UVU’s rugby team is gearing up for another great season, adding to their staff some of the most successful coaches in the history of the game. In mid-July, coaches David Smyth and Wayne Tarawhiti, previously the head and assistant coaches of BYU’s rugby team, announced they would be parting ways to coach the Wolverines. During their tenure at BYU, they helped guide the team to five national titles.
“It’s nice to bring those coaches in, especially with such strong pedigree and championships,” said Adam Griffee, current director of the rugby program at UVU.
The addition is key to helping an already elite program reach the next level. In 2015, UVU won the national championship in the D1AA division. The following year, they were able to qualify for the Varsity Cup, college rugby’s most competitive tournament. At the tournament, they had a successful run that included a 40-14 stomping of UCLA in the first round. Last season, after advancing up to the D1A division, they finished with a 6-2 record, but missed the playoffs.
“Our goal is really to earn a playoff bid and see what we can do from there,” Griffee stated. “But within the next two years, we want to be competing for a national championship.”
Apart from being director of the program, Griffee has also served as head coach of the UVU team for the past two and a half years. He will be handing the head coach position over to coach Smyth, with coach Tarawhiti acting as his assistant.
“The vision for rugby at UVU is great,” Griffee said. “We want to create a dynasty. The school has been on board and very supportive. That’s why they were so excited to come over.”
Only time will tell whether the changes made over the summer will bring the kind of success the team is expecting. At any rate, UVU’s rugby team certainly has great things to look forward to as they prepare for this upcoming season and the years ahead.