January 19 – This Day in Rugby

Columbia University Rugby Club

The northeast U.S. has always been a hotbed for rugby and it was on this day in rugby history in 1961 that Columbia University Rugby Football Club was first recognized as a university club and held their initial recruitment meeting.

The meeting was organized by William Smith (’57), who spearheaded the movement to bring rugby to Columbia University since picking up the game from a co-worker who played for the Westchester RFC, and held at the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity house.  Thirty interested players showed up with 22 from the college and officers elected.

John Wellington was elected president, Ireland native Pat Moran was named captain/treasure/coach, Bill Campbell, the captain-elect of the Ivy League winning football team was vice president and Smith was named secretary.

These four players were the ‘founders’ of the club.

CU RFC was earlier recognized by the Eastern Rugby Union.

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