History of Rugby at Penn State
Penn State Rugby began in the fall of 1962 when New Zealand grad student, Ivan Jackson, and a young research associate, Pat Denny, from England, met and were upset about the lack of any sort of team field game at Penn State. Through personal contacts and a notice in the Hetzel Union Building, “20-30 ‘players’” showed up to the first practice on a field by the White Golf Course.
The first game was played on October 13, 1962–a home match against Villanova. Penn State lost 35-3 but improved rapidly to win the next game against St. Joseph’s and completed their first season with two wins and three losses. The schedule for the first season is as follows:
|October 13||Villanova||Home||3-35 (L)|
|October 21||St. Joseph||Home||6-0 (W)|
|November 3||Temple||Away||0-14 (L)|
|November 11||Cornell||Away||0-16 (W)|
|November 17||Penn||Away||9-0 (L)|
Members of the original Penn State team, in addition to Ivan and Pat, included Al Jones, Ed Kabala, Gerry Norman (also coach and faculty adviser), Bill Shoproski, and Mike Creswell.
Other important dates of the inaugural season were:
October 7, 1962 – Penn State becomes an affiliated member of the ERU
November 27, 1962 – Officials elected and constitution drawn up
February 21, 1963 – Penn State Rugby becomes an official student organization
The tradition that started in 1962 is carried on today by both the Men’s and Women’s Rugby programs, as each have established themselves as elite programs in the country.