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Life Names Payne Dir. of Rugby

Monday May 18, 2009 in Elite Level Rugby Rugby Super League

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(Ed Hagerty photo.)

May 18, 2009 – USA Rugby director of competitions Dan Payne will be leaving that post to take up a position as Director of Rugby at Life University.

Payne will be a full-time salaried employee of the Marietta, Ga.-based chiropractic college, marking a first for the longtime Life rugby program.

Current Director of Rugby Scott Lawrence will continue supporting the program, but as a sort of general manager providing development support and alumni liaison support. Payne will continue in his position as an assistant coach with the USA men’s national team, but will step down as head coach of San Diego State.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Payne told ERugbyNews. “I love to coach and this will be a chance for me to work with developing Life’s undergraduate side and also continue with a successful club program. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Lawrence said when he joined the Life program his job was, in part, to set up a situation whereby the Director of Rugby job would be a full-time, on-campus position. Lawrence himself knew he would not fulfill that role, saying family obligations and the job of supporting the team administratively meant someone else should be Director of Rugby.

“It is a full-time job on its own,” Lawrence said. “Dan is a recent national team player who knows the modern game, and his experience in undergraduate college rugby is something I don’t have.”

Life plans to field an undergraduate team in full collegiate competition in 2011, and will run out an all-undergrad team on occasions next season.

“I’ve met with the Life administration and they are really committed to supporting rugby as part of the school,” said Payne. “Life has a rich heritage of rugby, and the idea of helping build a program is very appealing to me.”

Payne said the San Diego State players will have to pick a new head coach, but he puts his 100 percent support behind assistant Matt Sherman. He is phasing out of his work with USA Rugby, but was already doing that in some ways since he will be assembling with the USA team starting this coming weekend – meaning he had to delegate much of his competitions work to others anyway.

As for Life, Lawrence said this is a big moment.

“This is a bold step for Life University, and I think we got the right guy,” he said.

- Alex Goff © www.erugbynews.com

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