Clemson Rugby

Clemson Rugby
Clemson Tigers
Clemson Rugby Logo 1.png
Full name Clemson University Rugby Football Club
Current Rank
Founded 1967
Union Atlantic Coast Rugby League
Grounds Clemson University, South Carolina
Coach Flag of the United States.svg Justin Hickey
Competitions USA Rugby South

Clemson Men's Rugby was founded in 1967. Clemson finished the 2005 Season ranked #14 the 2006 Season ranked #13 in the nation and the 2007 season #17. Clemson's best season was in 1996 when the team advanced to the Elite Eight and finished ranked 7th nationally. Rugby is one of the oldest clubs at Clemson University. The team has gone 57-15 in the last three years, with the only losses coming to Men's teams and Top 20 ranked College rugby teams.[1] There was also an article about Clemson Rugby in the Greenville News in the Spring of 2006, as seen in the picture below on the right.[2] In 2011 USA Under 20 Team Manager Justin Hickey was hired as the Head Coach of the Clemson University Rugby Football Club[3].



Clemson has had its second Collegiate All-American in 2008 with Second Row Michael Fitzgerald.[4]
Clemson had its first Collegiate All-American in 2005 in Scrumhalf Dutch Jones.[5]
Clemson's 8-man Scott Wagemann made the All-Marine Team and the All-Armed Services Team.[6]
Clemson Alumni have gone on to play in the top league in the country: Rugby Super League in the last few years. Will Phillips plays with the Olympic Club, Tyson Campbell plays with the Philadelphia-Whitemarsh and Jason Hinchman and Dutch Jones play with the Charlotte Rugby Club
Former Clemson player and coach Jim Gaine coached the All-American team in 2004.
Clemson has had numerous South All-Stars, U-19 All-stars and GRU All-stars during the team's history.


Clemson won the USA Rugby South Championship in 2006, 1998, and 1996.
Clemson has won GRU tourney in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Huntsville Rugby Tournament Champion 2003.
Elite 8 Appearance in 1996 (Def. Cornell Univ./Loss to Penn State)
Sweet 16 Appearances in 1996(Cornell/Penn State), 1998(Dartmouth/Colorado State), 2005(Army/Penn State), 2006(Navy/UC Santa Barbara) and 2007 (Navy/Army).


Clemson set the team scoring record in 2006 with a 118-3 victory over the University of Florida. Clemson's previous record was in 1998 when they defeated Citadel 100-0. In 2003 Clemson went 14-0 in the fall for the best winning percentage ever for the Fall Season. In the fall of 2004 Clemson won 19 games for the most ever in the Fall Season.

All-South Selections

Usa rugby south.png

2008 South All-Stars
Mike Fitzgerald, Ben "Broadway" Walence
2007 South All-Stars
Mike "Irish" Ireson, Mike Fitzgerald, Geoff Clott, Ben "Broadway" Walence
2006 South All-Stars
Jason Hinchman, Dutch Jones, Mike Fitzgerald, Robert Bortins, Matt "Wayne" Bassett
2005 South All-Stars
Jason Hinchman, Dutch Jones, Mike "Irish" Ireson, Bryan Burton
2004 South All-Stars
Jason Hinchman, Dutch Jones, Shawn Hanna, Scott Waggeman, Ryan Wolf
2003 South All-Stars
2002 South All-Stars
2001 South All-Stars
Will Phillips and Neil Yanik
2000 South All-Stars
Will Phillips, Johnathon Mullikin, and Neil Yanik
1999 South All-Stars
1998 South All-Stars
Andras Bende, Jim Gaine, Will Phillips
1997 South All-Stars
Andras Bende, Jim Gaine, David Merchant, Will Phillips

Team record

2005-2006: 14-4 Clemson outscored their opponents 766-313. 0-2 in National Tournament, 35-46 against Navy and 22-32 against UC Santa Barbara.
2004-2005: 17-8-1 Second in the South. 0-2 in National Tournament, 18-35 against Army and 26-46 to Penn State.
2003-2004: 20-2
Spring 2001: 3-3
Spring 1998: 7-0 Defeated Citadel 100-0 and Emory 94-0
Fall 1997: 3-3
Spring 1997: 5-3
Fall 1996: 5-5
Fall 1995: 6-1-1
Spring 1995: 10-0 Defeated USC 85-0

Previous seasons

Fall season summary 2004

Dec 03, 2004 First XV results:
Record: 8-1-1
Points For: 378
Points against: 115
Avg. PF 37.8
Avg. PA 11.5
Avg. Margin of Victory: 26.3
Held Opponents under 10: 4 times
Shutouts: 2 times
CU Scored over 50: 3 times
Men's Club victories: 2 and 1 tie
Collegiate D1 victories: 2
Losses: 1 (Radford University 15-18, eventual Virginia State champs. defeated University of Virginia, Virginia Tech both D1 College Teams.
Ties: 1 (Memphis RFC 20 - 20)
Tournament Championships: 1 GRU
All-Star selections: 12

2003-2004 season summary

The team finished with a 20-2 record over the course of the season, the best record in team history. Outscoring their opponents 819-245 in 22 games, the Tigers averaged a 26 point margin of victory. While recording five shutouts, their largest victories came over Georgia 85-0 and Florida 72-5. The team won two tournaments and had nine games where the Tigers kept their opponents under ten points. Disappointingly, the two losses came in the playoffs to the University of North Carolina and the University of Tennessee, and CURFC would have to wait another year to make it to the Sweet 16. Clemson Rugby also traveled to Louisiana on their first fall break tour since 1995 and returned undefeated against LSU and Tulane.

Clemson has been successful due in part to their recruiting efforts and attitude towards the sport. "We have gone away from the idea that the students will come out if they are interested." Coach Jim Gaine stated. "We do our best to market the sport as an avenue for the students to continue competition and be a part of the Clemson experience, not just another thing to do after class." The reaction has been obvious, more than 60% of the team are either freshman or sophomores, and all of these players contribute to the success of the team. The Tigers also have five players representing the south collegiate all-stars in Boulder, CO this June at the National All-Star Championship.

Clemson Players and Alumni

A Tradition Born Through Dedication

In 1967 four friends, Frank Morah, Jeremy Pike, Nick Scholar, and Jeff Tyers dedicated themselves to forming a rugby team at Clemson University. The team struggled through many years of hardships like most new teams, but as time passed the team improved. Through hard work and dedication Clemson Rugby soon became a major force in collegiate rugby.

The 1990s were a time for change within the CURFC on the field. Former player Frank Graziano became involved with the team once again and instilled an idea of field dominance nationally. During Coach Graziano's time with the team, Clemson Rugby had managed to achieve several major accomplishments. Numbered among those achievements were Clemson's first undefeated season, Georgia Rugby Union champions, a number one ranking in the Southeast, and entrance into the Elite Eight where the Tigers matched up against Penn State after a first round victory over Cornell University.

In the CURFC's 30th year and in the same school year of Coach Graziano's departure for a USA Rugby Collegiate Director position, the Tigers remained strong. Student coached the Tigers amazed many strong university teams throughout the south. A difficult Fall lead to a successful Spring semester in which the CURFC would again be in the national spotlight. After defeating every southern team they faced, the Tigers boarded a plane for Houston, Texas and the Sweet Sixteen. There the Tigers gained the respect of many nationally ranked teams and coaches for pulling together and showing the determination to even make the trip.

Clemson Rugby has grown off the field as well. The Tigers have made several large strides in improving Clemson Rugby's organization. The team has set up an alumni fund to allow graduates to give back to the club. The annual alumni gathering at homecoming has become a highly anticipated event where former players and supporters are hosted at several events including a dinner, inter-collegiate rugby match, pre-football game tailgate, an alumni match against the college team, and a post match cookout which allows the past players to socialize with the present players and of course tell old war stories. There is a website setup for the Clemson Rugby Foundation in order to help increase the support of the Clemson University Rugby teams. The Clemson Rugby Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and was founded during the CURFC's 40th year. It has allowed the alumni and supporters a more organized way of supporting rugby at Clemson including the creation of several scholarships, coaching stipends and other grants.


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