The article mentions Golling’s position as a member of the Serevi coaching stable, along with Matt Hawkins (Men’s 7s coach), Ric Suggit (Women’s 7s coach), Richie Walker (Women’s 7s Assistant Coach), and Justin Fitzpatrick (Men’s 15s Assistant Coach).
When did Serevi take over our National teams? It’s a good question and one we should be asking. Rather than developing coaches here in the US – coaches with lifelong skin-in-the-game, our leadership has made a conscious decision to outsource the success of our highest profile product – our Olympic 7s teams – to a for-profit foreign owned company.
At first, we were dazzled by the name ‘Serevi’. But, with the exception of Suggitt, Walker, and Fitzpatrick, this is an organization populated by players who have rebranded themselves as coaches. Maybe we need to examine their record – have the Serevi coaches now in charge of our Mens and Women’s 7s teams outperformed our previous American coaches, who had to do so much more with so much less? Has Hawkins outperformed Alex Magelby? Has Suggitt outperformed Julie McCoy? The answer is unequivocally – NO. Gollings, for all his success as a player, has never coached youth before, where other applicants for the position have. Not one line in Golling’s bio describes his experience as a coach. http://www.serevirugby.com/pages/info/index/coach/7/page/coach-profiles/. Doesn’t this trouble anyone?
Don’t get me wrong – I think the Serevi organization has done a lot of great things to grow the game in the USA, and there is certainly a place for them as a partner. As the sport grows and the demand for camps and clinics rises, they will reap rich rewards and we should embrace them as a partner. But they should NOT – repeat NOT – be running our national teams. What do we tell a highly motivated upwardly mobile coach, who has dreams of one day coaching the USA? We’ve done away with ITTs and NASCs, so that path isn’t available. Should he or she be applying for positions with Serevi? It appears today, that if you want to coach the USA, Serevi is the prefered pathway.
An opportunity like this – coaching a youth sevens program in a major international event – is a precious development opportunity that should have been made available to the American public. This opportunity is rugby gold, and we gave it away to an organization with a for-profit mission.
This is just one of several recent movements by former overseas players who see a potential market in the US. This was an opportunity for perhaps 4 up-and-coming US coaches to cut their teeth in the international community, and it has been squandered.
The article also makes it unclear if there is a girls team – it specifically speaks about the boys program, but also refers to both “squads”. So is there are girls team? How will it be funded? Will Gollings coach both? Will it be funded? Currently EVERY Women’s National team (even our Olympic team!) has to crowd source via https://www.coloradogives.org/RugbyUSA/programs. If the Senior Women’s National Team doesn’t raise enough money, they will go into their pre-world cup tour with only 26 players. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a limit on how much we can spend on our mens side. Where is Todd Clever’s ColoradoGives page?
This weekend in Houston the USA Rugby Congress is meeting. The Congress are the direct representatives of the membership. We in the rugby public are pretty good at complaining (myself included) online and to our like-minded buddies. Say something to your congress reps. SPEAK UP to the people who have influence and can do something. If you aren’t happy with the current state of affairs – MAKE YOURSELF HEARD.
You can find your congress representative here:
Let’s not give away anything else, and let’s try to take back ownership of rugby in the USA. This is our organization, our sport, and our country. Let’s own it.