Dartmouth Rugby Team have a long rich legacy in the sport which reaches back to the 1870s when the famous green on Dartmouth College campus held its first game. Known as the ‘Big Green’, the team has enjoyed success in all formats of the game and has blazed the trail for the sport in America.
Dartmouth Rugby History Recap
1769: Dartmouth College established.
1877: Rugby first played on the Dartmouth Green.
1880: Dartmouth Rugby Football Association established, evolves into American football beginning in early 1890s.
1951: Rugby re-established on campus as the touring Dartmouth Rugby Football Club.
1954: Dartmouth alumnus Vince Jones ’52 earns his Varsity Blue with Oxford University.
1958: Becomes the first American university to play in England, garnering substantial media coverage (including feature story in Sports Illustrated) as the men in Green went 5-1-1.
1962: First American university to play in Ireland, establishing a long match tradition with Trinity College in Dublin.
1969: Ivy League rugby tournament established.
1985: Elite 8 finalist in National Championship.
1986 and 1988: National Champion Runner-Up.
1987: National Semi-Finalist.
2005: Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse dedicated, becoming preeminent facility in the US.
2008: Dartmouth wins historic 12th Ivy Championship, the most of any Ivy team.
2009: Dartmouth’s Alex Magleby named head coach of the US Collegiate All-Americans.
2011: Dartmouth wins USA Sevens College Rugby Championships, televised live on NBC.
2012: Dartmouth wins USA Sevens College Rugby Championships, televised live on NBC.
2012: Dartmouth’s Alex Magleby ’00 named head coach of the US National Sevens team.
2013: Dartmouth hires former Leicester Tigers, Leinster, Ireland A, and Ireland 7s player, Gavin Hickie, as head coach.
2013: Dartmouth alumnus Nate Brakeley ’11 earns his Varsity Blue with Cambridge University.
2014: Dartmouth’s Gavin Hickie named forwards coach of the Collegiate All-Americans.
2014: Dartmouth captain, Madison Hughes ’15, scores 33 points in his international debut tournament for the US 7s team.
2014: Dartmouth’s Alex Magleby ’00 named USA Rugby National Development Director.
2015: Dartmouth’s Gavin Hickie named head coach of the Collegiate All-Americans.
2015: Dartmouth captain, Madison Hughes named captain of the USA 7s team and leads side to victory in the London round of the HSBC World Series.
Dartmouth Rugby Facilities
That first game may have been played on the Green but the current crop of players run out onto Brophy Field, an impressive setting for a rugby game, situated in front of the Corey Ford Club House with views to the hills beyond.
Dartmouth College is situated in the the town of Hanover in North New Hampshire not far from the Canadian border and ‘enjoys’ the same extreme weather conditions as their northern cousins with -27 degrees during the depths of winter not unusual. Luckily the players can use the excellent gym facilities at the college and can train on the nearby astro turf pitch under floodlights when not in use by the Dartmouth Football team.
Dartmouth Rugby Coaches
Many players have gone on to represent their country and now the coaches are getting in on the act. Head Coach Alex Magelby had impressed throughout his tenure at Dartmouth, most recently winning back to back CRC Championships with the Dartmouth Rugby 7s side. When the USA 7s squad were looking for a new coach they gave ‘Mags’ a call.
His appointment coincided with a major shift in the sport in the US with the awarding of the first professional contracts which had happened in January that year. With Sevens an Olympic Sport, USA Rugby took the opportunity to introduce a professional structure in the Elite game.
With Magelby seconded to the Eagles, there were big shoes to fill at Dartmouth. Fellow USA Coach, the U20s Forwards Coach Gavin Hickie was approached to take charge. The quality of the coaching staff has been recognised with Magleby’s appointment as USA Rugby National Development Director and Hickie being named Head Coach to the Collegiate All Americans. Both roles are key to delivering the development pathway of elite level players in the US.
The investment in the exceptional facilities and experienced staff shows Dartmouth Rugby’s commitment to continue to build on their rugby legacy for generations to come.
Dartmouth Rugby Quick Facts
Dartmouth Rugby is an internationally recognized program with a strong record of success and a storied touring history, including:
- 2011 & 2012 CRC 7’s National Champions
- The most wins and championships among the Ancient Eight of the Ivy League, including winning eight of the last 11 Ivy Cup Championships
- Two National Championship Runner-ups
- Three National final-four appearances
- 12 National Round of 16 appearances
- Thirteen New England Championships in recent years
- Numerous Collegiate National Top-10 finishes
- Annual international tours since 1951: recent matches in South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Ireland, England, Italy, Spain and Wales to name a few
- The club fields three sides throughout the spring and fall seasons, garnering a participation of up to 70 students-athletes.
- Numerous individual awards–including four US Eagles, nine All-Americans, four US Maccabiah reps and many New England, Northeast and Eastern Select side players.