Mike Flanagan began his rugby career at Towson University in 1978, which led him down the path to becoming a hall-of-fame coach. As a player, he also appeared in matches for the Chesapeake Rugby Club and the Baltimore Area Selects. He began his coaching tenure in 1982 for the Towson State Women’s Rugby team, with other coaching stints at Loyola College and the United States Naval Academy. His accolades at Loyola College include Potomac Rugby Union Championships in 1988 and 1990.
During his 27-year career at the United States Naval Academy, he led the midshipmen to over 450 victories with a remarkable 80% winning percentage. Between 1991 to 2017, he coached Navy to 17 National Collegiate and Varsity Cup semi-final appearances and developed over 47 All-Americans. In 1994, Navy reached the national championship title game. He also coached the team to consecutive Potomac Rugby Union Championship titles from 1991 to 2000.
“Mike Flanagan’s legacy goes well beyond the 450+ wins and dominance on the field. It is all about the attributes of character, hard work, teamwork, commitment, selfless service, and family that he instilled in all his players. These qualities aren't measured with tries scored or meters gained, but are evident when you look at the number of USA Collegiate rugby alumni who went on to assume CEO of Fortune 500 Companies, Command squadrons, establish global non-profits, lead ships, assume positions within government at both state and national levels, command battalions, lead Air wings, take Marine Expeditionary Units to war, selected to Flag Officer, etc. Each year, on average, two rugby players select Navy Seals, there isn't another sports team at the Naval Academy that make that claim. The list goes on and the thrust is clear, Coach Mike
Flanagan’s impact to USA Rugby, today’s youth, and tomorrow’s leaders is substantial and is clearly worthy of national recognition,” said nominator, Rob Sinram. Flanagan’s coaching accolades also include serving as the head coach for the Potomac Rugby Union Collegiate Selects from 1988 to 1995, Mid-American Rugby Football Union Collegiate Selects from 1996 to 2004, All-American Forwards coach from 1993 to 2000, a seat on the All-American selection panel from 2000 to 2007 and the All-Marine Rugby Head Coach from 2000 to 2001. Mike was highly involved at the administrative level, serving as a founding member of the Varsity cup and the CRC Sevens which elevated the play of collegiate rugby on a national scale. He also was responsible for spearheading the development of the Prusmack Rugby Center at the United States Naval Academy.
“His impact is exceptionally far-reaching, his commitment unparalleled, and his conviction aligns with some of the most patriotic, selfless, stewards of our nation’s young history. USA Rugby’s recognition of his efforts, his superhuman stature in the rugby world, and his inspirational leadership would reflect superbly on what we value as a country and what we look for in the institution—USA Rugby —that represents the sport which we all know, love, and have come to depend on as a source of strength throughout our lives. It has been said that coaches are measured by the legacy they leave, and it is unequivocally clear that Mike Flanagan has not just left a legacy, but his impact on generations of players, leaders, and the sport is clear and mighty,” added Sinram.