Aug. 1, 2014
The men's and women's rugby teams at the U.S. Military Academy will now fall under the Army Athletic Association, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Boo Corrigan announced today.
A club sport since 1961, both rugby teams have been elevated effective immediately.
"The Directorate of Cadet Activities did a great job with rugby," said Corrigan. "Now, being under the athletic department, our rugby teams will have the support needed as they continue to compete for championships. Rugby, especially on the women's side, is a fast growing sport. The addition of men's and women's rugby is two additional sports we can offer our cadets."
Mike Mahan, a West Point graduate, will serve as men's head coach, his second stint overseeing the men's program. Bill LeClerc, currently on the coaching staff of the United States Women's National Team, will serve as women's mentor.
Both teams will play home contests at the sprawling Anderson Rugby Complex, near the Hudson River.
The men's team will open its season Sept. 6 against American International College, while the women are set to begin Sept. 13 against Norwich.
Mahan, one of the nation's most successful coaches, has served both the men's and women's rugby teams for more than 25 years.
He guided the Army men's team as head coach from 1988-2002 and then returned in 2013. He was the first head coach of the Army women's team in 2003 and served as women's coach emeritus from 2005-07.
During Mahan's 15 years as a head coach, he led his squads to 10 Collegiate National Championship Final Fours and none of his team's finished below ninth in the country.
Of Army's 12 appearances in the Collegiate Rugby National Championship Final Four, Mahan was the head coach for 10 of those seasons.
In addition to his rugby coaching duties, Mahan served as an Airborne, Ranger and Infantryman for 21 years of active duty service. Mahan has worked at West Point as a military instructor, senior vice president with the Association of Graduates and coach. He retired from the military with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Mahan graduated from West Point with an engineering degree and later collected his master's degree in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
LeClerc, with international experience as both a player and coach, is in his third season as Army's women's rugby head coach.
LeClerc, who started with Army in 2012, boasts a 24-8 mark as the 15s head coach and a 6-3-1 mark with the 7s. He is 3-0 opposite service academy rival Navy.
Army advanced to the "Elite Eight," in both of LeClerc's seasons running the program.
He began coaching at Army in 2011, serving as an assistant coach to both the men's and women's programs.
LeClerc also serves as assistant coach to the United States Women's National Team, a position he has held since 2013. LeClerc is the scrum coach and provides tactical and strategic analysis for training and game management. The 2014 squad was among the 12 teams that qualified for the Women's Rugby World Cup, held in Paris.
LeClerc guided USA Rugby as national scrum coach from 2006-11. He implemented the National Standards for the Scrummaging at all levels, managed regional clinics throughout the country and produced an instructional video for coaches and players.
He helped USA Rugby qualify for the Men's Rugby World Cup in 2007 and 2011, the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2010 and was part of the staff for the 2009 Under 20s team that reached the finals of the IRB World Trophy.
LeClerc began his coaching career with the San Francisco Golden Gate Men's Club from 2002-05 before moving to Stanford as an assistant coach in 2006.
A 19-year playing veteran, LeClerc started competing at Durban High School in South Africa, followed by 89 caps with Northland Provincial. He suited up for Merloma for a season in Canada, followed by a stint as both player and coach for Athletic Club Boulogne Billancourt in Paris.
LeClerc collected 12 caps with the USA Men's National Team from 1996-99 and concluded his playing career with the Gentlemen of Aspen.
One of the most successful club sports at West Point, the men compete in the Division 1A East Coast Rugby Conference, while the women play in the American Collegiate Rugby Association of Division I.
Fans can follow the Army men's rugby team @Army_MRugby and the women at @Army_WRugby on Twitter.