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Wheeling Jesuit Names New Head Coach

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Wheeling Jesuit Names New Head Coach

Reports are that Wheeling Jesuit named Tom Duffy as the team's new Head Coach for the 2016-17 season, replacing Tal Bayer, who left to take the coaching job at New England College.

Duffy was previously the Forwards Coach and Strength Coach at The Citadel in the Southern Rugby Conference, where he was also conference commissioner and, previously competition director. For the last three years he has also coached the James Island Charter HS and Fort Johnson Middle School teams in South Carolina. 

He is also an ATAVUS Ambassador. Duffy has West Virginia roots, as he graduated from Wheeling Central Catholic High School. Duffy confirmed he is taking the job, and will join the WJU team shortly - the Cardinals have been operating under the coaching hand of recently-graduated senior players Allan Hanson and Peter Malcolm. Duffy told Goff Rugby Report that his experience in the Southern DII Conference was valuable in his development as a coach.

Tommy Duffy"What a great coach, mentor and friend Lt. Col. Bill Bell is at the Citadel," said Duffy  "He is probably one of the best rugby coaches in the country.  He gave me coaching position and let me implement my coaching style and philosophy, which was well-suited for the Citadel.  When he deployed to the Middle East in spring of 2015 and left me in charge to lead the Men's team through a 7s season and into the fall 15s, the only thing he said was 'just make them better 'til I return.'  It was the least I could do.  We grew, we improved and we got better.  When Coach Bell returned we put together a plan to win the Rugby Southern Conference and make a run at the Div II National Championship.  I couldn't have asked for a better team and a better conference to hone my skills.  There are so many outstanding coaches in this conference - John Roberts at Furman, Thomas Barnett at Coastal Carolina, Jeremy Tominack at UNC Wilmington, and all the other great coaches and teams."

Duffy said he is thrilled to be returning to his hometown. 

"I am returning home to the place I grew up and was raised," he said. "I grew up on the Jesuit Campus. I played in the gym. I saw and fell in love rugby for the first time in 1972.  I had no idea what they were playing.  I brought my Dad over and he told me they were playing rugby.  My roots are deep in Wheeling."

Duffy said coaching at Citadel has been a great honor, but he also looks forward to working with the players at Wheeling Jesuit, which plays in the Rugby East DIA conference.

"They are a very talented, driven team with unlimited potential," said Duffy. "I am looking forward to getting on the campus, meeting with them, getting to know each of them and get on with the winning Jesuit tradition.  The Jesuit Boosters and parents have reached out to me and have made me feel very welcome.  I'm looking forward to working with Peter Malcolm and Allan Hanson and building on what they have selfishly worked on in the absence of a coach.  They have went above and beyond and I am grateful for them stepping up to keep this going."

WJU opened the team's season with a loss to Notre Dame College, and will face Mount Saint Mary's and Franciscan University this weekend. Once he escapes the clutched of Hurricane Hermine, Duffy is expected to be at the helm for the Cardinals' September 11 clash with Lindenwood-Belleville in Indianapolis.