Don Haider is described by his peers as the epitome of a rugby scholar athlete with his notable achievements on and off the field. Don grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He was a three-sport athlete at New Trier High School. He was an honorable mention All-State football player while he co-captained the team. He also played varsity basketball and ran track.
His rugby career began at Stanford University in 1962, where he would be tagged as the No. 8 and captain of the second side. Haider would go on to play in the Eastern Rugby Union for Old Blue, Westchester, New York and the Washington Rugby Club. Don helped lead the Westchester Rugby Club to its only undefeated season in ERU and, later, captained the team. He was voted co-MVP of the Eastern 7’s, won by Westchester against the defending champions, Old Blue. In his later years, Don moved to second row and prop on whatever side that needed a player, and along the way continued to groom the younger players learning their craft. It was only fitting he should end his playing days where it all started for him, at Stanford, as Don last put on the boots in the Stanford alumni-undergraduate spring match in 2014.
Don was a founding member of the United States Rugby Foundation and was one of the core members of the organization for several years. He has dedicated much of his life to raising funds and promoting the sport of amateur rugby. Having been with the Rugby Foundation for over 40 years, Don continues to help grow the sport as a member of the U.S. Rugby Foundation board.
Don received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and served as a leading teacher and academic scholar at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School for over 44 years until his retirement in 2017. He is the author of five books and more than 100 articles and the winner of the prestigious Martha Derthick Best Book Award. Don retired from Northwestern in October, 2017 and remains on the faculty as Emeritus Professor of Strategy.