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Adrian College Names Mateialona Men's Head Rugby Coach

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Adrian College Names Mateialona Men's Head Rugby Coach

Benny Mateialona has been coaching in Michigan for several years. Photo Legacy Rugby Academy.

Adrian, Mich.—Adrian College director of athletics Michael Duffy on Monday has named former Michigan State University club coach Benny Mateialona as the first head coach of the Bulldogs new men's rugby varsity program that is scheduled to debut in Fall 2021.

"I’m truly honored with the responsibility of leading the first men's varsity rugby program and the commitment Adrian College is making to the program. I'm excited to get started and expand the game of rugby in an institution of tradition and leadership," Mateialona stated. "Our goal is to recruit student-athletes that acquire good character and purpose in a nurturing environment."

Mateialona assumes the reins of his first head coaching position at the collegiate level after serving as the boys' head coach at Detroit Catholic Central High School since April 2017. He helped start the program which strategically aligned with institutional goals to increase enrollment at the private prep school. He created strength development programs for his athletes, record-keeping procedures, practice plans, a youth rugby team and preseason training schedules. He also oversaw game-day operations, a program budget, team inventory, in-game coaching and organizing fundraising events. Detroit Catholic Central made consistent appearances in Michigan Youth Rugby semifinal appearances in the state playoffs.

"Men's Rugby will be a great addition as our 49th sport to our athletics department portfolio here at Adrian College," stated Bulldogs director of athletics Michael Duffy. "During the national search process, we were impressed that Benny had the exact traits we were looking for in our first coach for this new sport--leadership, knowledge, and most importantly, passion for the sport of rugby.

"He has already has made a presence on campus with his recruiting efforts. He also will be an outstanding addition to Athletics with his strength and conditioning background. We look forward to our first contest in the fall of 2021."

In addition to his coaching duties at Detroit Central, Mateialona has been the lead coach at the Legacy Rugby Academy since March 2017. He helped prepare athletes who advanced to play international rugby or Major League Rugby (MLR). His chief duties were recruiting/retaining athletes, establishing a competitive schedule, coordinating practice planning, skill development and development of a strength program. He also assisted in organizing clinics.

Mateialona also has coached for the Michigan State University Rugby Club (2015-16), Life University Rugby as scrumhalf coach, (2010-13) and as the Phoenix Alpharetta High School skills coach (2009-10).

From January 2015 to December 2019, he was the strength and conditioning coach at Chesaning Union High School tasked with creating and developing strength, speed and conditioning workouts for all sports at the school. He performed scheduling, inventory, ordering new equipment and maintenance duties.

Mateialona also is an experienced clinician having worked at the USA Rugby Boys High School All-American Winter Camp, Nike Rugby Camp at MSU, Nike Rugby Camp at the University of Michigan, Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Tour, USA U18 High School All-American 7s Trials in San Diego, Atavus Rugby Clinics, USA U18 High School All-American Tour in Vancouver, and NA4 U-18 High School All-American Camp in Chula Vista, Calif..

The Montrose, Mich., resident also excelled on the field as a player during his undergraduate days with the Life University Running Eagles from 2008 to 2013 and at the professional level with the MLR's New England Free Jacks in 2019. He was a two-year Collegiate All-American and was Honorable Mention on the Collegiate All-American Tour as a freshman in 2008.

In addition, Mateialona participated in the Junior World Cup Qualifier hosted in Trinidad & Tobago in 2004. He was a member of the Fresno Men’s Rugby Club that same year and made the U-19 Junior World Cup squad in 2005. He also played for the Tempe Old Devils Rugby Club (2006-07), USA Men’s Selects (2009-11) and Tri-City Barbarians Rugby Football Club (2015-18).

Mateialona received a business administration degree from Life University in December 2013, a Level 200 coaching certificate from USA Rugby in January 2015 and a youth coaching certification with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy in August 2018.