Rugby at Louisiana State University, 1970-2017

Bahamas here we come.

By Rob Haswell

My arrival on the LSU campus, as a visiting geography professor, in September, 1970, prompted two responses. Firstly, David Dukes, a local leader of the Ku Klux Klan, encouraged all of his followers to sign up for my culture worlds course, on the assumption that I was an apartheid apostle. When I set the record straight they staged a walk out. Secondly, I was beseeched by two Americans to start a rugby club: Jay McKenna had played rugby in Maryland, and proved to be a very good club secretary; while David Terry became equally invaluable – he made our first goalposts and became our very competent, and sober, bus driver. Terry had played in a rugby game at LSU in 1968, but it had ended in a brawl.
On 27 October, 1970, The Daily Reveille, the LSU campus newspaper, carried the following enticing invitation:
“A beer bust; hookers; scrums; knock-ons; and props. That’s what rugby is all about Rugby?? The newcomer to the LSU sports scene is the ancient game of rugby. Recruiting for the Tiger squad will be held in the Union all day Thursday, followed by an impromptu elbow raising party in the Tiger Lair at 5 pm.”
Needless to say more than eighty pitched up for the beer, and two weeks later we headed to New Orleans to play Tulane, who boasted an 8-1 record. We were fortunate to have a sprinkling of foreigners in key positions, such as front row, hooker, fly half and full back, but nine Americans made their rugby debut and we registered a 15-3 win. For the record, Sonny Jeffrey scored the first try in LSU’s rugby history.
Our first home game, on 7 January, 1971, against Hammond, received the following review:
“Imagine 15 athletes decked out in unnumbered grey sweatshirts and shorts, chasing, carrying, kicking and lateralling an oval-shaped ball; tackling, forearming and otherwise maiming their more experienced opponents and you have an accurate picture of LSU’s newest, potentially most appealing, yet officially unrecognised minor sports team.
The game they are playing is rugby and though it was conceived in other parts of the world, it was made for concrete canyon fans. Rugby combines the artistic footwork in soccer with the blatant brutality of football and most Americans, especially Louisiana Americans, love institutionalised bloodshed”.
Initially we played on narrow American football practice fields, but after being recognised as a club sport, thanks to the efforts of Hal Rose, we laid out an almost full size rugby field on a cow pasture alongside a concrete car park. Terry made our goalposts – his finest erection — and we had to squeeze the field into the space available, and so we named it Gerry Mander Field – it took the Athletic Director, who drove right past the field every day, several weeks before he got the pun, laughed his head off, and provided us with the scaffold materials to build our not- so- grandstand. Then he invited us to play a curtain-raiser to an LSU football game, in LSU’s Tiger Stadium, which we did by playing against Rice in the stadium on 2 October, 1971. It was an historic occasion, but the narrow field inhibited backline play, so we followed it up by playing Notre Dame, on Gerry Mander Field, in front of several thousand spectators, many of whom then went to Tiger Stadium to watch the LSU vs Notre Dame football game. There is no reason therefore, why rugby and football cannot co-exist, in a mutually beneficial relationship, on American campuses, and, in fact, rugby tackling is now belatedly recognised as being a far safer option, than using your helmet and suffering the inevitable head injuries being sustained by football players.

Establishing ourselves as the best team in the southern U.S. wasn’t all that difficult, but resulted in us travelling to the Bahamas, in late 1971, and becoming the first U.S. college team to defeat the Freeport Rugby Club. The drive to Miami, in three vehicles, and the boat ride, sponsored by Governor Edwin Edwards, is the stuff of legends.
My brother John, who was living in Bulawayo at that time, visited us and added much-needed coaching for our forwards. When he explained that the town’s name could be translated as ‘The Place of Slaughter’, the Americans decided then and there, to form a huddle before the kick off of a game, link hands and shout out “BULAWAYO”, and to this day it is LSU’s equivalent of the Haka, and the word also appears on the club’s crest.
1972 saw LSU finish third in the first National Collegiate Rugby Tournament, losing to Palmer Chiropractic College, who just happened to have Roy and Ian McCullum in their team. We avenged that by narrowly beating Palmer, minus their Boks, at LSU later that year. Our national recognition saw us invited to the annual Sevens Tournament, held over the November Thanksgiving weekend, in Washington D.C. Imagine driving all that way for a sevens tournament, but of course each road trip was epic, with pillow fights, mooning and partying the order of the day. We crisscrossed the South, and beyond, from Texas to Florida, and from Tennessee to Virginia, and north to Big Bend, Indiana. ‘We were young and we were strong but running against the wind’.
I insisted that we played hard and partied hard, as the camaraderie in rugby is completely absent in American sports. We played a running and passing game as befits a University team, but is also attractive to American athletes and sports fans, who see more than enough crash ball plays in American football. Rewardingly, the LSURFC has produced a steady stream of rugby players, who have earned representative and international rugby recognition. Boyd Morrison, Bob “Big Red” Causey and Gary Lambert have played for the U.S. Eagles, with Causey and Scott McLean, a former LSU and Eastern U.S. scrumhalf, coaching the current LSU team, who play in the Red River Conference.
In addition, Les Bratton, a founding member and player, established the Louisiana Exiles as an alumni club, who successfully and annually participated in the Saranac and Aspen Tournaments. Furthermore, LSURFC alumni, particularly, Gary Giepert and Tim Falcon, have played a leading role in establishing rugby in high schools in The Big Easy, and hence the rise to national prominence of the New Orleans Rugby Club. In fact, the Falcon family, Tim and his three sons, have made a major contribution to rugby in Louisiana, and that will continue with Tim being the driving force behind the establishment of the NOLA GOLD professional franchise in 2018. I urge rugby people throughout the South, to support this important step in the growth of rugby in the U.S. After all, a little Nawlins never hurt nobody, so make the trip.
I was able to maintain contact with the club by visiting the U.S. regularly in the 1980s and 1990s – two of our sons, Bobby and Benjamin, were born in and now reside in the U.S., so I have also been a bi-annual visitor more recently.
In summary then, although I planted the rugby seed at LSU, many others have watered and nurtured it over the years. So much so, that on 29 October, 2020, the LSURFC will be 50 years old—no mean accomplishment and testament to the blood, sweat and beers of so many over so many years. Hopefully, I will make it to the celebrations. BULAWAYO!!!!!!!!!!

Toast to first rugby field on LSU campus.

LSU team in D.C.

LSU Rugby Crest.

LSU Inaugural Meeting.

Early newspaper clipping.

Les Bratton telling Rob how to play rugby.

A Brief History of Deep South Rugby

What will follow is the story, as it has been pieced together, of the chronological beginning of the teams that arose, faded, thrived, and survived in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. If you have further information or corrections, please send them to deepsouthrugby@hotmail.com.

The first match played by a Deep South team was Southeastern Louisiana University against a Texas side. SLU was started by a Brit named John Healey(sp?) and the match took place in either the spring or fall of 1966. The Texas side was either a Houston club side or Rice University and the return match played in the same year in Hammond was the first match played by a Deep South team in the Deep South. (See article in archive of 2007-08 articles on Hammond’s 40thAnniversary Reunion.)

In 1967 several clubs sprang up in the region: Tulane, Birmingham, Redstone Arsenal (Huntsville), probably Pensacola, and there was a side at an airbase in north Mississippi.

Peter Maud’s account of the beginning of Tulane RFC: The club was founded in the Spring of 1967 by a bunch of med students. Their first match was against Hammond. I think that they just played one or two games in the spring. I joined the faculty that summer and started playing and helping to coach. Andre (or was it Arnold?)DuPisani, who was with the South African Consulate in N.O., was both a player and our coach. Later I coached until leaving in 1970. The founding members were, I believe, Bill Terry, Howard Goldberg, and Mike Keys – all med students. Other students were Jay Scully, Pete “the boot” Anderson, (both med), Nick Price(architecture), Randy Starett and Fred King (law), Pat Kelly (LSU anatomy prof)and others who joined later such as Stan Smith, Brian Travis, Mike Maffet, Ken Roy, George Stelling, Joe Chiapella, Tim O’Mara, and Pat Scow,` all of whom I believe were med. Bob Urann (who would become a lawyer in New Orleans) was also an enthusiastic member of the team. One, if not the first, undergraduate to play for us was Bob Edmundson, followed by John Howe. (See John Howe’s article “Tulane’s All Time (Early Days) 15 in the Issue 1 archive).It was not until the early 70’s that the team became primarily undergrad. For the years 1968 -1969the first team won 14 (226 pts. for) and lost 4 (91 pts. against) and the second team won three and lost one. The first Mardi Gras tournament was held in the spring of 1968 and was a joint effort between Tulane and S.E. at Hammond (after that both clubs held their own tournaments). The preliminary games were played in Hammond on the Saturday and the semi finals and final at Tulane – on the field that used to be in front of married student housing. The cup for the winning team was given by the South African Consulate and presented by theconsul following the final. The 1968 Mardi Gras winner was Wisconsin with Tulane 2nd, in 1969 Tulane won and in 1970 Wisconsin took first with U. of Waterloo second. I moved away to work on my advanced degree and returned in 1972. Nobuo Hayashi was coaching the club at this time. As there were several ex-Tulane players and others from LSU and S.E. in the city, I, with help from Bob Urann,Stan Smith, and others formed the New Orleans club.

Birmingham’s first match was against Huntsville. The following is the story of Birmingham’s first match as told by Chris Krebs:

The first match played by the Birmingham club was played on Sunday, December 17, 1967 at Mountain Brook Elementary School field in Birmingham, Alabama. The teams involved were Birmingham and Redstone Arsenal(Huntsville, Alabama). The day was bitterly cold, but the action was plenty hot. The Birmingham side had
only three players who had played the game before: Tom Krebs (Virginia), Mike Rediker (Princeton) and William Major (Princeton).The Redstone club was captained by Carter Wellford who had been a teammate of Tom’s when they had played for the University of Virginia side. After graduation, Carter had found employment with a
defense firm in Huntsville where he also found a plethora of British and Scottish scientists (and also rugby players) with which to build the Redstone side. While Birmingham did not have the experienced players that characterized the Redstone club, it had more than its share of capable athletes. With the leadership of the three players mentioned earlier, the Birmingham team gained a hard fought 23-14 victory, probably largely because the Birmingham players knew little about pop-kicking, passing the ball (laterally), or kicking for position. The net of it all was that, to the surprise of the Redstone team, the Birmingham players simply ran the ball in heavy traffic rather than exercising one of the more strategic options. This worked out very well for the Birmingham team because it had  a number of talented, if inexperienced, players. Additionally, Birmingham had an edge in speed as the Krebs brothers had just recently given up running in AAU track meets where they competed largely in the sprints and what was then the 440yard dash. In fact, we had an in-the-family mile relay team which frequently competed against the college teams in regional meets. After the holidays Tommie and Wam returned to law school, and the Birmingham team (sans our experienced players) again played Redstone in early February of the next year. In that match, the Redstone team handed us a 28-0 beating which was far more literal than figurative. Redstone had learned that we did not know when to pass or kick the ball, and they had adjusted their match strategy accordingly. I think that I hurt for weeks after that match.

In 1968 the short lived New Orleans Blues formed. Robert Markel became probably the first high school rugby player in the Deep South when he played for the Blues. The Blues spring season consisted of 3 matches all against Hammond. Markel recalls that he had graduated from high school before he played with the Blues. Markel credits Tim McConnell as being the first high school rugby player in the Deep South. Tim played for New Orleans RFC in 1975

In 1969Markel went to Springhill and started the Springhill side. Their season consisted of home and away matches with Hammond, Tulane, Pensacola, and the New Orleans Blues. The team was coached by an old
Welsh scrumhalf named Mr. Marshall who would joyfully subjectively ref any Springhill fixture. Dennis Fitzgerald (whose son 40 years later played flyhalf for NORFC) played center with Markel. In 1970 Springhill played the University of Florida in UF’s first rugby match. In August of 2009 Spring Hill officially joined the Deep South Rugby Union as a Men’s Collegiate Div. III side

The Southeast Gulf States Rugby Association(which later became the Deep South Rugby Union) had a brief beginning in 1969.Pete Maud(an expat-Brit who had played rep side for Canada and was teaching PE at
Tulane) formed an association of the teams in the area. Pete would move away in 1970 for graduate studies and the association fizzled. Pete returned to Tulane’s PE department in 1972. The Southeast Gulf States Rugby Association reformed in 1975 (again under Pete’s leadership) and connected itself to the Eastern Rugby Union because of Pete’s friendship with Ed Lee (then President of the ERU).

In 1970 LSU formed and played its first match against Tulane defeating the Green Wave 15-5. The major forces in the formation and development of a strong LSU side were Hal Rose and Rob Haswell. See LSU website
for a good and detailed history of the club. http://www.lsurugby.com/history.php

In 1972 or 1973 Loyola formed. Loyola has had an on again-off again existence and its website lists 1996 as the date the club was founded.

New Orleans RFC began in 1973 when Tulane Univ. passed and began to enforce the ruling that you had to attend the university to play on the rugby team.  NORFC  played its first game (and won) against LSU B side in Baton Rouge in the fall. Pete Maud, Bob Urann, and Stan Smith were a large part of the energy behind the forming of NORFC. The team was also composed of ex-LSU players (Mark Lawson, Barry Haney, Lawrence Williams, Whit Oliver) and some ex-Hammond players (Rick Odom, who played for SLU in the very first Deep South match) and others new to the area (Richard Evans – Clemson). The first practice field was on the soccer pitches along Marconi Dr. For more info on New Orleans Rugby Football Club history visit the NORFC website at http://neworleansrugbyclub.com/home/history .

The following paragraph on Crescent City Rugby Club was submitted by Billy Goodell who played for New Orleans in the fall of 1973, after leaving Spring Hill, and then switched to Crescent City.

Crescent City was formed in 1973 out of a mixture of Loyola (Danny Brasseaux, Kevin Kelleher, Joe Savoca, Bill Merritt) Southeastern Louisiana /Hammond(Gene Gerdes, Randy Johnson, Jackie Starks, Don Evans), and Springhill (Fred Schwartz) players and  merged with New Orleans in the mid 80’s. Crescent City and New Orleans were bitter cross town rivals. The two teams hated each other and matches often turned into brawls. New Orleans won the first two matches as they had more experience and a possession pack that dominated the game. Their backs basically sucked – no speed, no moves, no power and played “pussy ball” as it was openly called by Crescent City. The NORFC backs would kick 80-90% of the time. Their backs did not enjoy contact.  Their pack rarely worked it out – and when they did,  the backs kicked. Even though Crescent City strategy was to hit the NORFC backs as hard as they could every chance they got, it did not work. The New Orleans pack on the other hand was VERY good, big strong, and well versed in pack technique. Some of them openly engaged in questionable play, especially when there was a pile and no one could see what was going on. One player in particular, Mike Porter (prop, German professor at Tulane, and former NY Athletic Club player), was known for his dirty cheap tactics. New Orleans just crashed rucked and mauled their way up and down the field in a slow, methodical, plodding, boring, (but effective) manner. By 1974 Crescent City gained a little more experience in the pack and whipped New Orleans for the first time in Pan American Stadium in City Park.  There was so much bad blood and fights that the two teams stopped playing each other after the next game which Crescent City also won. Crescent City lost numbers and basically became inactive in 75 but came back and reformed in 76 winning the Baton Rouge sevens tournament. Crescent City went on a run winning Hammond Mardi Gras and Battleship tournaments a couple of times, and making finals of a tournament in Memphis before merging with their hated rival sometime around 1986.

In 1974 Robert Markel moved to Jackson and saw a sign put up by Frank Godwin enquiring about anyone interested in starting a rugby side. The Jackson RFC was born and in 1975 they played their first match against Lamar College from Beaumont, Texas, at the Hammond Mardi Gras Rugby Tournament.

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) formed its first rugby side under the mentorship of Memphis Old #7 in 1974. John Buntin, Tim Joffrian, and Mark Canapa were Ole Miss students who provided leadership and motivation. For more info and pictures on OleMiss Rugby history go to:  www.olemissrugby.org/rebelrugbyghistory70s/umrugby1975.html

The University of Alabama RFC formed in Fall of  1974. According to Sean Duffy when he started playing in 1981 the old boys claimed they had never had a winning season, but had never lost a party. 1981 was the first winning season (4-3). The team had several successes in the 1980’s – SEC runner-up in 1984, 1986, &1987 and in 1988 they won the Mardi Gras and Joe Dong Tournaments, had an undefeated (8-0) spring season and were 2nd place in the Deep South Collegiate Tournament. In 2006 they were the Deep South Collegiate side champions.

In 1975 Mobile Rugby Club was formed and in 1978 changed its name to Battleship Rugby Club. In 1992 Battleship won the Div-II National Championship and in 2001 won the Div. III National Championship. For a list of championships won by Battleship RFC go to http://www.battleshiprugby.com/history.htm .

In 1975 the USA Rugby Union formed. The same year Pete Maud (one of the founders of the New Orleans RFC and an early leader in the development of Tulane) formed what was called the Southeast Gulf States Regional Authority. This association would later become the Deep South Rugby Union.

In the spring of 1977 Mississippi State University Rugby Club formed and played its first full season in the fall of that year.

Baton Rouge Rugby Club also played its first full season in the fall of ’77 and quickly became the rugby power in the region. Several New Orleans players would commute to Baton Rouge to practice and play with BR. In
1985 Baton Rouge won the USA Rugby South Regional Championship defeating Atlanta Old White RFC. In 1994 the Baton Rouge RFC won the ERU Div. 2 championship and went on to take 3rd in the national championships.  That team was made up of equal players from B.R., Lafayette, and Hammond.  They referred to themselves as the “Tri-cities Finest”. (1994 information contributed by Dirk Thomas, who played on the championship team.)

In 1978 The New Orleans Women’s ‘Halfmoons’ Rugby Club formed and hosted its first Mardi Gras “Throw Me Something Mister” Women’s Rugby Tournament in 1980.

In January, 1979, Rankin Tippins formed the Choctawhatchee Bay RFC, named after a local body of water, in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  The club was later renamed the Okaloosa RFC. (Rankin began playing rugby at Tulane University in 1972 and played there through his undergraduate graduation in 1974.) Half the Choctawhatchee Bay RFC members were military from the local Army Ranger training camp and the two Air Force bases, and the other half of the club were non-military residents. Some members had previous rugby experience, but about half
had never played rugby before. The Club established the Boggy Bayou Rugby Tournament and the Summer Sevens Rugby Tournament, the latter of these tournaments was still being held at the writing of this history
in 2008.  Okaloosa RFC represented the Deep South Union in Division II in 1989, but lost in the first round of playoffs. The Club made one international tour to the Bahamas (year?) and its senior players
participated in the 2004 Golden Oldies Rugby Festival in San Diego. Several players have been recognized and played on military select sides in addition to players playing with the Deep South Select sides. The military members of the club have represented the club in military rugby club competitions. The club will hold its 30th anniversary alumni match in September of 2009.  (Information contributed by Rankin Tippins.)

1984 the Montgomery Yellowhammers RFC formed.

1996 the Smiley Faced Warriors, a New Orleans high school side made up of kids from various schools and coached by Robert Markel, played its first match against Catholic High inBaton Rouge. Both teams would fold
and Robert would go on to coach the national power Jesuit High School Blue Jays rugby side.

In 1997 Episcopal School of Acadiana under Brian McIntyre and a side at the high school on Pecan Island formed and played a 3 game series against each other.

Also, in 1997, the University of West Florida Rugby Club was founded in 1997 by Jay Chandler, Brendan Powers, and others including Coach Frank Martin.  UWFRFC won its first game vs. the (visiting, spring break club) University of Michigan and went 7-2 that season (losing twice to Tulane).  For its first game, UWF team was heavily subsidized by Pensacola and Okaloosa. Thanks to Jay “Chiller” Chandler (Okaloosa RFC 1990-1997, UWFRFC 1997/98, St Pete Pelicans 2000-2007, and founder of Pinellas Athletic Club U-19 Rugby in 2008) for UWF info and other contributions.

Auburn’s Women Rugby team was established in 1999. Katie Thompson, who grew up watching rugby in England, came up with the idea of a rugby team for the Auburn ladies. The team’s first practice was February 8, 1999. About 8 girls attended the first practice.

The spring of 2001 high school rugby in New Orleans would blossom. The Jesuit Blue Jays (coached by Robert Markel),  Brother Martin Crusaders (coached by Gary Giepert), and Archbishop Shaw (coached by Tim Falcon)
would start. In 2004 Brother Martin won the Southern Regionals in Columbus, Georgia, and went 1-2 at the High School Nationals in Ft. Worth, Texas. In 2007 Jesuit would compete in the high school national championships in Utah, and in 2008 both Jesuit and Rummel would capture USA South Regional titles in different divisions and go on to compete for national titles in the high school championships held in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately both sides would finish 8th in their respective divisions. (See article on 2008 National High School Tournament in archive of Issue 1 for more information.)

In 2005 Rummel (coached by Trip McCormick) and DeLaSalle (coached by Sam Farnet) would form. DeLaSalle would fold by 2006 as a result of 2 non-rugby related occurrences  – Katrina and the unfortunate death of a player during practice due to a heart condition.  (Thanks to Gary Giepert and Robert Markel for information on youth and high school rugby.)

The Baton Rouge Women’s Rugby Club (The Barbies) formed in December, 2005. In March of 2009 they officially joined the Deep South Union as a Women’s Senior Div. II side.

In May of 2006 fifth and sixth graders at the International School of Louisiana, displaced by Katrina into trailers close to the airport runways in Kenner, played the first elementary school full contact match. The co-ed team broke into the red and blue sides and played a 7s match against themselves. The school continued the sport as a touch after-school activity when the school moved back into New Orleans in the fall of 2006.

In 2008 Niceville High School played its first match under the guidance of Ed Frisbee. (See article by Jared Macarin in archive of Issue 1 for more information on Niceville’s first match.)

Also, Marion Military started a brand new program in 2008.   They played their first games in the spring and a few games in the fall.  Spring 2009 was their first competitive season.

Also, ULL Women and Centenary were attempting to start women’s teams in 2008, but were both stuck at 8-12 players and had not yet fully formed.  Jennie Alwell placed contact info for these teams on the official Deep South Rugby Union website (www.deepsouthrugbyunion.com) to try to drum up support.

In the fall of 2009 the University of Alabama and Auburn Women’s Rugby Club officially joined the Deep South Union. They joined as a Div. II Women’s Collegiate sides and were the only 2 collegiate women’s rugby sides in Alabama. On October 23, 2009,  the 2 sides were scheduled to play their first match against each other in Tuscaloosa. This would be the first match between 2 Alabama collegiate women’s rugby teams  played anywhere. It had to be canceled. They did play against one another at the Battleship tournament in November , 2009, with Auburn winning 29 to 10.  They both played their first home games the weekend of Feb. 20th, 2010.  Auburn beat MTSU 34 to 0, and Alabama lost to Lee. They will meet for their first matrix game against one another March 6, 2010, in Auburn. (Thanks to Michelle Yarbrough  for this info.)

In  the fall of 2009 the Tallahassee Men’s Rugby Club began to play matches in the Deep South Union.

In the fall of 2010, University of South Alabama joined the Deep South Union with both men and women’s sides.

2010-2011 Season: NORFC won the national Div. 2 Championship.

2011-2012 Season: 3 high school teams played their first games and competed in the Louisiana/ Deep South Union youth championship: South Mississippi (U-19 youth club based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, started initially through the energies of Lori Sutherland, mother of a child who had played in Utah), Lake Area (a New Orleans public charter high school, started through student intiatives and coached by Chance Doyle and Adam Ducoing), and Audubon (a New Orleans based U-19 youth club initiated and coached by Sam Farnet).

2012 New Orleans RFC won the National Div. 3 championship.

2012-2013 Season – Rummell high school rugby side dissolved. Remaining players joined the Audubon club side. St. Paul’ High School in Covington plays matches.

2014-15 Season – The following high school teams formed and played matches in spring season 2015 : Barbarians, West Jefferson, Houma, and Warren Easton. Bayou Hurricanes played their first season. Their first home game was in Raceland on Feb. 7th. They defeated Brother Martin Crusaders 24-22.

We have tried to make contact with a few men’s and women’s teams (Auburn, La Tech, Marion Military, USM, ULL, Centenary) for info, but have had no reply. If you know the story of
these teams or info on the history of any Deep South rugby side, please send it to deepsouthrugby@hotmail.com.

 

LSU Rugby: The Maryland Moon – November 1971

1-Leaving-for-DC-11_71

Editor Note: In the fall season of 2014 the LSU rugby team was suspended. Several players lost an opportunity to compete for a national championship in their senior year. The purported cause of the suspension was students of legal age drinking at a post match party. This violates university policy for university sanctioned athletic trips. The purpose of publishing Andy Pharr’s account of an LSU rugby trip is not to condone the activities described, but (in accord with a goal of this publication to preserve the history of rugby in the region) present a record of university reaction to student high jinks while on an athletic trip in the 1970s.

By Andy “Phar Lap” Short

In November 1971 we went up to Washington DC to compete in a seven aside comp. We had three vehicles, one driven by Bill McCloud with a bunch of guys who have never been out of the state. The other was a Uni station wagon with LSU logos on the side. Chris Simpson also had a car. McCloud’s car had a big sign “Washington or Bust” stuck across the back. They were as keen as mustard and when we left would race ahead.
However, in those days the Interstate system was incomplete and would terminate on country road. Well, McCloud and Company would race along the Interstate, but when it stopped, they would not know where to go. So, they would wait for us to catch up and follow us to the next section of interstate and off they would go again. When we finally got near Washington we told them to wait at the Lincoln Memorial. We finally arrived and found they had been driving round and around the Memorial for more than an hour waiting for us.

Pictured: Andy ‘Phar Lap” Short McCloud’s car getting ready to leave Baton Rouge. In photo (left to right) Clay MaCaffey, ?, Veron Wells (87), Lawrence Williams (kneeling) , Chris Simpson? (rear), Wandergem?, Jay McKenna, ?, Paul Jenkins, Boyd Morrison, Andy Short, Barry Haney, Bill McCloud (sitting), Gary Myers, ?.
2014

The tournament was played in an area between the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. It was cold and wet and muddy on the field. We bombed out early. That night they had a party and award ceremony at the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Washington. The LSU team had been given purple and gold LSU tracksuits. So we all decided to wear these to the party. We arrived in those purple and gold tracksuits looking like a bunch of freaks from a circus and proceeded to act like a bunch of freaks.

Most of the other teams were Ivy League and quite smartly dressed in jackets, ties etc. with girlfriends to boot. Well, it didn’t take long for the LSU boys to make their mark. They had kegs of beer, which were rapidly consumed, the LSU crowd refusing to line up and jumping the queue. Then LSU’s “Baby Bull” (Vernon Wells – a big black player) decided he was cold and needed a new winter jacket. He went through the cloak room until he found one that fit.

Next, he and little Clay McCaffy did the Zulu Warrior dance where they take all their cloths off. You couldn’t see Wells through the crowd of co-ed’s wanting to be front row. During the award ceremony, we started flipping coins into the trophy, which didn’t go down well with the Ivy league crew.

Finally, we decided to pack down and charge the room using fake trees as a ram. Then someone started a fire alarm and the sprinklers started. People were riding the lifts up and down, and then the police and firemen arrived and we were all kicked out. I was taking a jug full of beer out with me when I slipped down the stairs smashing the jug. I ended up with just the handle in my hand. Once outside, we decided we had better find a bar. We went into the first one we found. It was awfully quiet for a bar. So I went up to the bar and ordered some beers. The barman started using sign language and we finally realised we were in a bar for deaf and dumb people. So then I resorted to sign language pretending to drink to order the beers. That worked.

3-DC-7's-tour-11_71

Pictured: The LSU Sevens team & their colorful track suits at Lincoln Memorial

 


LSU moon

Next day, McCloud’s and Simpson’s cars loaded up and headed home and the rest of us in the limo (Rob Haswell, Jay McKenna, Prince Valiant (Lawrence Williams), Honeymoon (Bill Hamlin), McCloud and Paul Jenkins??) headed for New York. We wanted to watch the Wallabies who were going to play their first game ever in North America against an eastern All Star team at Downing Stadium on Staten Island. We stopped off at Arlington to see JFK’s grave. We stayed at McCloud’s aunt’s place. She was a child psychologist and lived alone in a big apartment that had kids’ toys all over the place. ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ a horror movie set in a similar apartment in New York, had just been released. So it was fairly creepy. We had a good time in NY. Went by the hotel where the Wallabies were playing and saw them in the lobby, rode the subway and got lost, went out to Staten Island and also went out to the Aqueduct racecourse with Rob being a big racing fan. He even picked a couple of winners, but we came out in the red. Then out to the stadium on the derelict Downing Island. it had a stand on one side and was a night game. It was cold with a cold wind blowing right down the pitch. The crowd of a 1000 or so huddled on the one stand. Richard Harris the movie actor was there. The first half was slow. Then the Wallabies woke up and ran away in the second half 23-3.

It was then the long 2200 km dive back to Baton Rouge. The day we got back I was called in by Campus Police about a reported mooning in a University vehicle, as had Rob and Jay. As it turns out, our University car had been reported for mooning an LSU Alumni on the Maryland Interstate (enroute to NY). The policeman in change, Luke McCoy, made the fatal mistake of interviewing Jay, Rob & I (separately) first. We then all met with the undergrads that night. So we had time to concoct a plausible story. We all stated that we had left the Seven’s tournament wet and cold and headed straight to NY and a couple of guys in the back had to get changed in the car, and possibly someone saw them changing as we drove along the interstate. We said we may have made a small ‘indiscretion’ that was interpreted as a moon. Well, did the cop get mad. He interviewed the three undergrads together while Rob, Jay and I waited outside. We could hear him screaming when one of then asked him to define a ‘moon’, a ‘pressed-ham’ and a ‘red-eye’. He finally kicked us all out in disgust at his failure to lay a conviction.

However, we still had to front the Dean of Men, a lovely old southern gentleman. He told us a story about how he had had a run-in with a southern cop and didn’t think highly of them. He then told us not to commit any more ‘indiscretions’ and sent us on our way.

6-New-York-11_71

 Pictured: In New York: Rob Haswell, Jay McKenna, Paul Jenkins, Bill Hamlin & Bill McCloud

 Pictured: Mooning was quite common on LSU road trips, especially when we had the University bus and a big back window. Rob or someone would call ‘Moon,’ especially if they saw someone or car on the road they didn’t like. Up would go the bums, usually three at a time. The call ‘technicolour moon’ meant one of the black guys had to be in the middle so you had white-black-white bums and moon.

 

 

Pictured: Mooning was quite common on LSU road trips, especially when we had the University bus and a big back window. Rob or someone would call ‘Moon,’ especially if they saw someone or car on the road they didn’t like. Up would go the bums, usually three at a time. The call ‘technicolour moon’ meant one of the black guys had to be in the middle so you had white-black-white bums and moon.

Maud’s History – Part 1 – Tulane’s Beginning

The Early Years of Rugby in Louisiana:

The Tulane University and New Orleans Clubs, and Union Affiliations

PART 1:  Tulane University

 

Peter J. Maud

 

 

The following is an attempt to document the early history of the sport of rugby in the State of Louisiana primarily documenting the contributions of the Tulane University Club, the New Orleans Rugby Club and early union affiliations. This report is based upon the personal recollections of the author, some published media reports, and copies of official club and union files which were retained by the author following his departure from the New Orleans area. (Some original data was sent to Ed. Lee, Secretary of the Eastern Rugby Union.) Unfortunately records are incomplete and any reader who can supply missing data is encouraged to contact the author in order to update this report. The author was a member of the Tulane University Club from 1967 to 1970, of the New Orleans Club from its initial year of formation in 1973 to 1979, and the founding president of the Louisiana Rugby Union. In the Fall of 1979 he departed New Orleans due to professional advancement opportunities.

The first rugby game to be played by a Louisiana team occurred in the Spring of 1967.  The Southeast Louisiana University Rugby Club from Hammond played either one or two games that Spring, evidently just prior to the formation of the Tulane University Club.

History of Tulane University Rugby Club – 1967 to 1970

 

The first games played by the Tulane Rugby Club team took place in the spring of 1967 against the Baylor Medical College club and, as the majority of the Tulane team was from the medical school, the game was billed as “the battle of the young doctors”. Evidently Baylor was victorious. The Tulane club had primarily been founded by two medical students, Michael Keyes and Howard Goldberg, who had the initial intention to found a field hockey team. Evidently, according to an article written by Keyes in the Hullabaloo, the Tulane student newspaper, “a lack of money, competition and coaching practically precluded starting a hockey squad, so it was decided to play rugby instead”. (1)

The club, shortly after its founding, was fortunate enough to enlist the help of Arnold DuPisani, a member of the South African consular office in New Orleans, to coach and play scrum half for the team. Other early members besides Keyes and Goldberg, included medical students Bill Terry, the team captain, Jay Scully, Pete “the boot” Anderson, Brian Travis, Mike Maffet, Joe Chiapella, George Stelling, and Pat Schow, ably assisted by Nick Price (architecture), Fred King (law), Randy Starett (Business), Pat Kelly ( LSU Med. School anatomy professor) and Peter Maud (Tulane faculty) who took on the coaching responsibility after DuPisani’s departure for his home in South Africa. Others from the 1967 – 1970 era included Stan Smith, Ken Roy, Tim O’Mara, Bob Urann, Howard Sheridan, Nick Mantus, Brian Francis and probably the first undergraduate to play, Bob Edmundson, followed by John Howe. Apologies are extended to those whose names do not appear. Nobuo Hayashi (Tulane faculty) became the Tulane coach for the club beginning in the Fall of 1970.

Club team records for the 1967- 68 are not available but are for the second (1968 – 1969) season where the club first team had a 14 – 4 – 0 record, out scoring their opponents by 226 points to 91. The newly formed second team played four games, winning 3 and losing 1. For the third season (1969 – 1970) the first team record was 11- 9 – 1, (285 points for versus 162 against) with the second team only playing one game which they won.

                         Tulane University Rugby Club, 1967 – 1968 Season         

 No records available.                  

           Tulane University Rugby Club, 1968 – 1969 Season

                                                   

                                                                                       Results

 

                                                                                   “A” Team

Date                         Opponent                                 Venue                      Result                      Score

10/27/68  Southeastern Louisiana College                                Away                         W                          11 – 8

11/02/68  Memphis Wanderers                                                Home                          W                          16 – 0

11/03/68  Memphis Wanderers                                                Home                          W                          21 –10

11/09/68  Pensacola                                                 Home                            W                        21 – 3

11/17/68  Southeastern Louisiana College                               Home                          W                          26 – 10

12/07/68  Memphis Wanderers                                                Away                          L                             3 – 8

12/08/68  Memphis Wanderers                                                Away                         W                          12 – 0

02/02/69  Pensacola                                                 Home                          L                             3 – 8

02/15/69  University of Denver*                                             Home                          W                            8 – 3

02/15/69 Baylor Medical School*                           Home                          W                            6 – 5

02/16/69  University of Wisconsin*                        Home                          W                          12 – 0

03/09/69  Southeastern Louisiana College                               Away                          W                          20 – 0

03/16/69  Pensacola                                                 Away                          W                            3 – 0

03/29/69  Rice University                                        Away                          L                             6 – 13

03/30/69  Baylor Medical School                             Away                          L                             3 – 17

04/13/69  Southeastern Louisiana College                               Home                          W                          20 – 0

04/19/69  Springhill College                                     Home                          W                          19 – 0

05/10/69  Southeastern Louisiana College                               Away                          W                          16 – 6

                                                                            “B” Team

Date         Opponent                                                 Venue                      Result                      Score

03/16/69  Pensacola                                                 Away                          L                           3 – 5

04/20/69  New Orleans Blues**                                              Home                          W                          17 – 8

04/26/69  Springhill College                                     Away                          W                            8 – 5

05/10/69  New Orleans Blues**                                              Away                          W                          17 – 8

*  Tulane Mardi Gras Tournament

**First year of the New Orleans Blues club formation.                    

Tulane University Rugby Club Results, 1969 – 1970 Season

                                                    

                                                                                      Results

 

                                                                                   “A” Team

Date                         Opponent                                 Venue                      Result                      Score

10/05/69  New Orleans Blues                                    Home                       W                           39 – 6

10/12/69  Springhill College                                     Away                         W                           11 – 0

10/19/69  Pensacola                                                 Home                         W                           16 – 6

10/25/69  Notre Dame University                            Home                         L                            12 – 17

11/02/69  Hammond*                                              Away                         W                           15 – 0

11/16/69  Pensacola                                                 Away                         L                            10 – 13

11/22/69  Memphis State University                        Home                         W                           42 – 3

11/23/69  Pensacola                                                 Home                         W                           15 – 13

12/07/69  Memphis State University**                    Away                         L                              3 – 6

12/08/69  Huntsville**                                            Away                         W                           26 – 0

02/07/70  Holy Cross University***                       Home                         L                              8 – 13

02/07/70  University of Wisconsin “B”***                             Home                         W                           25 – 0

02/08/70  Denver Barbarians***                             Home                         W                              8 – 3

02/28/70  Pensacola                                                 Home                         L                            11 – 21

03/01/70  Springhill College                                     Home                         W                           21 – 8

03/08/70  Hammond*                                              Away                         L                               6 – 11

03/21/70  Pensacola                                                 Away                         L                            Forfeit

04/04/70  Springhill College                                     Away                         L                               3 – 11

04/05/70  Hammond                                                                Home                         W                              8 – 5

04/11/70  Freeport (Bahamas)                                 Away                         L                               6 – 26

04/11/70  Freeport “A” (Bahamas)                          Away                         T                                   0 – 0

                                                                           

“B” Team

Date         Opponent                                                 Venue                      Result                      Score

10/25/69 Springhill College                                     Home                         W                           8 – 5

* The Southeastern Louisiana College Club became a city team for some time.

**The Liberty Bowl Rugby Tournament

***Tulane Mardi Gras Tournament