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A. Jon Prusmack



Prior to his introduction to rugby, Jon Prusmack was a gifted football player. Good enough, in fact, to attend the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship from 1960 to 1962, where he also studied architecture and art. Apparently not finding this schedule demanding enough, he joined the United States Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class program, completing basic training in 1961.

Prusmack transferred to the United States Naval Academy, and was a member of the varsity football team, switching between halfback and tailback, in 1964. While at the Academy, Prusmack was Art Editor of the LOG Magazine. He resigned from the USNA in the spring of 1965 and transferred to New York University for his senior year.

At NYU, Prusmack was the MVP on the varsity football team. He graduated in 1966 with a BA in Mathematics and Art. He also completed his military obligation as a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. He went on to get his MBA from CUNY Bernard Baruch College as well as an MS in Design/Industrial Engineering from NYU Polytechnic Institute. He truly is a man of many letters.

Prusmack was introduced to rugby while at NYU in 1965. He started playing out on the wing, but soon found himself at flanker and ultimately hooker, where he played for 10 years. As he drily notes, “As I lost speed I kept moving farther inside.”

Upon graduating from NYU, Prusmack began a 15 year career with the Westchester Rugby Club. He played for a combined Westchester RC/Old Blue All Star team that hosted the English touring side, Richmond RFC, in 1968. He was President of the Westchester RC from 1968 to 1974. He also played on and off for the New York Athletic Club from 1973 to 1978.

Other highlights of Prusmack’s career as a player were his selection at hooker for the Metropolitan New York All Star team, as well as tours to England in 1973 and Ireland in 1974, with Westchester, and with the Manhattan Rugby Club to France in 1975. He was named captain of the USA Owls team on their inaugural tour to England in 1977.

Prusmack retired as a player in 1980 due to a neck injury, but his involvement with the game was by no means over. He coached the New York AC from 1980 to 1984, and he was a C Level Met New York referee from 1994 to 2000.

It is off the pitch, however, that Prusmack’s impact on rugby has been most significant. One of his early contributions to U.S. rugby was the initial publication of “Scrumdown” which, in its earliest format, in 1968, was produced in newsprint. Prusmack teamed with Ed Hagerty on this project, which served as almost the only regular source of rugby news in America for decades. The publication’s name was changed to “Rugby Magazine” in 1972, and in a further evolution to suit the times, the magazine went from print to its current digital format,, in 2010. Prusmack also wrote one of the first U.S. rugby coaching books, Rugby: A Guide for Players, Coaches and Spectators, in 1974.

In 2005, Prusmack formed American International Media LLC, through which he purchased, from USA Rugby, the U.S. stop on the IRB 7s World Series of tournaments. The tournament has since been renamed the USA 7s; the three-day event is the only North American stop for the Sevens World Series, and is the largest rugby tournament in North America. From its first venue in Carson, California, where the attendance was less than 5,000, the event moved first to San Diego, and has since moved to its current home in Las Vegas, where, in 2013, the three-day attendance total was over 67,000.

Building on a successful model, Prusmack’s company then partnered with NBC in 2010 to start the 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC). The first CRC event took place at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, but the tournament has since moved to PPL Park in Philadelphia. Attendance for the 2012 CRC was 20,000; attendance for the 2013 event is expected to be closer to 25,000. The tournament features 20 of the top college teams competing in 47 matches across two-days as they vie for the coveted Pete Dawkins trophy.

Prusmack’s work with NBC has also provided the sport much-needed national television exposure. Through partnerships with NBC Sports Group, the CRC, the USA Sevens Tournament and all nine HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments are broadcast nationally on NBC, NBC Sports Network or Universal Sports Network. In total, NBC Sports Group broadcasts nearly 60 hours of live rugby programming annually, by far the largest amount of live rugby coverage in the United States.

Beyond rugby, Prusmack is a professional artist, designer and inventor. Most notably, from an idea and a prototype built in his garage, Prusmack invented the DRASH, or Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter, a quick erect/strike shelter system, serving medical, military, government and civilian needs. From its early days in 1984, his DHS Systems (now DHS Technologies LLC) has evolved to become recognized around the world as the leader in soft-walled shelter technology and support equipment.As of January 2009, more than 17,000 DRASH shelters and over 7,500 DRASH trailers were in service across the globe with the U.S. Military and NATO. Company sales have ranged from $100 million to well over $220 million over the last five years and DRASH employs approximately 400 men and women worldwide. Prusmack holds 22 patents for the shelter and multiple other products.

Both rugby and the military have been constants in his life; both have challenged him and given him great satisfaction. In recognition of that, Prusmack has given back generously to both the sport and to the military. He funded the U.S. Naval Academy Rugby Complex, called, fittingly, the Prusmack Rugby Complex. In addition, he helped fund the rugby pitch at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, known, also fittingly, as Warrior Field.

Prusmack was inducted into the New York Athletic Club Rugby Hall of Fame in 2011 and the U.S. Naval Academy Rugby Hall of Fame in 2012.