2019 Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet Recap
Schuylkill River Rugby had our awards banquet at IATSE Ballroom on February 23. It was a fun evening for everyone involves and gave past and present Skill players and opportunity to swap stories, enjoy each other’s company, and hand out some awards. The MC for the evening was Advisory Committee member Carlo Sena who was assisted by the Executive Board of Dan Callahan, Dave Codell, Ryan McHugh, Ricky Schneider, and Hunter Valentine, in setting up the evening’s festivities.
The awards themselves were presented by Head Coach Mike Burch on behalf of the Coaching Staff which includes Burch, Biddy Boyle, Jack Bukowski, Jon Grasso, Josh Mastromatto, Ryan McHugh, Jamie Pearce-Williams, and Chris Ryan. Ever present in his role between the Board and Staff was Director of Rugby Pat Boyle making sure things went smoothly.
Presented below are the notes from the awards presenters as well as the Hall of Fame induction speeches given on behalf of Tommy Richards and Gerry Timothy. With their inductions they join Chris Bailey, Bill Jalbert, Michael Matotek, Jason Siddel, Brian Boyle, Chet Radecki, John McMullen, Steve Green, George Connell, Jim Hegarty, Jamie Catrambone, Terry Wendelken, John Hughes, Gary Kribbs, Len Borcky, Joe Howard, Michael Leland, Dave Wixted, and Alex Yankowsky in our Hall of Fame.
15s Award Winners
D1 Backs: Brian Keon
Brian is leading the D1 team in points scored. His leadership and composure at fly-half alleviates any pressure for the other 14 players on the pitch with him.
D1 Forwards: Brad Volm
Brad is the anchor of our pack. His tackling and pressure on defense was unmatched.
D3 Backs: Jabari Johnson
Jabari constantly pushed everyone in front of him. Jabari was not only a gifted attacker but he also made a difference with his punishing tackles. The coaches are excited to see what he has for the future.
D3 Forwards Jeff Hall
Jeff not only led our D3 in poaches but he also proved to be a leader on the pitch. His disruption at the breakdown enabled our side to be on the front foot.
Coaches: Geoff Mathis
Geoff played in various spots for us this past fall. His play on Saturday directly relates to his work during the week. With punishing runs Geoff put pressure on all opponents he faced this fall.
Players Player: Ian Glatts
Ian was chosen from his peers and the coaches could not agree more. One of the fittest players on the pitch Ian always seemed to make an impact when the team needed it.
Break Out Player: Sean Barnes
Sean came to us through South Carolina University. Sean ended up one of our main weapons in attack and even with a slight injury he led the D1 team in tries.
Sevens Award Winners:
Premier Player of the Year: Brain Keown
As captain of the team Brian led our premier side in points scored, tries, and minutes played.
U23 Player of the Year: John Hines
While captaining the side John became a vital player for our U23 team. Being an U23 vet he allowed Coach Boyle to shift players knowing John could play anywhere on the pitch.
U19 Player of the Year: Nick Merriam
The former Narberth Otter was the hardest working player on the U-19 team. Nick does everything the coaching staff asks for and we expect him to have a lot of success at Syracuse
Break Out Player: Louis Baeza
His work off the pitch directly related to his success on the pitch. With punishing runs and constant work at the breakdown he pushes opponents to their brink.
Coaches Award: Mitch Vanoy
This is Mitch’s second time winning this award. He pushes himself as well as others around him to reach their full potential.
Hall of Fame Inductions:
Bill Jalbert’s Speech on Behalf of Gerry Timothy
Spring 1998, Schuylkill River, entering its third year of existence, is joined by a new player. He played at Villanova, where in his words; he “turned a 4 year engineering program into a 5 year collegiate rugby career, with a minor in engineering.” Knowing a sucker when they saw one, Schuylkill leadership quickly sold him on the position of match secretary, thus launching his administrative rugby career. This was followed by a term as the club’s second president, succeeding founder Chris Bailey. Over the next 15 years, he would serve 2 more times as president, vice president, sit on the MARFU competition committee, serve as a referee, and play rugby.
He cites his notable administrative accomplishment as growing our collegiate tournament from a 1 day, 6 team event into a 20 team rugby weekend.
In 2013, he “retired” after 20 years of rugby. Two years later, our numbers swelled, and River put the call out to help fill out our D4 side. He answered that call, and helped lead our D4 side through a tough season. He claims that not sustaining a serious injury during the “comeback season” is probably his biggest accomplishment as a player, other than probably playing more “B” side matches than any other Exile.
We honor tonight’s recipient as a builder as he has never said “no” to this club. His continued commitment and willingness to put in the work have been a huge part of the club’s growth and success. And before I forget, I need to mention his wonderful wife, who has supported & tolerated his rugby addiction.
Ladies & gentlemen, please welcome our 2019 Schuylkill River Hall of Fame Inductee, Gerry Timothy.
Rob Greco’s Speech on Behalf of Tommy Richards:
Hello, I just want to start off tonight by letting everyone know that even though I’ve been congratulated 3 different times tonight on my HOF induction, I’m Rob Greco… not Tommy Richards. Now, maybe that should tell all of you something. Dave, I’ll take that award now. But seriously, I’m here tonight to induct, I’m only going to say this once cause it’s his night, Dr. Thomas Wynn Richards Junior, into the Troop HOF.
Yes, Tommy is a doctor, but don’t get excited. He won’t be saving anyone’s life tonight. He’s a doctor of history, so if your kids have a social studies test or you’re in college and have a paper due, he’s your guy. But, see Jill first, because she’s collecting all of the payments.
Before I talk about Tommy, I want to thank Codell for keeping the Troop legacy alive and well. I think I speak for everyone associated with Troop how much we appreciate it.
On to Tommy… he came to Troop as an 18 year old before playing for Penn with the 7s program. His 1st full season was the same as mine, the summer of 05. We were a strong team that year and all positions were hard fought and earned. Tommy was no exception.
I knew I liked Tommy when after practice I heard him telling someone that he should be worried about finding a job right now, but was more worried if he was going to start on Saturday. I really appreciate that, Rugby is a game that you live and breathe and that’s who Tommy always was no matter if we were competing for nationals or scraping 15 for a game. He approached it all the same way.
On the field, Tommy was a jack of trades in the forwards he could play any position, except for the ones that matter in the front row, and excelled everywhere. The only thing he never learned how to do was tackle. They were all high and he should still be in the sin bin for them.
I could go on about the inside jokes and road trip stories, but what matters more is the way he approached Troop off the field. I emailed people from the team to say some things about Tommy and resoundingly I heard that he treated everyone like family. No matter weddings or funerals, he was always there. That’s a real teammate!
On a personal level, Rugby was given me a lot in life. However, the best thing it’s given me is Tommy and Jill. We’re a part of each other’s family and without troop that never happens. So, it’s my honor to induct Tommy Richards into Schuylkill’s hall of fame.