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Hickey named Penn Mutual Varsity Cup 2015 Coach of the Year.

05/03/2015, 9:45pm EDT
By Admin

Justin Hickey's Rugby Michigan connection:

Coach Hickey began his playing career in 1998, at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the Cougars enjoyed the success of a state championship in the program’s first year. Hickey continued his career at Central Michigan University, where he represented and captained the Midwest Champion Michigan Collegiate Select Side on a number of occasions and competed in the National College All Star Championships in 2003 with the Midwest Collegiate Thunderbirds.

Upon conclusion of his college playing career, Hickey played senior men’s rugby around the Midwest as well as a stint in the UK for National Division 2 Halifax RUFC. During his time stateside, Hickey competed with the Detroit Tradesmen (D1), the Grand Rapids Gazelles (D1), and the Chicago Griffins (RSL). From 2004-2009 Hickey enjoyed the success of 3 appearances in the USA Rugby Round of 16 (15s) and 2 appearances in the USA Rugby Round of 16 (7s), as well as 4 appearances for the Midwest Thunderbird 15s and 3 appearances for the Midwest Thunderbird 7s.

Hickey began his coaching career where his playing career started, as Asst. Coach at Catholic Central High School. From there, Hickey was involved in starting the Davenport University Varsity Rugby team in Grand Rapids, in 2009, which went on to win the 2011 & 2012 USA Rugby Division 1AA National Championship. Hickey was hired in January 2011, as the Head Coach at Clemson, and also served as Assistant Coach/Manager for the USA Rugby High School All American 7s Team, which toured to Bristish Columbia in 2011. Hickey also served one term as Manager of the USA Rugby High School All Americans from 2009-2010. Hickey worked for 2 years as Manager for the USA Rugby U20 Junior All American Team which competed in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in T'Bilisi, Georgia in 2011, and won the competition in Salt Lake City, UT in June 2012, earning the USA U20s promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship competition in 2013. 



Salt Lake City, UT—In lead up to today’s Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Championship, the coaches and administrators of the participant schools met for a series of coordination and development meetings to review the 2015 competition and set plans for the future.

Along with these coordination meetings, the coaches named Clemson University head coach, Justin Hickey, as the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup 2015 Coach of the Year.

Hickey, who was named to the USA Rugby Collegiate All American coaching staff along with Varsity Cup fellow head coach Gavin Hickie from Dartmouth, has quickly taken Clemson from a mid-tier collegiate rugby program in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League (ACRL) to the 2013 and 2014 champions. hickey

Hickey was also named the ACRL Coach of the Year in both of those championship seasons.

Overall, Hickey has led the Tigers to a strong 28-4 conference record over five seasons at the helm.

In the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup, Hickey led his Tigers to a 26-22 upset victory over Arkansas State University, but were up-ended narrowly at the United States Naval Academy the following week by the score of 23-24.

After their team’s loss to the Midshipmen, Hickey and the Tigers finished as Runners-Up at the ACRL 7’s Championship the following week, and therefore , qualify to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia May 30-31.

Hickey was also a member of the 2012 USA Rugby Under-20 Junior World Rugby Trophy Champion coaching staff.

“Justin is one of the Varsity Cup’s rising coaches,” said Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Director Dan Lyle, “And is proof that consistent effort and a solid vision can lead to the development of a winning program. Justin is another example of what makes the Varsity Cup a great avenue for the development of collegiate game and student-athletes.”

After being named the 2015 Coach of the Year, Hickey was obviously flattered.

“To be selected as the Coach of the Year is humbling,” Hickey said, “The room was packed with men that I look up and have interacted with over my coaching career, and this is just as much an award for our players, alumni and support staff. I look forward to continuing our efforts at Clemson and am grateful for the opportunities that the Varsity Cup offers our program to grow and develop.”

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