The Tigers gathered at Fresh Slices Restaurant on April 24th in mid-town to enjoy a good meal, great fellowship and present their awards for the 2011-2012 academic year. Honoree for the day was Lee Downing, graduating senior who has been fundamental in the success of the Tigers through the past year on multiple fronts.
But first… some unfinished business…. The game awards from our win over Mississippi State needed to be delivered, and to the delight of the crowd, the following were honored by Kian and Phil for their contributions to that game. Man of the Match went to Simren Dhaliwal for excellent play at wing including two scores from the 16 position.
Best forward was Aimeer McCrary for his powerful play and one score.
Best back went to Justin Walden for stepping up to play fly half and run the backs from his normal outside position.
On to the annual awards… First the 2011-2012 officers were thanked for their service to the club and were awarded an engraved crystal documenting their service.
We are grateful for the service of Jay MacDonnchadh as president, Kian Koleini as secretary and for Phil Elliott and Chris Cobb serving as treasurers. They did a fine job managing the affairs of the club. The officers, captains and the head coach comprise the Executive Committee (EC) where many critical decisions are made for the club. Many players are unaware of the effort necessary to prepare for a game, but these individuals worked very hard to ensure that we had a successful year.
Secondly, the EC established a new award for club participation. A club badge was designed and criteria for earning a badge were established. The “Badge Award” criteria are as follows:
- Must be a student at the U of M
- Must be a member of Memphis Rugby Club for a full year and have fulfilled your responsibilities with the club such as dues payment and fulfillment of committee responsibilities
- Must have demonstrated commitment to the club by actively participating in practices and games as assigned
The following 20 individuals earned their club badges this inaugural year:
- Dylan Carter
- Josiah Shipley
- Thomas DiFillippo
- Aimeer McCrary
- Jonathan Bauer
- Will Fitts
- Adam Hairston
- Joshua Campbell
- Lee Downing
- Chris Cobb
- Ryan Phillips
- Kian Koleini
- Jonathan Brewi
- Phil Elliott
- Willie Lacey
- Justin Hale
- Justin Walden
- Simren Dhaliwal
- Scott Smith
- Jay MacDonnchadh
Team awards were then presented by Coach Cole. The awards were voted on by the players in a blind ballot over the previous weekend.
The Tiger Scratch award was a new award designed by the EC to recognize the player who was most beat up during the season. It was apparent by the voting that the players also wanted to award someone who gave as much as he got. The players aptly chose Jonathan Bauer to initiate this award.
Honoring the best player off of the bench was tough this year. There were lots of players who were nominated. However, this year the nod went to Lee Downing for his excellent play at several positions, including flanker, prop, hooker, jumper in the lineout, and inside center.
There was excellent forward play this year and several pack members distinguished themselves. This was a tough vote but it was clear that the team recognized the mental toughness and physical power and commitment of this individual. Josiah Shipley was honored as the 2011-2012 best forward.
This year’s best back scored the most points of all players with 83 points on the season, led his backline with excellence and was a captain several times during the year. It was a pleasure to pass the award to Phil Elliott for his excellent play through the year.
This years MVP winner grew up with the game and provided the much needed leadership needed by the team in this building year. Joshua Campbell, served as captain for several games, was an assistant coach for the matrix tournament and was invaluable in games and practice. He was solid in all aspects of the game, was the second leading scorer with 66 points, but most importantly provided maturity that this young squad needed. He was the right selection as MVP and was very gracious in his acceptance speech. He recognized the role of all players on the field and thanked them for the recognition.
The following individuals served as captains for the side through the year and received a certificate acknowledging their selection and service.
- Ryan Phillips
- Joshua Campbell
- Phil Elliott
- Justin Walden
Joshua Campbell, Chris Cobb and Lee Downing were provided certificates acknowledging their important role as player coaches throughout the 2012 spring season. They were invaluable as the Tigers traveled to North Carolina to compete in the matrix tournament.
Lee Downing was again called upon to come forward… this time for his senior recognition awards. He was provided with a plaque marking his accomplishments and a cup that he is to bring to all Memphis functions. (The cup shall not run dry!) A book signed by all players titled the “Book of Man” was chosen since Lee is “The Man”. Lee played for Memphis through the past 5 years and was one of the most dependable players on the club. His rugby knowledge allowed him to be used in many playing roles, all critical to the success of the club. Also, he raised $2500 for the club this year, far more than any other player which allowed the club to purchase much needed new jerseys. In his last days with the club, he found us a beer sponsor to help offset our cost. Lee will truly be missed. Cheers, Lee.
Coach Cole Honored
Coach Cole was thanked by club President Jay MacDonnchadh for coaching the team over the past year and was presented with a team photo signed by the players. The photo hangs in coach’s home office where he reflects on the accomplishments of the past year. Also, backs coach Steve Swatzyna was critical to the success of the year. Together Coaches Cole and Swatzyna brought balance in perspective which led to the 8-2 collegiate record.
Officer elections were held for the 2012-2013 season and the results were as follows.
- President – Jay MacDonnchadh
- Secretary – Adam Hairston
- Treasurer – Joshua Campbell
- Captain – Kian Koleini
- Co-Captains – Phil Elliott and Scott Smith
Vision for 2012-2013
The night ended with Coach Cole casting a vision for the club for the next year. He stated that the theme for next year will be “Foundations”. We will be building on the foundations set before us by this team and those who have preceded. He stated that instruction will continue to stress the following five key qualities: integrity, courage, poise, class, and leadership.