History

As a part of the ongoing organization of alumni, we are trying to put together a comprehensive history of the teams. As the teams cyclically grew and dwindled over the years, much of the histories of the clubs were lost.  In an effort to collect and present those old stories, traditions, and accomplishments we invite any alumni to contact us and tell us about their time as a Kenyon Rugby player. Whether it is a paragraph detailing a specific memory or a short story describing years at Kenyon, we will combine it with other shared histories to create a running narrative of the club.

Thanks for anything you'd like to share.

The Men's Founding

Courtesy of Art Bond '83

"In 1979, the first Men's team was put together under the leadership of Dean Robert Reading.  The first  team was a ragtag group of guys, primarily Freshmen and Sophmores who were disillusioned with Kenyon Football, many of whom were from the Gund Dorm, which had extra long beds. As such, our scrum was larger that the line of the football team.


In the early years of Rugby, rugby goals were not readily available. We made our goals out of cobbled together 2x4's and buried them in the ground until the cross bar was "relatively" close to regulation height. Needless to say, by the end of the season the goals listed to one side or the other.

In the absence of a machine to line the field, our team manager John "Hoss" Little, drove his 1972 station wagon along the sidelines and we poured bags of lime through a hole in the floor of his car onto the field. The lines weren't terribly straight, but nobody complained.

Spring Rugby tour was always an adventure, with Rob Reading's "Love Den" a brown van with few windows and brown shag carpeting, leading the caravan"


It is also around this time that Kenyon Rugby's oldest tradition was started. The 8 man lift

The Women's Founding

Info courtesy of Jan Richardson '85


The team was formed in the fall of 1981. They would play Denison, Wooster and the brutal Dayton City Blues, a women's club team a massive mean team.


They were coached by some of the guys from the men's team through the years- Mark Loomis, Art Bond, Peter  Driscoll, Bob Mullarky, Jack Coldarchi, and Dave Mosey come to mind. As in today they practiced, played and partied hard. Most memorable was when the post game party at Old Kenyon  that ran concurrently with DKE parent weekend reception. They won some and lost some but always had solid teams and some great athletes, playing fall and spring.

As the teams ebbed and flowed, Kenyon saw the women rise to dominance in the early and middle 2000's, routinely crushing opposing teams and fielding large teams.  In their success, they helped their struggling rugby brothers as best they could, sowing the seeds of the rebirth for the men.

Yauncey and Juanita Newman

Here is an interesting story about two Kenyon employees who played a large role in many ruggers' lives between 1986 and the mid 90's. Thanks to Greg Von Freyman, Jack Fisher, George Cook, and Jeremy Borell for digging up info for me. A special thanks to Juanita Newman for taking the time to share.

Yauncey and Juanita Newman were employees of Kenyon. He was a Navy vet working in Maintenance and she was an admin assistant in the Dean of Students office. Being in the Dean's office she saw students quite often and two rugger ladies who were in all the time invited her to a game in 1986. She and Yauncey had a soft spot for clubs because they felt like they were treated like black sheep of the College. They formed a bond with the girls and would go to games as often as they could, becoming the de facto rugby parents of the women's and then men's teams. They would attend the socials and keep an eye on everyone, making sure to keep keys and an eye out for security. Juanita would even bring food for every game because "if they were going to do all that drinking, they needed food!"

As their connection to the clubs developed, it also expanded to other students. Juanita and Yauncey never had kids, nor wanted them. "never spent a day babysitting in my life, they look like they'd break or something." They were drawn to the students in a way many people didn't understand. When asked by their family and College officials why they were spending money and time on it and what's in it for them? "Well for one thing, we learned a lot from them."

At the end of each season, they would have a pig roast with various mishaps and adventures. Then each Christmas they would have an open house for the students. One time she baked a 144 dozen batches of cookies for them. They would party and make homemade ice cream all afternoon. If anyone had too much fun, "well they had to camp out on the floor." 

This would go on for years. Yauncey and Juanita would go on road trips with them, bringing cookies and food to fuel the teams. They would host a brunch for the seniors during senior week and Yauncey would present a custom metal puzzle to each one. Yauncey loved puzzles and the Kenyon students took it as a challenge to find new ones he may never have seen. Juanita has kept them all in his memory and will be passing them onto one of the students from the 90's since they are devilishly hard and she wanted to make sure they got into the right hands.

Yauncey fell into ill health in the late 90's and they receded from their roles with the team to deal with it. He would pass away in September of 2011. After meeting with Juanita, she is looking forward to coming down to games this fall and seeing the ladies play again.

                                                                                                                                                 



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