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Dr. Dale Toohey


Lifetime Achievement Award


As a native of New South Wales, Australia, rugby is in Dale Toohey's blood. His prowess began at Saint John's College, starting on the club's first team for three consecutive seasons and playing a pivotal role in leading Australia's top high school rugby team to a national undefeated streak from 1952 to 1953. He advanced his play to Sydney Teaching College for Physical Education in 1956 where he was a two-year starter and also competed in track and field and baseball. Toohey competed for the perennial powerhouse Randwick Rugby Club from 1956 to 1965, representing New South Wales vs the New Zealand All Blacks and other touring representative sides. He took his rugby career stateside in 1965, founding the Washington State University Rugby Football Club, serving as both a player and coach. He later played with the Boston Rugby Football Club while earning his PhD. He simultaneously coached the University of Massachusetts collegiate rugby team, leading to a # 1 ranking in the Eastern division and going undefeated in 1967.

Toohey made his mark on the collegiate rugby community serving as the Long Beach State University head coach from 1974 to 2003. While at Long Beach State, he garnered an 87% winning percentage, 15 Southern California Rugby Football Union championships, three Pacific Coast RFU championships, three national final four appearances, and developed 13 All-Americans from these sides. He earned induction into the California State University, Long Beach Athletic Department Sports Hall of Fame. Dale's representative side resume includes serving as the US Collegiate All- American head coach from 1994 to 2001.

"His legacy of graduating his players while playing winning rugby against bigger programs brought him national recognition but he gave back to our game in so many ways by volunteering off the field at all levels of the regional, territorial and national administration. I truly feel that if you're looking for the depth and breadth of work promoting rugby in the USA that you'll find that "Doc" should be in the elite fraternity of advocates who have always put the game first," said former Long Beach State University player, Kyle Quinn. 

On the administrative level, Toohey was a member of the USA Rugby National Technical Committee for eight years and has represented USA Rugby and presented papers at the Asian Pacific Coaches conferences in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Canada. Dale was present at the infamous 1974 Chicago meeting when the USA Rugby Football Union was formed and was the first chairman of the National Collegiate Committee, establishing the first national championship in 1980. 

As a member of the Society of International Scholars for the Study of Coaching Methodology, Sports Psychology, and International Sport, he has presented papers in published articles at a number of conferences in the USA and around the world. Wherever possible, rugby was promoted and included in these papers. He has been recognized in five additional Hall of Fames for his sporting and academic achievements.