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.