November 23, 2015

Fairfield Rugby "State of the Union"
What's happening and what it means for you.

Dear Fairfield Rugby Fans:

What a year it's been. There's a great deal to share with you and a lot to do, so let's dive right in to the maul. (Forwards will understand this, for many backs it's a foreign concept).

We have tremendous momentum as you'll see from the news below. And yes, we need your support. Read on and you'll see why this is one of the most exciting times and greatest opportunities in our 50+ year history... including an exciting donation and challenge from one of our alums.

  • Men's team moves to Div. I. After capturing the Tri-State Conference Championship in the fall of 2014, the men’s team accepted an invitation to move up to the East Coast Rugby Conference, Division 1AA where they just completed their inaugural fall season.  This elevation brings a much higher level of competition and national exposure playing against ranked teams like BC & AIC.  FOFR has helped with the added expense such an elevation entails, including professional fitness training sessions, and we have plans to support more recruiting in order to raise our level of play.
  • Women's team. The current roster of 30 players includes a healthy influx of newcomers.  Five seniors lead the team which plays in the Division II Tri-State Rugby Conference.  The team trains in the early mornings in the form of CrossFit at BK Athletics (same as the men’s team, supported by FOFR).  Team practices are held in the evenings. 
  • Coaches. The "coach ourselves" days of rugby are over. To compete and build a credible program, teams need top coaching - and we have it. The many alumni who have met our coaches have been extremely impressed. Men’s head coach Ben Kelly is an Aussie professional rugby player & coach with world cup credentials, a CrossFit competitor, and organizes training programs for both teams; men’s coach Marc Downes is an English rugger and former England colleges national champion with international experience throughout Europe & Australia in 7s and 15s, he is also
    a coach at the Fairfield Rugby Club; women’s team coach Jack Wallace is a graduate of Fairfield Prep and Providence College where he played rugby and is currently on the Prep faculty and coaches varsity rugby, Jack also plays for the Fairfield Rugby Club/CT Yankees.
  • Sponsors for both teams have come on board. Our roster of generous sponsors includes Empire Wealth Strategies/Penn Mutual, Marion Equity Partners (Bill Egan '67), O'Keefe Controls (Pat O'Keefe '84), Ferrara Family Dental (Pete Ferrara '73), WP& Co. CPAs (Rich Papscoe '89). We have room for others if you are interested.
  • Rugby Scholarship. We are in the planning stages of offering scholarships for rugby players. Our target is the class of 2020, next year's freshmen. The fund, The Ciacci-Pascale Rugby Scholarship Fund, was formed to honor two outstanding class of 1965 athletes: Fairfield U. Hall of Fame rugger Doug Ciacci, and varsity baseball and basketball player Joe Pascale. The fund was set up by their classmate and Red Rugger Jeff Campbell. Look for more announcements in 2016.
  • Successful "Rugby Summit." On October 23, members of our Executive Board met at Alumni House on campus for a comprehensive assessment of current and future goals for rugby. We were joined by university staff from club sports, alumni relations, development and the President's senior leadership team as we shared our vision and concerns for the program going forward. Subcommittee work was assigned with significant announcements planned for early next year. Stay tuned.
  • Alumni Rugby Fest held Oct. 24. We had a great turnout for our Rugby Fest Homecoming on Sat. Oct. 24. Alumni matches started the day, with a ceremony honoring Hall of Fame induction of the late Doug Ciacci '65. A food tent added to the festivities as the men's team took on Boston College (the women were off that week), followed by the local Fairfield Men's Club taking on Montauk Rugby. The apparel tent was busy all day, almost as busy as the bar at Anna Liffey's Pub in town where dozens went to watch Rugby World Cup matches. Yes, you DID miss a great day. So mark your calendar now for next year's: Oct. 22, 2016.
  • 1st Annual "Ruck & Roll FOFR Rugby Tailgate" held in Brookline, MA. Dozens of alumni, friends and families of current players joined together in our first Road Tailgate supported by FOFR. You couldn't miss our Fairfield Rugby 12-foot flag as the Red Ruggers took on Northeastern. Look for future away games where we'll have the opportunity to gather, support the team and win the damn tailgate.
  • FOFR Happy Hours. We hosted one in NYC last February and another in Boston in October. We have hundreds of alumni men & women in the northeast so we're looking for more "captains" to head one up. Just contact Dave Smith '00 to set one up; email

Our mission to support and grow rugby at Fairfield and preserve its legacy has made great strides, but we have more to do. This includes team development, improvements to Grauert Field and much more. But we need you to act to do it.


Donate now. It's quick and easy online with this link. Get it done now before the holidays steal your attention.

Alumni Donor Challenge to Earn a $5000 Matching Gift
One of our rugby alums has issued a challenge: they will donate $5,000 if our Board will match it. The good news is our Board has risen to the challenge, and issued one of their own: we're looking for your participation to more than double that and bring our total to $25,000. What a great way to close out 2015. Use our website store to donate on line or mail a check to the FOFR; details are posted here on our website.

Consider Employer Matching Funds

Corporate Matching gifts can be made by check payable to THE PID FUND FOR FAIRFIELD
RUGBY INC. Mail to FOFR Treasurer Patrick O’Keefe, 21 Bridle Path Trail, Monroe CT 06468

Here are more reasons to give now:
  • We have a great team of alumni working to build the program so your investment will be leveraged for an excellent, visible return. Since the FOFR was formed we have donated more than $115,000.00
  • If you'd like more detail on recent financials, you're welcome to view our Financial Statement online.
  • Lock in your tax deduction for 2015, too. We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. View our credentials here.
You can also...
  • Spread the word. Make sure your teammates and any fans of Fairfield Rugby get connected with us (website, mailing list).
  • Attend an event. Keep an eye out for our growing list of events throughout the region as rugby friends connect and enjoy. Recent gatherings have included pub get-togethers in NYC and Boston, as well as our new Ruck & Roll Road Tailgates.
  • Save October 22, 2016. Our Third Annual Rugby Fest Homecoming at Grauert Field
  • Help recruit qualified men & women high school rugby players

These are exciting times, a new chapter for the FURFC. Join us and support us; you’ll love what you see and you’ll continue to be proud of Fairfield Rugby for generations to come.

On behalf of our entire board, thanks for your past support and best wishes for Thanksgiving and soon enough, Christmas.

Bart Franey

Friends of Fairfield Rugby

P.S. These are exciting times for Fairfield Rugby, a unique opportunity in our history to build on our legacy. Your support is needed to make this new vision a reality. Please donate before year end, help us meet our funding challenge, and stay tuned for what's next.

Read about the Fairfield Red Ruggers 50th anniversary celebration in the Winter 2013 issue of Fairfield University Magazine. View or download the PDF version at this link.