Harry Alfred (Fred) Khasigian’s rugby career began at USC in 1968 when several of the football players, including LA Rams tight end Bob Klein, encouraged him to play this new game suited for all-around football players. They played a 10-man style of rugby and Fred was able to letter in rugby in 1968 and 1969. The team was disbanded in 1970 after one of the Trojan football running backs was hurt and Coach John Mackay decided no more rugby.
Having been bitten by the rugby bug, Fred then played club rugby for Cisco’s. He tried out for the California Grizzlies in 1972 and secured a spot on the Grizzlies team that toured New Zealand for six weeks in 1972. He was a flanker up until then but when a tour ending injury claimed the regular hooker, Fred was asked to shift to the hooker position. He remained there for the rest of his career. That tour was very successful in creating a positive image of USA rugby and the Grizzlies defeated New Zealand Universities at Eden Park in their final match of the tour.
On his return to the States after that tour, Fred joined the newly formed Santa Monica Rugby Football Club and was fortunate to play with the inaugural teams that were very successful. Those years featured championships at the Monterey Tournament and ferocious battles with UCLA and their coach and the USA head coach, Dennis Storer. In 1973, Fred toured with Santa Monica to England and Wales.
Despite time constraints due to Medical School and Orthopedic Residency, Fred was selected to the USA Eagles team for the 1976 test against the visiting Australian Wallabies. The USA had a strong showing against a tour hardened Australian team. Two weeks after that game, Fred required knee surgery for an injury suffered against New Zealand Universities in a match played in San Francisco. He was given the ultimatum to choose between his orthopedic career or his rugby playing career. The injury put a close to Chapter 1 of his rugby life.
In 1989, Fred was asked to leave co-ed soccer because of his overly aggressive play. But that gave him the inspiration to try out for the Sacramento RFC, “just as a shot in the dark as I was 41 years old and was a total unknown to the team.” Fred played hooker and prop on the first and second team until 1996 and eventually became team president. He called an end to his rugby playing career “when I watched a video of a game and was appalled at the lack of speed I exhibited.”
In 1996, Fred became coach of Ashton RFC. He wanted a team for his youngest son to play on and therefore opted to continue the Ashton Club team, a combination of Rio, Jesuit, and El Camino High School players. In 1997, he approached the Jesuit Athletic Director to form a Jesuit only team and the Jesuit Rugby program was formed.
Now in their 18th season, the Jesuit High School Rugby team has won seven National Championships, four California State Championships, and 10 NorCal Championships. In addition, many Jesuit graduates went on to contribute at their respective collegiate rugby programs. The team is very popular on the school’s campus and regularly involves over 150 players per season.
In addition to rugby, Fred attended USC on an academic/athletic scholarship from 1966 to 1970 graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He attended USC Medical School, graduating in 1974 and then finished his Orthopedic Surgery residency training in 1979.
He started private practice in Sacramento, CA in 1979 and still practices full time, with a specialization in complex total joints. He has been married 39 years to Lynda (coincidentally meeting after a UCLA- Santa Monica rugby game) and has three sons. Kirk played and captained the Cal Rugby team, won the Woodley Award, and won 38 caps for the USA playing for the Eagles from 1996-2003. Kevin played varsity football for Brown University. Kyle was an Under 19 Junior Eagle and won 3 National Championships with Cal.