The Early Years of Rugby in Louisiana:
The Tulane University and New Orleans Clubs, and Union Affiliations
PART 5: Regional Union Beginnings
Peter J. Maud
The Southeast Gulf States Rugby Association
A proposal was made in early October 1969 by Maud, at that time the coach of the Tulane University Rugby Club, to form an association of rugby clubs in the southeast Gulf States to further develop, and promote the game of rugby. A letter was mailed requesting that representatives from the clubs attend a meeting to be held on October 25th in New Orleans on the Tulane campus. (The reason for the proposed date was due to the fact that the Tulane Club was due to play Notre Dame that afternoon while the Tulane “B” side was scheduled to play Springhill College.) Invitations were mailed to the following clubs: Pensacola Rugby Club, the Southeast Louisiana College Rugby Club, Springhill College Rugby Club, New Orleans Blues Rugby Club, Louisiana State University Rugby Club, and Tulane University Rugby Club. It is interesting to note that Louisiana State University were invited but they evidently they did not form a team until the following year.
The meeting was duly held with Patrick DeLouise, from the Hammond Club (this may have been at a time when the Southeast Louisiana Rugby Club for a short time became the Hammond Club), Michael vonDeckbar and Alber Enos representing the New Orleans Blues Rugby Club, Michael Keyes and Peter Maud, the Tulane University Club, and Gene Gerdes, independent. Although there were no representatives from either the Springhill Club or the Pensacola Club they gave verbal approval for the formation of the association. The following motions, as extracted from a letter sent to all relevant parties, were approved at the meeting:
1. That the general objectives of the association shall be to promote, encourage and organize the playing of rugby throughout the Southeastern Gulf States area.
2. That the officials of the association shall consist of a president, secretary /treasurer, and one representative designated from the clubs not represented by either the president or the secretary/treasurer. Therefore each club will be entitled to one vote.
3. That officials be elected on a one year basis at a meeting to be held in September or October of the playing year.
4. That the membership fee for individual clubs will be $10 per year plus a 25 cent per year individual team member fee for all players who participate in Southeastern Gulf States conference games.
5. That a Southeastern Gulf States Conference will be formed within the association and that each team entered in the conference will play one home and one away game with all other conference teams. (Specific rules for the conduct of conference games will be drawn up at a later date. Fixtures to be organized for the 1969-70 season prior to February 1, 1970)
Officials elected for the 1969-70 season were: President, Peter J. Maud, Tulane University Rugby Club, and Secretary/Treasurer Michael E. von Deckbar, New Orleans Blues Rugby Club.
Some of the other issues that were debated at that first meeting and subsequently at later dates either by mail or telephone included: publicity, clinics, laws of the game, representative fixtures, appointment of referees, penalties for cancellation of matches, punishment for players being sent off during a game etc.
Ultimately fixtures for all participating teams were arranged to be played during the Spring of 1970. As no results were recorded for the New Orleans Blues team it is assumed that the club had folded by then.
Game Results for the Spring 1970 Season
Date Teams Venue Winner Score
02/21/1970 Springhill vs. Hammond Springhill Springhill Forfeit
02/22/1970 Pensacola vs. Hammond Pensacola Pensacola Forfeit
02/28/1970 Tulane vs. Pensacola Tulane Pensacola 18 – 11
03/01/1970 Tulane vs. Springhill Tulane Tulane 21 – 8
03/01/1970 Hammond vs. Pensacola Hammond Pensacola 19 – 3
03/07/1970 Pensacola vs. Springhill Pensacola Pensacola 16 – 3
03/08/1970 Hammond vs. Tulane Hammond Hammond 11 – 6
03/14/1970 Springhill vs. Tulane Springhill Springhill 11 – 3
03/15/1970 Hammond vs. Springhill Hammond Not played
03/21/1970 Pensacola vs. Tulane Pensacola Pensacola 6 – 0*
04/04/1970 Springhill vs. Pensacola Springhill Pensacola 16 – 3
04/05/1970 Tulane vs. Hammond Tulane Tulane 8 – 5
*This game was technically forfeited due to the Tulane team having an insufficient number of players.
Final Team League Standing for the Spring 1970 Season
Team Played Won Lost Tied Points For Points Against
1st Pensacola 6 6 0 0 72 17
2nd.= Tulane 6 2 4 0 49 53
2nd = Springhill 5 2 3 0 22 59
4th Hammond 5 1 4 0 19 43
In a letter dated May, 18, 1970, Maud submitted his resignation as president of the association due to the fact that he was leaving the area and moving to the University of New Mexico in order to further his education. In that letter, on behalf of the Tulane Club, he nominated Jim Silverwood of the Pensacola Rugby Club to succeed him as president for the following 1970/1971 season. It was also requested that other clubs nominate a potential president of the association. This request resulted in only one response, from the Springhill Club, supporting the nomination of Jim Silverwood. Association files for the Spring 1970 were forwarded to Jim.
It is believed that Jim Silverwood left the Pensacola area and unfortunately the association did not survive.
The Louisiana Rugby Union
The second attempt to form a coordinated association of rugby clubs in the Southeast came in the Fall of 1973 when Maud, upon his return to Louisiana, proposed to the Louisiana clubs that a local union be formed to regulate and promote the sport within the state of Louisiana. The Louisiana Rugby Union became a reality at a meeting held on April 22nd, 1974. Member clubs at that time included the Crescent City Rugby Club, the Louisiana State University Rugby Club, the New Orleans Rugby Club, the Southeast Louisiana University Rugby Club, and the Tulane University Rugby Club. At that time no decision was made as to which regional union the Louisiana Rugby Union would apply for membership.
Shown below is the initial Louisiana Rugby Football Union constitution as adopted in the Spring of 1974.
The name of this Union shall be the Louisiana Rugby Football Union.
It is the purpose of this Union to regulate the play of Rugby Football in the state of Louisiana, to improve the standard of play, and to promote the growth of the sport.
Activities of the Louisiana Rugby Football Union in support of these aims may include:
1. The coordination of scheduling among member clubs.
2. The organization of a Louisiana Rugby Football Championship.
3. The training, assignment, and supervision of referees.
4. The organization of representative teams as required for matches against other Unions or touring clubs.
5. The organization or sectioning of tours and tournaments.
6. The provision of other forms of assistance to member clubs as available.
7. Encouraging by any practiced means the formation of new rugby clubs in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Rugby Football Union shall have sole jurisdiction over all games of Rugby Football played in the state of Louisiana.
All games under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Rugby Football Union shall be played according to the current Laws of the Game as approved by the International Board and published by the Rugby Football Union in England.
Membership in the Louisiana Rugby Football Union shall be open to all rugby clubs in the state of Louisiana upon payment of dues in the amount fixed by the Executive Committee and approved by the Board of Governors.
The Board of Governors shall consist of one representative chosen by each member club, the President, the Secretary-Treasurer, and the President of the Louisiana Society of Rugby Referees.
Except as hereafter provided elsewhere in this constitution, the Board of Governors may make regulations concerning the conduct of any rugby football game in the state of Louisiana.
The Board of Governors shall hold regular meetings twice each year. A special meeting of the Board of Governors may be called at any time, appropriate notice having been given, at the request of any two members.
Fifty-one percent of the membership of the Board of Governors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
The officers of the Louisiana Rugby Football Union shall be the President and the Secretary-Treasurer.
The President and the Secretary-Treasurer shall be elected by the Board of Governors at a regular meeting and shall serve for two years. Consecutive terms may be served.
No individual shall simultaneously represent his club on the Board of Governors and serve as an officer of the Louisiana Rugby Football Union.
The President shall provide executive leadership in the activities of the Union.
The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Governors and may cast a deciding vote in case of a tie.
The President shall represent the Union in relationships with other Constituent Bodies or with civil governments.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall maintain an accurate and complete record of the activities of the Union.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall give adequate notice of meeting of the Board of Governors.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall coordinate scheduling of matches between member clubs and shall function as the Fixture Secretary of the Union with respect to arranging representative matches with other Unions or touring clubs.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall collect the dues of the Union, and all other funds payable to it, and shall pay all bills incurred by the Union.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep a record of all income and expenditures of Governors, giving the condition of the treasury.
The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the Secretary-Treasurer, and the President of the Louisiana Society of Rugby Referees.
The Executive Committee shall conduct the regular business of the Union.
It is authorized to take all such actions as will carry out the Union’s purposes and further its objectives, subject to the limitation that it may not spend, or contract to spend, more money than is actually in the Union Treasury without the approval of the Board of Governors.
Two thirds of the membership of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
The Louisiana Society of Rugby Referees shall be established as an organ of the Louisiana Rugby Football Union. The Society shall provide referees, to the extent possible, for all games played under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Rugby Football Union.
The Society shall have sole authority with respect to any questions concerning the interpretation of the Laws of the Game.
As Established by the Louisiana Rugby Football Union
1. Dues for membership in the Union are set at $25.00 per year.
2. The dates for the regular meeting of the Board of Governors shall be fixed by the Executive Committee and announced to the members with at least three weeks notice. Ordinarily, one meeting will be held in late April, at which time the officers are elected, and one meeting in early September.
3. The playing year and the terms for all officers shall run from July 1 to June 30 of the calendar year next following.
4. The Secretary-Treasurer shall call a meeting of the Fixture Secretaries of all member clubs in October of each year to arrange schedules among member clubs for the next playing year. That is, there will be a meeting in October, 1974, to arrange schedules for the 1975-1976 playing year.
5. All member clubs must inform the Secretary-Treasurer of their complete schedules when finally arranged, but no later than November 30, even if there are some open dates. Thereafter, the Secretary-Treasurer must be informed of any changes or additions.
6. The scheduling shall be so arranged that each member club plays other member clubs once each Fall and Spring, normally on a home-and-away basis, these to be designated as League Games. It is the responsibility of the home team to inform the Secretary-Treasurer of the results of each League Game. Points will be awarded for League Game results according to the following scheme: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss. The team with the greatest total number of points in League Games shall be declared Louisiana Champion, except that in the event of a tie, co-champions shall be declared. A floating trophy shall be awarded each year to the Champion. Further games may be scheduled among member clubs, but any such games shall not be counted as League Games and shall not affect the Championship.
7. Any member club arriving late for a regularly scheduled game within Louisiana shall be fined as follows: $5.00 after 15 min. delay; $10.00 after 30 min. delay. If either team is not prepared to play one-half hour after scheduled time, the referee will decide, in consultation with both captains, whether to cancel the game or play as the teams stand. Any game cancelled under this provision shall be considered forfeited by the offending team.
8. The Louisiana Society of Rugby Referees shall prepare, and the Secretary-Treasurer shall distribute to all member clubs, a detailed procedure for the operation of the Disciplinary Committee established by Article VIII of the Constitution.
9. With the advice and consent of the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee will appoint selectors and a coach for any representative matches.
10. Attention is particularly drawn to the Laws applicable to the proper size and marking of grounds. This is the responsibility of the home team, and a referee may refuse to officiate, or a visiting team may, without prejudice, refuse to play on an improperly marked ground.
Several changes were made to the constitution and regulations following this initial draft.
It was not until a meeting held on Tuesday, December 3rd 1974, that the Louisiana Rugby Union voted unanimously to apply for membership within the Eastern Ruby Union. Subsequently at an E.R.U. meeting held in Philadelphia on March 16, 1975, the Louisiana Rugby Union was formally elected to Local Union membership in the E.R.U. At that same meeting Maud, who attended that meeting as an invited observer, was elected as a director to represent Louisiana. It is also of interest to note that at that meeting the Southeastern Rugby Football Union was also elected to Local Union status within the E.R.U.
Ironically a few days prior to the E.R.U. meeting, Maud had received a letter from Gerard Seymour, President of the Heart of America Rugby Football Union, requesting that he attend a meeting to be held on Saturday March 15th to discuss the formation of a proposed Western Rugby Football Union. By this time however, the decision to apply for membership within the E.R.U. had already been made.
An attempt was made in 1995 by Dave Shepherd, a member of the Southeastern Louisiana University Rugby Club, to form a Southern Rugby Union. He contacted clubs and unions from west Texas to Florida, with a tentative meeting set to be held on 24th May, 1995 in the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans. It is unknown as to whether or not the meeting actually took place but the proposed union did not materialize.
Elected officials (1974 – 1976):
President Peter J. Maud
Secretary/Treasurer Patrick De Louise
President of the Referees Society Michael Porter
During the first year of the union’s existence a Louisiana Championship was held with each team playing home and away games against the other union members. Following is the championship final standing:
1. Louisiana State University R.F.C.
2. New Orleans R.F.C.
3. Southeastern Louisiana University R.F.C.
4. Tulane University R.F.C.
5. Crescent City R.F.C.
Three representative fixtures were played by the union between Spring season 1974 and the Fall of 1975. Results were as follows:
Date Opponent Match Result Pts. For. Pts. Against
01/23/1974 Club Pueyrredon (Argentina) Lost 0 20
11/15/1975 Florida Rugby Union Lost 7 10
12/13/1975 Texas Rugby Union* Lost 3 38
*Although officially listed as a union representative fixture, Tulane had earlier indicated that their team members were unavailable due to end of semester exams. Likewise some of the L.S.U. players had also indicated that they were unavailable for the same reason. Some of the L.S.U. players were supposed to be available and were selected. A few days prior to the fixture being played several L.S.U. members withdrew from the team and on the day some were no shows. The net result was that the team was comprised entirely of New Orleans club members with the exception of one player from the Southeastern Louisiana University (Robert Tuminello).
The Following Represented the State of Louisiana at Rugby: 1974-1975.
Versus Versus Versus
Club Pueyrredon Florida Texas
January 23, 1974 November 15, 1975 December 13, 1975
Louisiana 0, Pueyrredon 20 Louisiana 7, Florida 10 Louisiana 3, Texas 38
Fullback D. Bare (L.S.U) D. Cohen (N.O.) P.J. Maud (N.O.)
Wings G Gerdes (Crescent City) F. Perkins (L.S.U.) J. Rosek (N.O.)
F. Perkins (L.S.U.) S. Solliman (N.O.) D. Cohen (N.O.)
Centers J. M. Hamby (N.O.) L. Williams (N.O.) S. Salliman (N.O.)
P.J. Wylie (L.S.U.) C. Monnot (N.O.) C. Monnot (N.O.)
Fly Half C.L. Monnot (N.O.) E. Reinowski (L.S.U.) R. Tuminello (U.S.L)
Scrum Half R. Urann (N.O.) L. Bratton (L.S.U.) R. Urann (N.O.)
Hooker T. Yokum (Tulane) T. Yokum (N.O.) T. Yokum (N.O.)
Props P. Dial (L.S.U.) R. Evans (N.O.) W. Oliver (N.O.)
M. H. Porter (N.O.) J. Lewis (L.S.U.) M.H. Porter (N.O.)
2nd. Row S. P. Davies (N.O.) R. Causey (L.S.U.) G. Williams (N.O.)
R. Causey (L.S.U.) R. Edmundson (L.S.U.) D. Guth (N.O.)
Wing Forwards T. L. Crosby (N.O.) T. L. Crosby (N.O.) S. Smith (N.O.)
P. J. Maud (N.O.) M. H. Porter (N.O.) D. Farrar (N.O.)
Number Eight B. L. Haney (N.O.) M. Lawson (L.S.U.) B. Travis (N.O.)
Coach M. H. Porter (N.O.) M.H. Porter (N.O.) M. H. Porter (N.O.)
In the Spring of 1976 a match was arranged to be played between the Louisiana Rugby Union State team and a representative side from the Orange Free State (South Africa). All major arrangements were made including the purchase an official Louisiana Rugby Union plaque which was to be presented to the visiting team. Unfortunately just before the touring team was due to depart from South Africa, then President Carter, refused to allow visas to be issued. Obviously this was related to the apartheid policy in place in South Africa at that time.
Perhaps special mention should be made of the part played by the South African Consular staff in the development of the game of rugby within the state, particularly Arnold Du Pissani and Andre Pelser. Arnold was very instrumental in helping the initial development of the Tulane University team as a player (scrum half) and the team coach. At a later date Andre coached the Tulane team, and at one time also played for, and coached, the New Orleans club. He also coached both the Louisiana Select Team and the All Southern Team. The original Mardi Gras Rugby Tournament cup (The Andries Gobler Cup) was donated by the South African Consul.
Another individual who made a significant contribution was Michael Porter (2), a member of the Tulane University faculty, whose knowledge of the laws of the game, and his ability as a forwards coach (he coached the first three state representative teams) positively impacted the game within the state.
Others who played a significant part in the early development of the Louisiana game included Bob Urann, Stan Smith, John Healey, Dave Shepherd, and Max Simmonds who was very influential as a referee and coach. There were too many others to individually identify.
(Authors personal note: The Eastern Rugby Union, the parent body of the Louisiana Rugby Union, was originally founded in 1934 and played representative games against a visiting Cambridge University (England) team that same year and again in 1938. The next representative game by an All-Star ERU team was played against the Quebec Provincial Representative team in the Spring of 1962 in Montreal. I was a member of the Quebec team and had the misfortune to have as my opposite number Tony Madigan, an Australian 1960 Rome Olympic bronze medal light heavyweight boxer, whom, I believe, lost to gold medal winner Cassius Clay in the semifinals. Quebec, however, won the match!)
(Limited data only is available for the following four years. Any reader who has more detailed information, concerning representative fixtures and selected players in particular, is requested to contact the author in order to make this a more complete report.)
1976 – 1978
President David Shepherd
Secretary/Treasurer Charlie Monnot
President of the Referees Society Rick Odom
During this time several representative games were played. In the Fall 1976 a game was played between the Louisiana representative team and Georgia. The Louisiana team was the victor. (score ?) A game was played against the Florida Rugby Union on October 22nd 1977, with Louisiana winning by a score of 31 points to 12. This game was a part of the Southern ERU trials where a team to represent the Southern ERU against a Northern ERU select team was selected. Louisiana Rugby Union players selected to represent the Southern team included Bob Causey (Baton Rouge Rugby Club), Pat Dial (New Orleans Rugby Club), and Donnie Bratton, Joey Husband, and Frank Perkins (L.S.U. Rugby Club) with Bob Edmundson (Baton Rouge Rugby Club) and Andy Miles (New Orleans Rugby Club) selected as reserves.
The following represented the Louisiana Rugby Union in the game against Florida:
Fullback Kuykendahl Props Edmundson
Wings Foaster Hooker Anderson
Centers Hampton 2nd Row Dial
Fly Half Tuminello Wing Forwards Breen
Scrum Half McLean Number Eight Crosby
1978 – 1980
President Max Simmonds
First Vice President Fred Romero
Second Vice President Ed Owens
Secretary/Treasurer Charlie Monnot
Fixtures Secretary Bob Causey
President of the Referees Society Rick Odom
Highlights of the 1978 – 1979 season included state representative fixtures against the Palmetto Rugby Football Union (South Carolina) where the Louisiana side was victorious by a score of 36 points to 12, against a touring London Welsh team where Louisiana lost by 14 points to 9, and against the Greystones Rugby Football Club from Ireland with the touring team winning by 14 points to 6.
In 1978 Boyd Morrison toured South Africa with the U.S.A. Cougars and Bob Causey played for the Eastern Rugby Union representative team with Donney Bratton as a reserve.
Bob Causey subsequently played for the U.S.A. national team.
Several changes were made to the constitution during this period, including the addition of two vice-presidents and a fixtures secretary to the Executive Committee.