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Penn State Hires Two New Head Coaches

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Penn State Hires Two New Head Coaches

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Penn State Release) – The Pennsylvania State University has named Blake Burdette and Kate Daley head coaches of the Men’s and Women’s programs respectively. Following a three-month search led by Director of Rugby, Chris Amoratis, the two were selected to fill the first ever full-time coach positions in the program’s history.

“We are very excited about the additions of Blake and Kate, as each brings a wealth of rugby knowledge and energy into the program,” said Amoratis of the hires. “It is a great time for Penn State Rugby.”

Burdette comes to the program from Salt Lake City, Utah, where he most recently developed the Olympus high school team. Prior to that, the University of Utah graduate served his alma mater by heading the men’s rugby team.

A two-sport athlete in college, Burdette boasts an extensive playing resume as well. Before earning 12 caps for the USA Eagles, the former prop helped the Utes football team to a 2004 Fiesta Bowl victory, as a tight end under Urban Meyer.

Shortly after college though, the Eagles tabbed the former Utes star for its 2007 IRB World Cup squad.

After two seasons of playing for NYAC, Burdette switched roles to coaching. While at the helm, Utah earned four quarterfinal appearances in 15s in addition to winning the inaugural CRC 7s title in 2010.

“Blake has great experience on numerous levels, which will be vital to the program as we integrate further into the Athletics Department,” said Amoratis of the new men’s head coach. “His experience and success as a varsity athlete, elite-level rugby player, and coach will be cornerstone in creating the best possible environment for student athletes at Penn State.”

For the women’s team, Daley assumes full-time duties after serving as the team’s interim head coach last season, leading the program to its most successful year ever. The ’14-15 team won it’s 10th National title and Daley led the 7s team to both the USA Rugby 7s National Championship and College Rugby Championship Title.

The Penn State alumna has a glittering playing career. She was a 4-time All-American at Penn State winning 2 National titles as a player. Playing in many USA age grade teams, she was capped in the 2010 against Canada for the first time and went on to lead the Eagles at the World Cup in 2014.

Daley began her coaching career at Princeton in 2008 as an assistant coach before moving on to the University of Notre Dame, where she helped form the Fighting Irish team and led them to a Division II second-place finish in their first ever year. She joined the coaching staff at Penn State, under long-time head coach Pete Steinberg, in the spring of 2014 before stepping up to the interim role for the 2014-15 season. Her potential has been recognized by USA Rugby and Daley was appointed an assistant coach with the USA Junior All-Americans this past summer.

“Kate is a dynamic coach that works really hard to get better every day at what she does. She loves the game, and this program, and that shows in all that she has done with the sport,” said Amoratis. “Kate is the perfect coach to take the team into a new era as the competitive challenges the women face increases.”

See how the teams fair during the 2015-16 season by following the squads on Twitter and Facebook. For more results and information go to http://www.rugby.psu.edu.