After an extensive coaching search and interviewing several qualified candidates Baylor Rugby has chosen Ron VanAmburgh to lead the Bears this season as they look to win their third straight Division title and second Conference championship in three years. Coach VanAmburgh has a lot of familiarity with Baylor having been on staff under former Head Coach Mason Hering since 2016. Hering, now Director of Rugby at Baylor, said “Ron brings a lot of experience not only within our system but as a player and coach throughout his impressive rugby career. He’s has really been an important part of our success over the past few seasons. I’m excited to hand him the reigns and see him grow and lead as the head coach.”
Coach Ron started out his rugby career as a player (scrumhalf) for Arizona from 2009-12 under the late Dave Sitton. Ron started his coaching career as an assistant with Desert Vista High School in 2014. Ron also had a stint as a player and part time coach for Phoenix Rugby club in 2015 before moving to Waco and coaching at Baylor.
Coach VanAmburgh said “I’m excited to build on the foundation and winning culture that has been laid here at Baylor these past few years. I want to continue to mold exemplary men on and off the field. We feel like another conference championship is in reach and we are working hard to deliver it after a disappointing loss last year in the championship to Texas A&M.”
The coaching staff rounds out with second year assistant Brendon Kozman returning to work with the backs and newcomers Marcus Appleyard and Peter “PJ” Jimenez, both former Baylor Rugby players, are ready to lead the development squad for this season. VanAmburgh and staff will also welcome a few guest coaches throughout the year to provide expertise in set piece execution, mental skills, and video analysis.
The Bears kickoff the year with a warmup tournament with the teams from the Lonestar Conference September 15th in Austin. The following Friday Baylor will host TCU in the first home game of the season. Conference play kicks off with a home match against Texas Tech on October 6th. Another key date to circle is the Red River Collegiate Conference Championship which is February 23rd in Austin. Baylor will have to continue their strong play from seasons past if they plan to make their third consecutive championship. Coach Ron added “Winning the conference championship is our ultimate goal for the season. Anything less will be a failure. We have the players, the coaches, and the systems in place to have a shot but we have to execute well in order to give ourselves a chance at the championship.”