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Bob Latham


Chairman's Award



In 1976 Bob Latham headed to Stanford University. An accomplished junior tennis player, Bob abandoned his racket, found rugby and quickly became an ace on the rugby pitch. Upon graduating from Stanford, Latham continued his academic and athletic career while attending law school at the University of Virginia and played for the Virginia Rugby Club and the Infidels Rugby Club. Life would lead him to the state of Texas where he made an everlasting mark on the state's rugby community. From 1983 to 1996, Latham played for the Dallas Harlequins and served as the club president during the team's national final four appearances. He was a Texas Rugby Union select side player and cemented his legacy in the Texas Rugby Hall of Fame.

"A master in the courtroom, boardroom and always up for a social laugh, song, story, etc. in any nearby establishment, Bob embodies the balance rugby is known for. In one instance he could be deliberating a critical topic that impacts the game on the worldwide stage, while the next he’s sharing a laugh, conversation and a beer with a player that just walked off the pitch playing for his local club team," said former US Eagles player and coach, Alex Magleby.

A hallmarked rugby career was just the beginning for Latham, as some of his greatest achievements came in an administrative role, including championing the sport's presence in the Olympic Games. Not only did he manage a distinguished law career, but he also spent countless hours and years providing pro-bono legal work and representing USA Rugby in international meetings and events. A two-time Chairman of USA Rugby, Bob is the only American to have served on the World Rugby Council (formerly IRB), where he worked to get a seat for USA Rugby. He was elected by the Council to the now eleven-member Executive Board of World Rugby, on which he has served since 2011. He has been the Chair of the World Rugby Regulations Committee since 2012 and has also served as a World Rugby Judicial Officer.

"It was Bob’s persistent, singular leadership over two decades which resulted in the USOC granting membership to USA Rugby. This was vital to the sport’s acceptance on a wide scale in this country and well before rugby became a medal sport. Without acceptance of rugby in the USA, however, there is no way rugby would have been added to the Games. Having entrenched rugby in the landscape of the USOC, Bob was a key leader of the Olympic rugby movement internationally, traveling the globe with the IRB delegation to numerous IOC conclaves until the goal of rugby in the Games was realized," said Paul Mabry.