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Ed Burlingham


Sweeney Award



Ed Burlingham came to Rugby like many American athletes, after completing a collegiate career in another sport.  Ed started his lifetime rugby involvement in 1974 at Irvine Coast RFC in Newport Beach, California following a successful four years of college basketball at the University of California Irvine. He worked his way quickly through Southern California and Pacific Coast Grizzly selections leading up to the awarding of his first cap against the New Zealand All Blacks in 1980.

Ed went on to earn 14 caps for the US National Team and captained the Eagles during the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.  He captained the Eagles 9 times during his 7 year campaign with the USA Rugby team in games against Canada, England, Australia, Japan, and throughout the 1983 tour of Australia.  Ed also captained the Southern California Griffins and the Pacific Coast Grizzlies numerous times from 1979 until 1987.  He led the Grizzlies during their 1984 tour of New Zealand and in 1982 he was named to the prestigious North American Barbarian team to tour South Africa.

Ed has been active with USA Rugby since his playing days ended and was chosen as an Assistant Coach of the 1991 Eagle Rugby World Cup squad.  He was also an integral part of the National Technical Panel and helped create and implement competitions for our Territorial and National Teams as well as vehicles for player, coach and referee development.  He is now involved with Back Bay RFC in his hometown of Newport Beach and has served as club president and head coach as well as assisting in many other club responsibilities.

Off the rugby pitch, Ed has been President and Chief Operating Officer of a family business, Burlingham International, since 1982.  Burlingham International services the metal finishing industry and Ed has been directly involved in the various organizations leading that industry beginning in 1990.  From 1972 until 1982, Ed was a teacher and basketball coach at Laguna Beach High School in Southern California.  Ed has been married to Diana for 40 years and has two daughters, Devon and Amy, and three grandchildren, Payton, Ashlyn and Jameson.