Brian Silkwood began his rugby career at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in 1997 and was selected for the All Southeastern Conference Team twice. After graduating with a degree in finance and economics in 2001, he went on to play for the Knoxville Possums Men’s team. During his time with the Knoxville team, he was part of the founding group that brought high school rugby to the Knoxville area. In 2004 a job offer brought him to Nashville, Tennessee where he had a short stint with the Nashville men’s team until an injury sidelined him. He took some time away from rugby to focus on his career and raising his two young boys with his wife, Vanessa.
In 2011, Brian, along with 5 others, founded the Sumner Rugby Football Club that focuses on growing the game of rugby among the youth of Sumner County. Sumner RFC soon realized that in the Southeast, with the dominant outdoor sports being football and soccer, getting access to fields for practice and games was not an easy task. This obstacle ignited the dream of having a proper rugby pitch to call their own. Through a public-private partnership with the City of Hendersonville, a suburb of Nashville, Brian spearheaded the Sumner RFC effort to improve a 13-acre parcel of undeveloped, city-owned land.
Primarily through sponsorships and donations Sumner RFC was able to raise nearly $300,000 to turn city-owned, undesignated greenspace into 2 full-sized, international rugby pitches each with full 72-meter width and 22-meter try zones. The new facility, now named The Hendersonville Rugby Complex, includes a parking lot, Bermuda sports turf grass, a well to irrigate the fields, an irrigation system, and electrical infrastructure for the irrigation system as well as planned future phases at the park. After a year of improvements, the Sumner Rugby Club cut the ribbon on the new complex in October 2020. It is now the new, permanent home for Sumner RFC and has hosted Rookie Rugby players as young as seven all the way to men and women’s teams from around the country. The Hendersonville Rugby Complex with its two full size regulation rugby pitches has quickly become a destination for rugby matches and tournaments for teams throughout the entire Southeast.
While Brian considers his rugby “field of dreams” his crowning achievement in the world of rugby, he continues to be the Head Coach of Sumner RFC and also coaches with the Panther Rugby Academy, previously known as USA South, under Mark Williams. Brian has rugby in his veins, but what he enjoys the most is seeing the achievements of young men and women he has coached over the years. Away from rugby, Brian works as Vice President of Investments at UBS Financial Services in Nashville.