UMass Rugby Founder Passes Away

D1A Rugby: UMass Rugby Founder Passes Away
Photo Credit: University of Massachusetts Amherst
With the recent passing of Dr. Robert Laurence, USA Rugby wishes to express its condolences to his family and pay respect to a man who embodied American rugby. “Doc”, as he was affectionately known, left a lasting impact on the landscape of rugby within the Northeast. He was the founder of UMass Rugby Club in 1968, serving as a coach, mentor, and advisor with UMass for 33 years.

Laurence, a chemical engineer by trade, was heavily involved with college rugby throughout his life. Rich Cortez, director of College Rugby at USA Rugby, described “Doc” as a “pioneer”. He was on the first collegiate committee with US Rugby and also was involved heavily with the “Collegiate All-Stars” program, often hosting the event at UMass – Amherst. He also served as coach to Colby College for a decade.

College was not the only capacity Laurence left his mark on, he was also heavily involved with the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU). In his time with NERFU, he served as its director, its Collegiate Director, and as its secretary.

His mission was to instill a love of the game with those that were placed under his wing and to see the maturing of collegiate player, on and off the field.

Cortex concluded, “He will be sorely missed by those who had the pleasure of interacting with him.”