NU Rugby History

Here is another picture of both the NU Men’s Rugby team, who while attending Niagara University are Purple Eagles, and the NURFC Alumni, who after graduation are referred to as “Dead Pheasants.”

NU rugby became a club that played began its rugby program in the Fall of 1976. In the early years, we played against every rugby team we could schedule a game with. Starting with established adult men’s clubs in Canada, like the Niagara Wasps, continuing with men’s clubs in NY, like the Buffalo Old Boys, Rochester Aardvarks, Syracuse Chargers, & Lockport RFC, then with other college teams from Buff State to St Bona to Syracuse University.We hosted an annual Fall tournament, and won a couple of them, playing anyone and everyone we could.

In the Spring we would travel to New Orleans for rugby tournaments at Tulane
University during Mardi Gras, we did this from 1977-1982, squaring of with Oklahoma, Life, etc.In the Fall of 82, the team went 5-1, but we could never get wins in the NY Upstates, that would take a few years.With coaches coming and going, lack of experienced players, and losing records, NU Rugby’s early years had some growing pains.By the early 90’s getting the school & NY State Rugby Union the requisite team commitments was a challenge, but the team leaders and players back then persevered. While still having a losing record, the NURFC Men’s team showed
up for all its matches, played good rugby, and represented NU very well.By the Fall of 1996, the team went 4-2, and made its first NY State playoff appearance, and was well on its way to being the club we know it to be today.

With NURFC Alumni numbers swelling, by 2000 we had raised enough money to purchase/install actual rugby goal posts that are still in use today.In 2003 we got our first real committed coach, Ernie Scales from the Lockport RFC, who helped lead NURFC Men’s to 4 straight West DIII titles, 1 NY State Championship (2004), 4 straight DIII undefeated regular seasons (2004-2007) with playoff appearances in all 4 seasons and playing in 3 NY State title games. In the Spring of 2008, NURFC moved up to DII, and played in the NY Upstates and won all its matches and was the Upstates DII Champion, we also had NURFC Men make the NYState all star teams in every year (2004-present,) with one, Rob Jochen, making the US National All Star team.Playing in DII ever since, the team was 5-1-1 (Fall of 2011,) making a playoff appearance, and 5-0 (Fall of 2012,) playing in the NYState playoffs both seasons and are now coached by Gene Adams of Lockport RFC, NU is currently in the top 20 overall National Ranking in DII collegiate rugby.NURFC growing pains are now over, but our growth has matured to rugby at Niagara on a national scale, with perennial all star players, and no limits to how great these guys came become.

I can not emphasize enough, how important our donations to NURFC Alumni are!The evidence is clear with how good the team has become overall, so please continue to give.
Here is where to send your donations, and make payable to:

NURFC Alumni
103 Garden Drive
Fairport, NY 14450

Graciously/Fondly yours,
David “Animal” Erias, 1982,
NURFC Alumni President,

In addition to scholarships, the alumni association has assisted with purchasing permanent goal posts and ensuring that rugby stay on Niagara’s campus with the full size grass rugby pitch in the middle of Niagara’s campus that is currently used by the team, purchasing new uniforms, a state of the art scrum machine, alleviated travel expenses, and annually fundraise to ensure the program can always travel to, and compete with elite competition to continuously elevate the program.