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Utah Utes Target Comeback

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Utah Utes Target Comeback

Utah in action during the LVI collegiaye tournament earlier this year. David Barpal photo.

One college rugby program has started to show up in GRR’s list of college commits lately is a pretty well-known program that hasn’t seen a lot of success lately—the University of Utah.

For years a national contender in 7s and 15s, Utah has undergone a series of coaching changes that undercut recruiting and continuity. But that’s changing.

Adam Griffee was called in by Rob Randell as an assistant, and when Randell got the itch to coach professionally again, Griffee stepped into the head coaching role.

Griffee inherited a very young team, and this year the Utes were winless in the PAC Rugby Conference. But the coach isn’t discouraged. 

Latest University of Utah Commits
Jake Kinneeveauk Eagle High School ID Lock University of Utah
Spencer Hoon Olympus High School UT Loose Forward University of Utah
Carso Ortez Snow Canyon High  UT Flyhalf University of Utah 
Kolby Smallwood Kearns UT Scrumhalf University of Utah 
Keoni Burke San Clemente HS CA Loose Forward University of Utah 

“I wanted us to play in the PAC and I want us to play the top teams,” said Griffee. “We had the hardest schedule in the country last year and we’re in the conference where I want to compete. And we have a lot going for us—great support from Club Sports, good fundraising, sponsorship opportunities. We are the least expensive PAC-12 school. We have amazing programs in engineering, medicine, accounting, law.”

Scrumhalf Kelton Christiansen transferred from Weber State and he has taken over the recruiting for the club as well as playing. 

“He’s awesome at it,” enthused Griffee. “With the work he’s going, we are able to show stability in our coaching.The alumni—I’m a member of the alumni—are getting involved again.”

With help in administration and paperwork from Mark Drown, Griffee is able to concentrate on coaching and building the program.

Part of that building process is getting noticed.

“To me part of sports is about marketing,” said Griffee. “We’re part of the PAC because we want to be and it means something to the players and the students. We want to turn out games into events, make it fun, make it exciting for the fans. We’ve got a lot more recruits coming, and we’ll be back.”

They were young last year and will be young again this coming season, but keep an eye on the Utes.