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Alderson Broaddus Steps Into Varsity Rugby Territory

College Women
College Men

Alderson Broaddus Steps Into Varsity Rugby Territory

Remember these faces. The first rugby recruits for Alderson Broaddus Rugby, with staff.

In one of the recent list of College Commitments on FloRugby you might have seen several entries for Alderson Broaddus University, and it would be a fair question to ask, what’s going on their? Here’s what.

A small liberty arts college in Philippi, WV, Alderson Broaddus hired a head coach for new men’s and women’s varsity rugby last fall. There was, previously, no rugby at all at the school, but they had a coach in former Eagle Laura Miller, and she has been hard at work putting together rosters.

“We had no club rugby, nothing, so we were starting totally from scratch,” Miller said. “I have spent this entire past year recruiting.”

With some on-campus students and a few transfers they have had enough players to work on skills, and this coming season Miller said she expects her men’s team to be deep enough to play some non-conference 15s. Both programs, she added, will certainly play 7s in the National Small College Rugby Organization competitions.

“To have a competitive 15s season you need a roster north of 25 players. We might be able to build our men’s team to the point where we will play some developmental 15s matches, but we’re building in a slow and sustainable way,” said Miller.

That means, focusing on bringing in freshmen committed to the school, not short-term traansfers.

“We have a really exciting class of freshmen coming in, but we are incubating this program, not trying to jump into anything too quickly,” explained Miller.

Alderson Broaddus was founded in 1932, the margin of two older institutions. It’s a private university known for his liberal arts and sciences, but was looking for a boost in enrollment and picked rugby as one way to broaden its reach.

 They found Miller, who earned her Master’s Degree at Life University and played with the Seattle Saracens and Glendale Merlins as well as the USA national team.

 The Indiana native and outdoor enthusiast loved the school’s location in Philippi and jumped at the chance.

“I wanted to get into coaching and I was really looking to start something from scratch,” said Miller. “I wanted a school with a little less notoriety, someplace where I could start with a clean slate. I wanted to coach in NSCRO, I wanted a liberal arts school, and I wanted to be able to enjoy the outdoors, and this was perfect for me.”

Miller said she has already learned a lot coaching her first recruits. She keeps is simple and works hard on getting players to understand the basics. She expects the players’ knowledge to grow as the program grows.

She also says she the school is close to a huge talent base, with New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Indiana basically surrounding the state.

“It’s also really inexpensive,” said Miller, who adds that the rugby program will offer scholarship as Alderson Broaddus is a D2 school in NCAA. “Students will find they pay less than in-state tuition in New Jersey or Maryland.”