Barner named USA Rugby Coach of the Year
Wayne State rugby coach Darrin Barner was named the USA Rugby Male Coach of the Year during the organization’s annual National Rugby Summit over the weekend in Denver, Colo.
The architect of the Wildcat rugby program from its inception in 2001, the Wayne native and former Wayne State football player was introduced to rugby while living in Texas. He played for the Fort Worth city club team that won a national title, and brought his knowledge of the sport back home to help start a rugby club at the college.
The club has become one of the premiere small-college rugby clubs in the United States, and its annual spring festival annually draws players and teams from more than 70 schools across the country each year.
Barner has been the coach for both the men’s and women’s teams from the beginning, and in recent years the women’s team has become a juggernaut in National Small College Rugby Organization play. The team recently won its second-consecutive national title in 15-on-15 competition and has won a combined seven national titles in 15’s and 7-on-7 play in the past five years. This year’s 7-on-7 team is looking to take back the title they lost last year, ending a three-year run of championships in that division.
Barner was named along with Women's Coach of the Year honoree Nancy Kechner from the University of Virginia.