Joe Walsh - Director Emeritus
Joe Walsh's introduction to rugby came in 1949 when he was a sophomore at MIT. MIT was forming their first rugby team, and Joe's roommate, who had gone to a practice, came back to the room -- “Joe! This rugby game is great! You've got to try it!” Joe did try it, he found it was even better than great, and he still thinks so. Joe's position in those early years is best described as “utility”, meaning he could play poorly at any position on the field. This changed during the MIT club's first tour to Bermuda, when the hooker succumbed to an injury common to many redheaded, fair-skinned Scots visitors: Sunburn. Walsh took over the position for the second game, it was a trial by combat, but he had found a home
Walsh's introduction to rugby politics came while he was at MIT. There had been an Eastern Rugby Union before WW II, and Ed Lee re-established the union when he invited all the teams in eastern USA to a meeting in New York in the mid '50's. Every team except one responded, making a total of four at the meeting. Only one non-college team, New York RFC, had been formed at the time; the other attendees were MIT and two Ivy League schools. Walsh was the MIT delegate.
Boston R.F.C. started in 1960, about the time that Walsh was no longer a student and was looking for a club. Fritz Grunebaum was elected President, and Joe was pleased not to be part of the club politics. This changed abruptly a couple of years later when Fritz invited the British Combined Services to Boston and planned a weekend tournament around the event. The Boston Club was broke, and it couldn't organize 15 1st team players consistently. The event was madness, and Walsh ran for Secretary to stop it. He couldn't stop it, the tour was a smashing success, and Walsh became Grunebaum 's supporter, rather than nemesis.
Grunebaum became politically active in rugby and Walsh found himself on occasion holding various offices in various east coast unions (talk about empty corridors of power!). The only job that counted came when Grunebaum organized a foundation to support aspects of rugby not handled by the unions. Walsh took the job of Trustee and Executive, 'executive' being whatever office needed filling. His major accomplishment was convincing Dave Koch to donate $10,000 to the fund. The name was changed to the U.S. Rugby Foundation, and here we are.