George Betzler was born in Philadelphia to George and Mary Roddy Betzler in 1948. One of seven children, he grew up in Garrett Hill and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Inspired while watching the Villanova collegiate team play its matches near his home in Bryn Mawr, Betzler began playing rugby in 1962 at the age of 19.
He played rugby for about 14 years with the Philadelphia Rugby Club. In the early 1970s, he made the transition from player to coach and became the Head Coach at Whitemarsh Rugby Club. In 1985, Philadelphia and Whitemarsh merged and he took the helm of the newly formed Philadelphia Whitemarsh Club, and for over 30 years Betzler remained head coach of the team. Philadelphia Whitemarsh realized great success under his leadership, winning league, regional and east titles. The team vied for a National Championship and became one of the strongest, best run, and most organized clubs in the country and was one of the founding member clubs of the premier competition in the country at that time, the USA Rugby Super League.
In addition to delivering excellent team results, Betzler also excelled in individual players development. Many Philadelphia Whitemarsh players went on to be selected for the USA National Team.
His technical skills and development capabilities did not go unrecognized. He was selected for numerous local, regional, and national level head coaching positions including the Eastern Penn Select Side, USA East, Marine Corp All-Service Team, the USA All-Stars (7s and 15s) and the USA Maccabi Team. Due to his success with these teams, he was appointed as Assistant Coach of the USA National Team at the 1987 Rugby World Cup. That same year, Betzler was named head coach of the USA Eagles on the tour to Wales, becoming the first American-born rugby coach to ever hold this position. Following his tenure as USA Head Coach, he continued as the USA Assistant Coach, providing his expertise to USA Rugby as a National Team Selector and Advisor, Game Development Officer, National Technical Panel member, and Licensed IRB Coach Educator for many years.
After retirement from his full time profession at AT&T/Lucent, Betzler became something of a “traveling professor of rugby.” He has conducted coaching, referee, and player development clinics across the U.S., from grassroots to international level, providing consultancy to numerous local clubs, high school, college and the USA National Team. Recently, he returned to the hands-on role of head coaching, spending several seasons with North Penn RFC and Brandywine Rugby Club.
He currently enjoys golfing, coaching here and there when asked to help, watching rugby, and spending time with his wife, Helen, also known as “Saint” Helen. They share four children, Bernadette, Barry, Brenda, and Brian (deceased) and six grandchildren, Connor James (deceased), Caroline, Julia, Lily, Theodore and Reagan.