University of Northern Colorado Rugby Football Club

UNC Rugby was established in 1969, and hosted the national championship in 1982. UNCRFC belongs to the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union, the West Rugby Football Union and USA Rugby, Division II.

Full nameUniversity of Northern Colorado Rugby Football Club
LocationGreeley, Colorado, U.S.
Ground(s)Butler Hancock
Coach(es)Mark Smith
League(s)Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union
Official website


2004/2005: Division 2 Champions

Season Synopsis


1982: Hosted National Championships


1999: 3rd place in Division 2

2000: 3rd place in Division 2

2002/2003: Division 2 Runner up

2003/2004: 5th place in Division 2

After finishing 2nd in the nation in 2003, UNC had a rebuilding year of sorts in 2004. Coach Kyle Ryan took the head strength and conditioning coach at UNC and that position left him no time to coach rugby. No replacement was found, thus UNCRFC was left without a permanent head coach. The fall went according to plan, going undefeated and winning the ERRFU Division II title for the 3rd straight year. UNCRFC also took a road trip to Las Vegas for a tournament in Sin City UNCRFC went 2-1 beating Utah Valley State, Occidental College and let a lead slip away in a loss to UCLA. As he would do in the spring, University of Wyoming head coach, Rich Cortez, graciously accompanied the club and filled in as head coach.

The spring saw a drop in numbers, but also some new players. For the weekend of April 2 and 3, UNCRFC drove to Dallas, Texas for the 2004 West Rugby Football Union collegiate championships. UNC's pool contained the University of Missouri and Baylor University. On Saturday, the first game of the day was versus Mizzou and UNC squeaked by 20-14. The middle game of the day saw Baylor handily beat Mizzou 39-8. The final game of the day put UNC versus Baylor and in a bit of an upset UNC handled the Baylor Bears 43-17. On Sunday morning UNC knocked off John Brown University in the final, 32-5, sending UNC to the national Elite Eights for the second straight year.[1]

Due to UNC's finish in the previous year the winner of the WRFU received the 2nd seed at Elite Eights, this year being held on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The quarterfinal put UNC up against perennial Division II power and winner of USA Rugby South, Arkansas State University. The Indians from Jonesboro were the better team on the day and handed UNC a 50-15 loss, putting UNC in the 5th place game the following day. Coming back from a 17-0 deficit UNC defeated the University of Pittsburgh 27-24 for 5th place in the nation.[2] Rich Cortez from the University of Wyoming once again accompanied UNC and volunteered his time and money to help the club which was greatly appreciated.

2004/2005: Division 2 Champions

The previous year the club finished a bit surprising 5th in the nation, but came into the 2004/2005 season still without a coach. This soon changed. Dr. Mark Smith took a position in the sports pedagogy department at UNC. Coach Smith was previously the head coach at the University of Georgia and Western Carolina University. Originally from England, Coach Smith was the missing piece to the puzzle. With a full-time head coach came a sense of legitimacy and this secured commitments from players who were on the fence. With some talented new players, and some experienced upper classmen, UNC's national title run began.

The fall began with the Jackalope tournament in Laramie, Wyoming. UNC opened up their season with a victory over Division 1 University of Colorado 17-14. They then lost to eventual Division 1 finalist University of Utah 32-6 and ended the weekend beating another Division 1 opponent University of New Mexico, 17-18.[3] UNC waded through their ERRFU league play with little trouble. The highlight of the fall was when UNC hosted Division I University of Arizona who were on a mini-tour to play UNC and then the United States Air Force Academy. UNC put up a dominant performance and beat the Wildcats 22-8. With a 4th straight ERRFU title and 3 Division I defeats under their belts, the table had been set for the spring.

The spring kicked off with a home win against Division I University of Wyoming 14-12.[4] UNC then hosted a small round robin tournament featuring the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming. UNC went 2-0 beating the University of Colorado 18-10 and Colorado State University 26-10.[5] The next couple weeks saw UNC play some local men's clubs in order to stay fit for the WRFU collegiate championships. UNC was granted the hosting responsibilities for the 2005 WRFU collegiate championships including Division I Men, Division II Men and Division I Women. UNC's first opponent were Baylor University, whom UNC defeated the previous year and would so again 23-10. The semi-final put UNC against Texas Tech University which UNC ran away with 59-7. The final put UNC against ERRFU league rival Regis University. A tight match saw UNC come away with a 35-16 victory and a 3rd straight WRFU championship and 3rd straight appearance at the national Elite Eight tournament.[6]

USA Rugby's Elite Eight tournament brings together the winners of the 7 territorial unions, plus the runner up of the host union. In 2005 the tournament was hosted by the University of California, Santa Cruz at a beautiful venue. The winner of the WRFU was given the 5th seed based on the performance of UNC the previous year. The quarter final put UNC against Southern California Rugby Football Union Champion, Point Loma University. A high scoring game saw UNC prevail 54-31. The semi-final was UNC versus Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union Champions, Georgetown University. In a very close, well played game, UNC earned a birth in the National Championship game with a 23-10 victory. Two weeks later UNC traveled to Stanford University's Stueber Rugby Field to take on Pacific Coast Rugby Football Union Champions, Humboldt State University for the 2005 National Championship. The game was played in front of 5,000 people and was televised on CSTV. After squandering a 19-0 lead, UNC came back to win 24-22 and take home the 2005 National Championship.[7][8]

2006: Division 2 runner up

2007: Fifth in Division 2

2008: Fifth in Division 2

2009: Eighth in Division 2

2010: Third at Division II Western Rugby Championships

Fall 2010 (moved up to Division I):

Alumni 46 @ UNC 38

UNC 28 @ Queen City 20

CU 48 @ UNC 22

UNC 19 @ Wyoming 18

UNC 46 @ Mines 19

UNC B 35 @ Denver U 36

New Mexico 18 @ UNC 21

UNC B 42 @ Boulder B 31

Denver 15 @ UNC 63

See also


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