Jim Russell began his rugby career in the fall of 1965 at Leighton Park School, in Reading, Berkshire, England. Russell later came to the United States to play for Duke University from 1966-1970, serving as an active member of his team, holding leadership positions that included, secretary, president, coach, and captain in his four-year tenure.
In the 1970s, Russell hit the rugby scene in Denver, Colorado for the Denver Barbarians while attending the University of Denver Law School. He captained the Barbarians from 1972-1980 and earned honors such as Most Valuable Forward in 1970, 1972, and 1974. He also served as Denver Barbarians President from 1976-1978. Russell captained the 1974 Eastern Rockies RFU Representative Side.
Jim continued to give back to the sport after his playing career ended by becoming a well-respected referee within the rugby community. His 26-year resume includes multiple local, territorial, and national championships, U.S.A. Rugby A-Panel, a handful of U.S.A. Eagles matches, U.S.A. Rugby appointments to New Zealand during the 1987 Rugby World Cup, and the 1990 Hong Kong 7s. Russell’s referee expertise is extensive and includes involvement in referee administration, performance reviewer, evaluator, assessor, and disciplinary experience. Most notably, Russell continues to serve as the World Rugby/IRB Judicial Officer and Appeal Officer. With a career as a U.S. Federal Prosecutor for the District Court of Denver, it is only appropriate that Jim is one of just two international adjudicators in the United States recognized by World Rugby.