Coaching is about more than wins and losses. It is about making a positive impact on the game, the people, and the community. NCR is proud of its over 800 coaches dedicated to improving the lives of young men and women playing college rugby across the United States.
The Coach of the Month program recognizes coaches who exemplify the characteristics of a strong role model, build confidence and character in their players, devote time and energy towards building for the future, and make a profound impact in the lives of their athletes and the sport of rugby.
NCR and Rugbee.co are proud to recognize Andrew Higgs as our February Coach of the Month. In addition to being a chemistry instructor at Christopher Newport University, Higgs is in his second season coaching the Women’s Rugby Club.
Higgs’ rugby resume starts at Franklin and Marshall College where he started playing rugby as a freshman in 2001 and continued until 2005. Following college, he played with the Ann Arbor Men’s Club (2005-2010) and then the Stanford Business School Club (2011-2012).
The players of CNU Women’s Rugby Club have nothing but praise to say about their coach.
“Not only has Dr. Higgs helped build the women's rugby team from the ground up, he has supported the girls in class, rugby, and in life…Volunteering several hours a week just because he cares and loves the sport (that) we all now love thanks to him. Without Dr. Higgs there would be no team.”
“Coach Higgs has not only helped us learn and grow the sport, but introduced us to a type of enthusiasm for the sport of rugby that is unmatched. He has volunteered his time, knowledge, and ear to being there for us as a coach. I do not think I would have fallen in love with the sport as much as I have if Coach Higgs was not the one who taught me everything I know.”
NCR and Rugbee.Co are proud to recognize Christina Nesberg as the November Coach of the Month. Nesberg has a long history with the Northern Michigan Northstars, starting as a collegiate player in 1998.
After college, Nesberg traveled west and played in adult rugby leagues, which led to her selection as a USA Eagle. After suffering a knee injury, Nesberg looked to coaching. She began her extensive coaching career at the girls high school level and progressed to become Stanford Rugby’s assistant coach.
Nesberg notes the best coaching clinic she ever took was led by Wayne Smith and Graham Henry. They taught about the importance of club culture and character, and helped to develop her love for coaching rugby. Nesberg feels very fortunate to be able to coach for the Northstars, the team that started her rugby career, and to continue to pass on the love of the game and its culture.
Northstar Rugby recently capped off another successful season with a third place title in the Small College National Championship.
The ladies of Northstar Rugby have nothing but admiration for Nesberg. In her nomination they noted how “Tina has shown us what it means to love rugby. And to play rugby because we enjoy it, not because we want to win, but because we want to play to our best ability. The Northstars would not be the Northstars without Tina and everything she has done for us.”
Rugbee.co and NCR are proud to recognize Wesley Seay as our October Coach of the Month. Seay is the coach for the University of Miami (OH) Rugby team and currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Seay’s rugby career begins at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. There, he majored in Spanish Education and was the captain and player/coach of the Men’s Rugby Club, where the current team just took second place in the Men’s Small College Great Midwest Rugby Conference Championship.
From there, Seay went on to play with the Milwaukee Barbarians and helped coach The Milwaukee School of Engineering Rugby Team for three years alongside Shannon Bustillos.
“Wes has been instrumental in rebuilding Miami Rugby over the past three years, enduring many challenges along the way. The RedHawks have become Division II contenders and are on an upward trajectory that should see them competing on a bigger stage for years to come.”
Kathleen’s history with the University of Iowa’s Women’s rugby club goes back to when she was a student at the university. O’Neil played for the team for a year in undergrad and returned to the team in 2018 when she began working in the History Department as the Graduate Program Coordinator. Despite only playing for a year, O’Neil found her way back to the sport while serving on the Whiteman Air Force Base and started playing with the KC Jazz. Upon moving to Tennessee, O’Neil played with the Nashville Stone Lions Women’s Rugby Club and also helped to start and coach a middle school co-ed rugby team in Franklin, TN. O’Neil was also the Head Coach for the Middle School team for 3 years, an assistant coach for the High School boys team from 2011-2017, and became Head Coach of the Nashville Women’s Club from 2012 – 2015.
O’Neil’s team nominated her for all of her contribution to the rebirth and growth of the University of Iowa’s Women’s Rugby Club. In addition to helping the team succeed on the field (currently #5 in the Division I Coaches Poll), O’Neil always takes time to support each player’s academic success, mental health, and physical health.
“She (Coach K) is a dedicated coach who volunteers much of her valuable free time to the team. Our team is greatly appreciative to have a coach who is deeply invested in the advancement of women’s rugby, as well as elevating our team to the highest level we can be.” - University of Iowa Women’s Rugby Club