Jay Hanson was introduced to the sport of Rugby in 1972 in Ft. Worth, Texas while he was attending Texas Christian University. He played on the Ft Worth Rugby Club men’s team through 1974 and played in his first Rep Side game for the Dallas Area Rugby Team DARTS vs the HARTS, Houston Area Rugby Team before returning to the Washington DC metro area where he was born and raised in Bethesda, Maryland. Jay has been involved with American Rugby for nearly 60 years and was one of the original Eagles being selected to the USA Eagles squad in March of 1976 for the international game vs France held in Chicago.
Leaving Texas in 1974, Jay played for Montgomery Rugby Club, located in the Maryland suburbs outside Washington DC, and then Washington Rugby Club in the fall of 1975. He was selected to represent the Eastern Rugby Union as a flanker forward at the first USA Eagles trials held in Long Beach, CA in January of 1976. In March of 1976, Jay played as a flanker on the ERU Select side vs France in a closely contested match played in Falls Church, VA. The ERU Select side led a full French international team by 6 to 0 at the half and lost in the final minutes of the second half 6 to 12. Jay was selected as reserve hooker to the USA Eagles for their test match against France in March of 1976 which was played in Chicago.
Jay moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 1976 and joined the San Francisco Rugby Club and played in the most competitive rugby union in the USA at the time playing on a regular basis versus the Old Blues from Berkeley, the BATS in San Francisco and the Seahawks in San Jose. In 1977 Jay was selected to join the Pacific Coast Grizzlies and participate in the first USA Inter Territorial Tournament held in Greeley, Colorado and was selected to the USA Eagles team to play their first international vs Canada outside of Vancouver and then travel to England for the first USA Eagles overseas tour. Jay played in the final test match against an English XV held at Twickenham in October of 1977.
Jay played for the USA Eagles for nine years and was the only player to tour with the Eagles on their first three international tours overseas. England in 1977, Australia in 1983, and Japan in 1985. He also played in New Zealand in 1980 in Christchurch for Merivale Papanui in the first division of the Canterbury competition and returned to the USA Eagles and the Pacific coast Grizzlies squads for domestic matches vs New Zealand All Blacks in 1980, Wales in 1982, and England in 1983. In 1985, after the completion of the USA Eagles tour to Japan, Jay retired from International Rugby and focused on his local rugby club and his growing family. Jay helped develop high school rugby in the San Francisco Bay Area and coached a Mission High team as well as participating in clinics and regional training sessions. Jay also co-coached the Pacific Coast Grizzlies rep side and coached the San Francisco Rugby Club.
Jay carried on his coaching endeavors after he moved his family to the Sacramento region and helped create a youth Rugby club in the Sierra Foothills and helped coach a Rugby team at Sierra College and later American River College. He was inducted into the US Rugby Foundation Hall of Fame in 2014 and joined the Board of Governors of the Rugby Foundation in 2015.
Jay created Sierra Marketing Associates Inc in 1994 as a professional independent sales representative firm focused on the Hearth, Barbeque and Fireplace Industry and continues to operate SMA Inc. today. His first foray into professional sales started in 1976 with his move to San Francisco when he was hired by Colin Carr to work with Lane Walker Rudkin LTD doing business as Canterbury of New Zealand in their North American office located in South San Francisco. Canterbury of New Zealand is an international brand and they manufactured Rugby apparel for rugby teams in New Zealand and Australia and Jay assisted Colin Carr to expand the brand into prominence in the USA and Canada region and leveraging the brand’s identity into the men’s active sportswear market.
In 1980 after his return from New Zealand Jay spearheaded his own rugby supply business, Grizzly Sports Supply, and operated it through 1985 eventually changing focus and switching industries over to Hearth, Barbeque, and Fireplaces. Jay helped to build businesses at the retail and wholesale distribution level and eventually created his own business in 1994 as an independent manufacturers sales representative where he has assisted a number of different manufactures with regional sales in California and Nevada and provided insight into market trends and product development. Today, Jay continues as the CEO of Sierra Marketing
Associates Inc and has served on the board of directors of both the regional and national Hearth, Patio, Barbeque Association trade organizations. His business web site is www.sierramarketing.net and he is serving another term as president of his regional trade association, HPBA Pacific. He received the “Keeper Of The Flame” award from the HPBA Pacific trade group in 2001 and has received the 2020 national sales agent award from Kozy Heat Fireplaces based in Lakefield, Minnesota.