Rugby Club adds former students as coaching assistants

Written By Josh Croup

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photo by Ty Smith
Julianne Griffith a sophomore photography major signs up for the rugby club on Monday Aug. 31, at
the Student Org. Showcase. Over 10 women signed up for the club in hopes to start the first women’s
rugby club at Point Park.


All you need are cleats and a mouth guard.

That’s what nearly ten prospective ruggers were told at the first Point Park Rugby Club meeting of the year Tuesday night in Village Park. Over 30 total students showed up for the first club meeting who is preparing to begin its 2015 season.

The first two weeks of the new school year are critical for the Rugby Club. It’s time for them to recruit, hit the gym and teach new recruits the game.

Senior flanker, Colby Barrett, was a newcomer to the team last year as a junior transfer. As a senior, he is looking forward to mentoring and leading new players.

“I was led last year when I was new,” Barrett said. “I’m just looking forward to taking a couple new guys under my wing, showing them the ropes, showing them basically all the new stuff that I had to go through last year and make it a little easier on them.”

Josh Coltura, new assistant coach and recent Point Park graduate, wants to make new recruits feel as comfortable as possible in a new environment.

“We can help the young guys and make sure they’re where they need to be and make them feel at home,” Coltura said. “Moving into a new school, it’s tough.”

Coltura, along with fellow graduate Jacob Finch, returned to the club this year after graduating in 2014. Their official title is, “Coaching Assistant.” They will serve as an extra set of eyes and ears to the captains off the field.

Before this year, the club relied solely on captains to do everything a coach would do on top of playing the game.

Chris Sepesy, faculty advisor and cinema professor, said bringing the two back as coaching assistants is a step in the right direction for the young club.

“If nothing else, it’s in lieu of a coach,” Sepesy said. “It’s always good to have a coach. Jacob, Josh and everybody returning are going to be fantastic. I think it’s a great idea.”

Coltura said the rugby club is trying to build the structure laid down by the founders.

The guys who started the club did a great job getting us to where we need to be… Finch and I want to see it keep growing,” Coltura said.

Jerimiah Elsass returns to the club for his junior season as the club president. He said the addition of two coaching assistants takes a load off the new captains, Jakob Como and Brady Winner.

“Obviously, for Como and Brady to see everything is impossible,” Elsass said. “If they were to do that, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs. To have those eyes and ears off the field who can watch the games for us and help us adjust to what we’re not seeing on the field is absolutely crucial.”

Elsass also said Coltura and Finch want to film the club’s matches. This will give the team a chance to break down players and correct mistakes.

Coltura aims to take as much stress off the captains as possible. Last year, the duo of twin brothers Troy and Travis Johnston, along with Richie Carver, served as captains. They had the tall task of fielding their position, keeping the spirits of the team high and looking for ways everyone else could improve.

Now, Coltura and Finch can do some of those themselves. They can use their experiences to help teach and lead from the sidelines and allow the captains to do their job on the field.

“It takes a lot of stress off the captains,” Coltura said. “It allows us to overlook everything. We have the experience that we can pass along to the younger guys but most importantly, we can keep the morale of the club up.”

Como is looking forward to having extra help on the sideline this year.

“I think they’re going to be a big help to this club organizational wise and from a coaching aspect with their experience,” Como said.

The season is right around the corner and practices are starting up, but that doesn’t mean the team is done searching for recruits.

If rugby sounds even remotely interesting, “Just come out,” Elsass said. “If you want to come by for one or two [meetings or practices] and decide it’s not your thing, it’s no problem,” Elsass said. “No one’s going to treat you any differently. Come out and try it. It’s always good to try new things, and if you’re like me, you’ll find a new love.”

The club plans to meet Tuesday nights at 9:30 in the JVH Auditorium.

The rugby club’s first match is home on Friday, Sept. 11 at Boyce Park against Fairmont.