Schuylkill River Announces Coaching Staff for 2018-19 15s Season!

Posted by Schuylkill River RFC on Aug 09 2018 at 09:58AM PDT

Schuylkill River Rugby has put together an incredible coaching staff for the 2018-19 season. This staff brings an incredible diversity of experience and features individuals who have succeeded as both players and coaches at every level within club rugby. If you want to get better as a player and reach your highest level this is the coaching staff to get you there!

Head Coach Michael “Beaver” Burch: Coach Burch began his playing career in 1999 with Drexel University where he was named to both EPRU and MARFU All Star teams. His playing career continued with Schuylkill River from 2003-2011 where he was Club Captain for 4 seasons and qualified for Nationals in 7s twice, including a National 2nd place finish in 2011, and for 15s in 2006. Coach Burch was also named to Schuylkill River’s All-Time 10 Year Anniversary Team.

Coach Burch has served as Drexel’s Head Coach in both 15s and 7s from September of 2011 to the present while also serving as a Schuylkill River Assistant 7s Coach from 2012-2016, Associate Head 7s Coach in 2017 and Head 7s Coach in 2018. At Drexel his teams have participated in USA Rugby Collegiate Championships as well as the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) sponsored by Penn Mutual.

As a coach in Schuylkill River’s 7s program Coach Burch has participated in Nationals 6 times and has won 4 MAC Championships. He also played a key role in establishing Schuylkill’s U-23 Academy program which won the MAC Open Division in 2016 and 2017 and came in second place in 2018.

Backs Coach John Grasso: Coach Grasso started his playing career at Binghamton University in 2003 where he also served as Captain and Player-Coach. While at Binghamton he played for the Northeast 7s All-Star Team and in 2007 he was a USA Eagles Camp participant. He also toured Paraguay in 2007 with the Atlantis 7s Select Side. During his college career he also played 7s in the summer for Long Island where he was the Captain for 2 seasons.

After graduation Coach Grasso joined Long Island full-time from 2007-2009 and finished top 12 in the Nation twice before moving in to the Norfolk Blues where he played until 2012 finishing top 8 in the Nation in 2011 and top 12 in 2012.

Coach Grasso brings an incredible variety of coaching experience to our Club which should enable him to develop the skills of any player in our program. As a 7s coach he has worked with the Norfolk Storm (2012), Norfolk Blues (2013), Baltimore-Chesapeake (2015-16), The Stars Rugby touring side on three tours from 2017-2018, and Beltway Elite from 2017 to the present. Coach Grasso is actually the Founder and Head Coach of Beltway Elite who have won the MAC and qualified for Nationals in both years of their existence. Furthermore, Beltway also won the Elite New York 7s Tournament in 2017.

As a 15s coach he has worked with Ithaca College (2007), William & Mary College (2010), Virginia Women Collegiate All-Stars (2010-2011), Norfolk Blues (2012-2013), Baltimore-Chesapeake (2014-2017), D.C. Furies (2016) and the Capital Selects from 2015 to the present.

Coach Grasso has won championships and coached select/all-star sides at every level and we are beyond excited to have him join our program.

Backs Coach Jamie Williams: Coach Williams grew up playing rugby in England and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our club. Coach Williams’ playing career went from 1988-2015 with stops at Bristol Grammar School, Chew Valley RFC, Nottingham University, Clifton RFC, Baltimore-Chesapeake RFC, and Schuylkill River.

Coach Williams began his coaching career in 2015 and has coached Baltimore-Chesapeake as well as the Beltway Elite 7s program. As another former Schuylkill player rejoining the Club on the coaching staff Coach Williams knows what our Club is all about and is ready to help us get the job done!

Forwards Jack Bukowski: Coach Bukowski started playing in 1980 as a member of the Air Force following the conclusion of his boxing career. Due to the travel associated with his military career he ended up playing for El Paso, Albuquerque, Denver, Holloman AFB, The Air Force Selects, and the Combined Services team. Once he moved back East the majority of his play was with the Wilkes-Barre Breakers as well as some time with Morris.

Coach Bukowski has always taken his personal improvement as a coach very seriously and attended his first coaching seminar in 1989. It was a 5 day course sponsored by Weetabix featuring a group of English coaches and internationals. Coach Bukowski is currently Level 300 USA Rugby Certified and World Rugby 2 certified and has attended coaching seminars with the Reds, Brumbies, Premiership, Mike Cron & Wayne Smith (All Black coaches, scrummaging and attack respectively). He also remains in contact with Nick Leah formerly with the Brumbies and currently Australia’s Coaching Director. Coach Bukowski credits Josh Smith of Mystic River for helping him the most and being his mentor.

Coach Bukowski’s coaching stops have included Wilkes-Barre, Lock Haven, Bloomsburg, Drexel, and the MARC All-Stars. Coach Bukowski had the opportunity to coach one of his sons with Wilkes-Barre and now with Schuylkill River he’ll have an opportunity to coach another. We couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to learn from such a well-respected coaching mind.

Skills and Fitness Coach Josh Mastromatto: Coach Mastromatto came to the game of rugby after he enjoyed a tremendous football career for Kutztown University where he totaled approximately 5000 all-purpose yards in his career and scored 38 touchdowns. The team went 28-5 over his final 3 seasons after going 3-7 his freshman year and this was in large part due to his performance as a 3 time All-Conference running back and All-American all-purpose player. Coach Mastromatto has been named to Kutztown Football’s All-Decade team and has been inducted into the Kutztown University All-Time Team.

From there Coach Mastromatto embarked on a professional football career and ended up playing arena football for the Erie Explosion. After retiring from football Coach Mastromatto gave rugby a try and got his start with the Philadelphia Fight as a rugby league player before deciding to give rugby union a go by becoming a resident with the Tiger Academy in North Carolina. He played in the famous Serevi Town 7s tournament with both Tiger as well as Atlantis and for 15s he played with Southern Pines who earned a trip to the D3 National Semi-Finals.

He then moved back to Philadelphia and joined Schuylkill River where he was the MVP of Schuylkill’s 7s program in 2017 and earned a trip to Nationals with the Club. As a fun fact, Josh almost ended up on the Philadelphia 76ers dunk team as well.


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