San Diego, CA (April 5, 2017) – The United States Rugby Foundation has announced that the 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will take place in San Diego on Friday, June 30, the day before the U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Canada in the second of the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying matches. Details on the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Induction Dinner are still pending but an announcement on the venue and time is expected soon.
The Class of 2017 was announced earlier this week. This year’s U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame inductees are:
Steve Finkel Dave Hodges
Dr. Lyle Micheli Tim O’Brien
Candi Orsini Jim Russell
Ed Schram Sr. Tommy Smith
Jay Waldron 1991 USA Womens RWC Team
1991 U.S. Women’s Rugby World Cup Team – For the women of the 1991 USA Women Eagles team, the road to the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup was less than ideal. However, it was their passion for the game and national pride that led them to become the only U.S. Rugby team in history to win a World Cup. On April 13, 1991, the Eagles had shocked the world and faced England in the first ever Women’s Rugby World Cup Final at Cardiff Arms Park. A dominant performance by the Eagles etched them in the record books with a 19-6 win. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee, the 1991 U.S. Women’s Rugby World Cup Team.
Steve Finkel played his first rugby game at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1972. In the 1980s, he appeared in multiple international matches and tournaments, including the inaugural Hong Kong 7s Tournament and was capped 23 times in international 7s matches for the Eagles. As an Eagles 15s member, he was capped six times and was a member of the first Rugby World Cup team in 1987. After his retirement from international play, Finkel embarked on a new phase of his rugby career – coaching. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Steve Finkel.
Dave Hodges first encountered the game of rugby as he watched the Belmont Shore Rugby Club practice and play on the same field as his junior high school football team. While at Occidental College, Hodges was a two-time, dual All-American in rugby and football. From 1996-2004, Hodges played for the USA Eagles and became one of the most-capped Eagles in history, earning 53 international caps in the backrow during an eight-year career. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Dave Hodges.
Dr. Lyle Micheli was an undergraduate at Harvard University when he was encouraged by his football coach to participate in lacrosse or rugby to stay in shape during the off-season, and the rest, as they say, is history. Upon graduating from Harvard Medical School, Micheli continued to play prop for multiple clubs. Off the rugby pitch, Micheli has remained active in the rugby community, serving on the Board of Directors for the United States Rugby Foundation for over 30 years and Chairman of the USA Rugby Medical and Risk Management Committee. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Lyle Micheli.
Tim O’Brien began his rugby career in 1975 when he was 16 years old and he has been passionately involved in the sport ever since. He helped lead Cal and the Old Blues to National Championship titles and represented the U.S. at 7s and 15s. O’Brien has also had great success as a coach. Over the past 16 years, masterfully building one of the perennial collegiate powerhouses at Saint Mary’s College of California. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Tim O’Brien.
Candi Orsini began her rugby career with the Florida State University Women’s Rugby Football Club in 1975 and helped lead the team to 13 finals appearances and four national championships during a 23-year span. In 1990, she was selected to the “President’s XV” at the World Rugby Festival and for the All-World Team. The following year she represented the victorious U.S. Women’s Rugby Eagles at the inaugural 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Candi continued her notable rugby career as a coach beginning in 1999. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Candi Orsini.
Jim Russell began his rugby career in the fall of 1965 at Leighton Park School, in Reading, Berkshire, England. In the 1970s, Russell hit the rugby scene in Denver, Colorado for the Denver Barbarians while attending the University of Denver Law School. Jim continued to give back to the sport after his playing career ended by becoming a well-respected referee within the rugby community. Most notably, Russell continues to serve as the World Rugby/IRB Judicial Officer and Appeal Officer. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Jim Russell.
Ed Schram Sr. was first introduced to the sport of rugby in 1966 at the Harvard Business School. Upon graduation, Schram and his family moved back to their home state of Iowa and joined a newly formed Des Moines RFC. As president of the DMRFC in 1980, Schram purchased a small farmstead in West Des Moines and set out to build a rugby facility. In 1988, Ed was named the U.S. National Team Manager and over the course of the next five years, was Manager for the Eagles in 33 test matches, including those which took place at the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Ed Schram Sr.
Tommy Smithis one of America’s greatest ever 7s players. He started his notable rugby career with the Washington RFC in 1974. In 1997, Smith became the only Northern Hemisphere player to be selected to the All-Time, All-World Team in the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong 7s. He is still the only American player to ever win the prestigious Best and Fairest Award at the Hong Kong Sevens, which he won in 1986. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Tommy Smith.
Jay Waldron rugby career spans nearly five decades and across both coasts of the United States. Jay had coaching stints for Portland RFC, Pacific Northwest Representative Side, and Junior and Senior Pacific Coast Grizzlies Sides. His administrative and leadership positions includes a spot on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Rugby Union, Chair of the Pacific Coast Coaching Committee and for the past 30 years as a Director/Trustee of the U.S. Rugby Foundation. Read more about 2017 U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee Jay Waldron.
Congratulations to the 10 members of the Class of 2017 who are joining the 46 who have already been inducted into the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame. The members of the Class of 2017 were elected by the USRF Board of Trustees after receiving a record number of nominations. Like the six classes of inductees previously inducted, the Class of 2017 is comprised of a team and individuals who have made a lasting mark on United States rugby. Nominees not selected will be re-submitted to selection committee next year.
The U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame and its Foundation is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of U.S. Rugby; supporting the development of the game by funding programs for youth, high school and collegiate rugby; and individual player development programs.