Magleby tapped to lead U.S. team
By Rahul Raina, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, March 30, 2012
For several years now, the Dartmouth men’s rugby squad has been one of the most successful teams at the College. Dartmouth has garnered the reputation of a powerhouse in collegiate rugby circles, and rightly so — the team has won eight Ivy League championships since 2001, including the last five years straight. Last spring the Dartmouth sevens side won the 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship, defeating the United States Military Academy at West Point in the final match.
While the players and personnel associated with each of Dartmouth’s championship seasons have changed, there has been one constant over the past 11 years — head coach Alexander Magleby ’00. On March 2, Magleby was named head coach of USA Rugby’s national sevens team, known as the Eagle Sevens.
After graduating from Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from the Thayer School of Engineering, Magleby began coaching at Dartmouth in 2001. Outside of his successes at Dartmouth, Magleby served as the U.S. Collegiate All-American 15s head coach for three years and was recently appointed the head coach of the U.S. Collegiate All-American sevens side.
Magleby also enjoyed a successful playing career after he graduated from Dartmouth. Magleby started for the Eagle Sevens side from the spring of 2000 until 2005 and captained the team during the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens. Magleby attained four test match caps as a member of the U.S. Eagles 15s squad, the highest level of international rugby.
“I’m fortunate to coach some very bright and hard-working student-athletes at Dartmouth,” Magleby, who is currently in Japan, said in an email to The Dartmouth. “You are not going to pull the wool over their eyes very easily. That’s a great environment to practice the coaching craft and to be tested.”
When asked how his experience coaching Dartmouth rugby has prepared him to coach the U.S. squad, Magleby explained that he has learned a lot from coaching so many intelligent players.
“Dartmouth is typically a team that is smaller and less experienced than the opposition,” he said. “That’s similar to the U.S. national team at this stage, as they are playing against some of the rugby-first nations like New Zealand, South Africa and Wales.”
Being around rugby for so many years, Magleby has learned that the most important thing for players at any level is to “enjoy the experience”.
“Get the little things done and don’t let sport bleed into other parts of your life — like most things, put it in its bucket,” Magleby said. “There is a time and place for most things — the trick is figuring out when and where.”
Magleby’s philosophy on rugby and life has earned him the respect of his players at Dartmouth.
“Playing for Coach Magleby has been a pleasure,” captain Paul Jarvis ’12 said in an email to The Dartmouth. “I have learned a huge amount from him about rugby, Dartmouth and strategies for being successful on and off the field. Coach Magleby really makes Dartmouth rugby feel like a family. We have a very diverse squad, and he does an excellent job of making everyone feel welcome.”
As his own role in U.S. rugby increases with his appointment to coach the sevens side, Magleby is optimistic about the future and growth of the sport in the U.S.
“The game is growing so fast in this country” Magleby said. “It’s the world’s contact game, is inexpensive to play, is safer than most other contact sports and allows each player to have decision-making control. The latter is extremely powerful and I believe fits in very well to the American sports psyche.”
Jarvis said that the national team will be in good hands with Magleby at the helm.
“Coach Magleby’s appointment as head coach of the U.S. team is a huge tribute to both his accomplishments and the successes of Dartmouth rugby,” Jarvis said. “Everyone involved with the program is extremely proud of him and confident that the U.S. team will flourish under his leadership.”
Whatever the future may bring for Dartmouth rugby and for the sport in the U.S., it is certain that Magleby will play a major role in shaping the youth of U.S. rugby in coming years.
Dartmouth opens its spring season in the Ivy Championship semi-finals on April 14.