On January 26th, the Birmingham Rugby club, known as the Vulcans,l commemorated the official renaming of its home field at Erskine Ramsay Park in honor of Alfred E. “Eddie” Krebs. Eddie, who succumbed to cancer in 2012, was the youngest of the six Krebs brothers, who founded the club in 1967. The renaming of Krebs Field, officially approved by the Birmingham City Council, was observed with a ceremony at 11:30 on Saturday prior to the club’s season opening match. The ceremony was attended by Eddie’s brothers Chris, Mark, Van, Tom and Paul and other surviving family members and friends as well as City Councilwoman Valerie Abbott, Park and Recreation Board members, and current and former officers, coaches and players for the Vulcans.
Following the ceremony, Eddie’s legacy was celebrated with the Vulcans opening their spring season against the Chattanooga Rugby Club.
The following information was copied from the above article on the RugbyRugby website.
Info about Alfred Edward Krebs (Ed):
- Ed was born in Birmingham, Alabama August 16, 1951.
- After a brief battle with cancer, Ed passed away in Birmingham on July 28, 2012.
- Ed and his brothers founded the Birmingham Rugby Club in 1967.
- Ed’s playing days with Birmingham were much more and longer than any of the other Krebs brothers, playing virtually every position for 18 years.
- Ed participated in the club in one form or another for all 47 years of its history. Those years he did not play he was involved with the team as an officer, supporter or active participant in the after match parties.
- Ed used his engineering and construction background to support the field design and maintenance for regular matches and tournaments. He worked tirelessly to improve and upgrade the Rugby field. Many was the night he was found watering the grass or replacing lights.
- Ed Krebs was the one who carried the Rugby club’s responsibilities to support the Birmingham community.
- As Birmingham Rugby’s Recruitment Director and PR Director, Ed was blind to peoples’ ethnicities, color, and any other differences during a period when that could have created issues in Birmingham and the Deep South. Ed opened the door for Birmingham Rugby to be a racially barrier free community and ensured that it never closed.
- Community Service: Ed contributed his time to several charitable organizations including the Salvation Army, YMCA events, and several theater groups. He especially enjoyed utilizing his culinary skills in preparing a low country boil for the Jimmie Hale Mission residents. He was often in attendance of various Arts association funraising events.
- Ed received his BA from UAB where he was an active member of the theater arts and foreign affairs programs with the latter leading to various special assignments associated with the U.S. Government in the Middle East as a specialist in Arabic affairs.
Info about the club:
- Birmingham Rugby is one of the oldest continuous rugby clubs in the South. It was founded in 1967 by the Krebs Brothers. The six brothers are Chris, Ed, Mark, Tom, Paul, and Van.
- The original name of the team was the Birmingham Parkers. The team was named after the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board because of the tremendous amount of support the board provided, along with Mayor George Seibels.
- One particular event that quickly raised popularity was the halftime entertainment of the August 8, 1970 exhibition match between the New York Jets (with Joe Namath) and Buffalo Bills (with OJ Simpson) at Legion Field. The Birmingham Parkers and the Memphis Rugby Club entertained the crowd of 55,000 with a hard hitting bloody battle. About that game Van Krebs wrote, “It is my remembrance that when we took the field for an abbreviated match (10-13 minutes), the fans had no idea of who we were and what the sport was. Approximately 20 minutes later, the fans were roaring and then booing the Pro players who were trying to take the field. The pros had been out of the locker room long enough to watch us and that was when Emerson Boozer said to me “You guys really play that s#!+ for free?” The fans continue to cheer the rugby players and boo the pros. We had quite a few people join the club in the week to follow.” Birmingham won that abbreviated match 5-0.
- Early Accolades: Won the Duke University seven-a-side tournament three years in a row (1967 – 1969). Won every seven-a-side match for a three year period.
- Former Football Stars: Some notable University of Alabama and Auburn University football players to later play for Birmingham Rugby are Tom Somerville, Lou Green, and Wayne Owen. Countless others played college football before playing for Birmingham Rugby. In fact, Tom Krebs and Van Krebs both played football at the University of Virginia.
Recent History and Present:
- Part of USA Rugby, which is explained below.
- USA Rugby is an official member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB).
- There are over 450,000 players from 2588 teams registered with USA Rugby; including over 67,000 high school students.
- The current structure of USA Rugby comprises seven Territorial Unions (TU) and 34 Local Area Unions (LAU) that compete for regional and National Championships.
- Members: The Birmingham Rugby Club Foundation is a 501c3 organization with about 66 active members, including players, coaches, and administrators. Although retired players are not all considered active members, many of them are still active in supporting the club. There are countless retired players and some are still involved in some capacity. No experience is necessary to join. The age range of players currently is 18 to 38, but we have had players participate in their 50s.
- Women: The club had a women’s team from around 2000 until 2003 and we are hoping to recruit enough to form a women’s team again.
- UAB: The club helped start a UAB team in 2011. That club currently has about 35 members. They play teams such as MTSU, Alabama, JSU, Auburn, Lee University, Murray State, etc.
- Competition: Birmingham competes against teams across the Southeastern United States and beyond. Frequent opponents include Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Atlanta, Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery, Pensacola, Panama City, Columbus, Ga, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, …
- Accolades: As far as recent history, Birmingham is the reigning state champion after winning back to back championships in 2011 and 2012. Birmingham also made it to the USA Rugby South playoffs in 1999, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 2000 Birmingham advanced all the way to the USA South Finals and in 2012 the USA South Final 4.
- Community Service: Birmingham Rugby is proud to give back to the community by regularly teaming up with organizations such a the Exchange Club Family Skills Center and by raising money for charities including United Cerebral Palsy and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for fighting childhood cancer.
- Youth: 2013 will be the fourth year of Youth Flag Rugby and the second year of High School Rugby in Birmingham. Currently there are not enough High School players to compete as one school vs. another. One of our biggest goals for the near future is to grow the popularity of High School Rugby to a level that allows for an interschool league in the Birmingham area and beyond.