Phaidra Knight is a jack of all trades: a trailblazing rugby player, sports media talent, lawyer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mixed martial artist. Her versatility on and off the field is what makes her a beacon for American rugby.
Knight, a native of Irwinton, Georgia, grew up playing basketball and tennis for Wilkinson County High. She attended college at Alabama State University, followed by law school at the University of Wisconsin. While in law school, Phaidra was introduced to rugby and played for the Wisconsin Women Rugby Club. Her level of play was quickly recognized, and she was named to the Midwest All-Stars 15s and 7s teams from 1997-2002.
After a move to the East Coast, Phaidra played for the New York Rugby Club for over 15 years, serving as captain on multiple occasions and winning national championship titles with the team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. She also appeared on the pitch for Old Blue New York and the Northeast All-Stars, earning various MVP honors.
Her raw talent and natural athleticism led her to skyrocket to an elite level of play early on in her rugby career. Knight cemented her presence as one of the premier players in the sport appearing for the USA Eagles 15s and 7s teams over the course of 18 years. Playing for the Eagles 15s on over 10 tours, she earned 35 caps and started in three World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Her level of play brought her many accolades, including being named to the World 15s Team in both 2003 and 2006, recognition as the USA Player of the Decade in 2010, and an induction into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2017. From 2006 to 2009, Knight appeared on the pitch for the Eagles 7s, appearing in five tours and earning nine caps.
On the sidelines, Phaidra has served in numerous roles from coach to broadcaster. She served as the strength and conditioning coach for Columbia University Women’s Rugby from 2007 to 2010, forwards coach for Princeton University Women’s Rugby from 2013-2016, coach and mentor for Play Rugby USA from 2008 to 2012, assistant coach for the Community Development Olympic Program from 2016-2017, and most recently as head coach for the Monroe College Women’s Rugby Team from 2016-2018. She has established a notable media resume working as a broadcaster for ESPN, NBC, CBS Sports, and Flo Sports.
While her rugby playing days may be over, Phaidra has remained active in the rugby community and has pursued various entrepreneurial endeavors in addition to taking on the sport of MMA. In 2019, she founded PeaK Unleashed Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the personal and physical development of marginalized youth through rugby and yoga. In the midst of the 2020 pandemic, she launched the PSK Collective, a global clothing brand rooted in supporting social justice causes.
She has served on the USA Rugby Board of Directors. In addition to serving on their Board of Trustees, she is the current President of the Women’s Sports Foundation.