Dr. Julia McCoy
A self-proclaimed "B plus athlete, with an A side mind," Dr. Julia McCoy has made a profound impact on both men's and women's rugby in the U.S. The native of Jonesboro, Arkansas was a trailblazer for women in sports from a young age. She attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas earning Female Intramural Athlete of the Year honors in her junior and senior seasons. Her academic career would lead her to medical school at the University of Arkansas in 1989, an internal medicine internship at the University of Memphis, culminating in a Neurology Residency and Fellowship at Tulane, in New Orleans, LA.
She began her rugby career in 1990, playing alongside Eagle Krista McFarren for the New Orleans Halfmoons Club and helped lead the team to a nationally ranked third place finish in her first season, in 1991. She then played for the Little Rock RFC in both 7s and 15s from 1994-2004. Jules represented the Western Rugby Union in 15s from 1990-1996 and the West 7s Select Side from 1990-2001, captaining the side from 1996-2001. She was in the Eagles 15s Player Pool from 1996-1998 and was a US Eagles 7s player in 1998.
Jules' love for the game took off like wildfire and led her to notable coaching roles, a role that, for her, was even more rewarding than her playing career. After coaching stints with Little Rock Women and assistant and head coaching roles with the Western Rugby Union’s 15s and 7s sides, she took on US National Team coaching roles. Jules helped start the USA U23 Program and was the head coach of the West U23 Team from 1999-2001. She was a USA National Team Assistant Coach under Kathy Flores from 2002-2004, specializing in defensive systems. She was an assistant coach to Emil Signes for the USA Women’s 7s team in 2005 before becoming head coach of the team from 2006-2009, after his retirement. The USA Women’s 7s team went on to win Dubai 7s in 2006, USA 7s in 2006 and 2008, and coached the only USA Team, men or women, to win Hong Kong 7s (2008), to date! Jules led the Eagles to a semifinal appearance in the 2009 Rugby World Cup 7s, and was told that the performance by a non-rugby playing nation was what convinced the IOC to agree to place Rugby 7s as an Olympic sport. After her tenure in 2009, she served as a USA Rugby Board member for 3 years. During this time, she also created a crossover athlete database with the help of other regional coaches that discovered athletes such as, 2016 Olympians Alev Kelter and Jessica Javelet. She also had coaching roles with Little Rock Men’s 7s and 15s, the South Men’s 7s Regional Selects as well as Tiger Rugby.
Jules was the founder and coach of the American Rugby Pro Training Center Women's 7s Academy that represented the Texas Rugby Union and won the US Women's National 7s Club Championship title in 2015. Jules sent development players abroad to play 7s for ARPTC from the USA pool to support the USA Women's 7s Program, some of whom are current USA WNT 7s players (Summer Harris-Jones, Alena Olsen, Steph Rovetti, Jaz Gray, Kate Herren, Emily Heinrich, Georgia Perris-Redding, Hallie Taufoou amongst others). ARPTC's high school residency program also boasted current U23 USA players in both 7s and 15s (Alex Wantlin, Autumn Locicero, Ally Cunningham to name a few).
Jules either sponsored or led the fundraising campaigns for every program she led, including sending the Golden Eagles to Bermuda to play England as a development opportunity for the Women’s 15s Program.
Jules is a pillar in coaching and expertise, always eager to develop young players and coaches to grow the game at every level. In addition, Jules worked tirelessly to put the USA Women's 7s Program on the map, fighting for equal opportunities to showcase the game with the athlete's best interests in mind.