “This program has so much untapped potential. There is no limit for this program.”
Tiger Rugby was started in 1983 by Steve Williams who led the program for 7 years before collegiate rugby in the US was highly organized. Many of his players became leaders and coaches for rugby programs across the US.
The modern Tiger Rugby program was resurrected by Josh Gardner in 2004. Richard Cole and Steve Swatzyna took over the program in 2006 and grew the program to be competitive in the South Independent Rugby Conference (SIRC) and then to the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference (SCRC). Marc Holley took over the reigns in 2019 and led the Tigers to their first ever SCRC Division 2 Conference title.
Along the way, it became clear that the post of head coach was a significant time challenge for any volunteer coach. The responsibility of club management, fund raising, scheduling, training and game day management could be overwhelming.
Blake White became available at just the right time. He comes with a wealth of talent. We was a high school All American in rugby. He played his collegiate career at ASU where he was selected to play for the All South Team. He played in Australia for West Brisbane Bulldogs. He then returned to ASU where he served as assistant coach until taking the head coaching job.
“Coach White has the talent, temperament and skills to take the Tigers to the next level,” said Coach Cole, Tiger Rugby Foundation Chairman. “We are all very excited about his passion for our players, Tiger Rugby traditions, and the City of Memphis.”
Coach White is currently meeting with volunteer Tiger coaching staff, players and supporters and making plans for the spring season. (SCRC moved their 15s schedule to the spring and still hope for a 7s tournament in November 2020).
Coach White is coaching the Junior Blues since the Memphis Tigers are currently in lockdown due to Covid-19. The Junior Blues program is planning a limited 15s schedule this fall.
This is a call for Tiger Rugby Nation to help with your support. There are many ways you can help. First, make sure your Kroger Plus Card is linked to Tiger Rugby. We get several hundred dollars each year from Kroger and that number should be several thousand. Here is how you can link your card.
We also need folks to sign up for annual donations or monthly donations to support the Tigers. The Annual Fund allows donors to contribute to support the team on an annual basis and the Tiger Rugby 100 Club is for people who will pay monthly in support of the Tigers. Click on the hyperlink to know more.
So, please link your Kroger card and give a kind gift to the Tigers. Thanks so much for your support.