With over 25 years of administrative and managerial experience for USA Rugby, Tristan Lewis is regarded as the “Manager of Managers.”
Lewis, a countryman of England, began his rugby career at a very young age. He attended London University from 1968-1970 where he was also a member of the rugby team. He transferred to London School of Economics from 1970-1972. While in London, he played for the London Welsh Rugby Football Club.
A job opportunity brought Lewis stateside in 1977 and he was introduced to the Old Blue Rugby Football Club in New York City. Tristan played more socially for Old Blue as work was all encompassing. After moving to Chicago in 1984, Lewis sought a rugby club and found a home with the Chicago Lions. With work still remaining a priority, Lewis didn’t make his first appearance at a match for a few years and realizing his playing days were over, he quickly turned his sights on helping the club administration and the rest is history.
He joined the Lions executive committee in 1993 and utilized his team management skills to help guide the team to win a bid to host the national club championships in 1994. His managerial savviness led him to become the Director of Rugby for the Chicago Lions from 1994 to 2006. He was also elected vice president of the club in 1996. He received the Chicago Lions Rugby Football Club Lowry Lion Award in 1995 as recognition for having made the greatest contributions to the well-being of the club through efforts both on and off the field.
Tristan found his stride and soon became a pillar in American rugby administration. He served as vice president of competitions for Midwest Rugby Football Union and was responsible for all territorial competitions and all-star teams, including acting as general manager for the senior men’s all-star team. He was instrumental in rewriting the Midwest RFU constitution to reflect the union’s position in USA Rugby. While continuing to serve on the Midwest RFU board, Tristan was a member of the USA Rugby Board and elected vice president of USA Rugby in 1998. He remained involved in his position until 2000, when he pursued higher level positions.
Lewis’ talents led him to manage for various USA Rugby National teams and coaches on both the men’s and women’s sides. In his role as manager for USA Rugby National teams, he was responsible for budget management, player needs both on and off the field, travel, team standards, public and media relations, sponsorship, operations, equipment, and sideline management on match days.
“He is overwhelmingly respected by the players he has served and that can only be surpassed by his absolute and uncompromised respect for the USA Eagles. Quite simply, he has been the gatekeeper of tradition for the program and is responsible for countless statistics, artifacts, and memorabilia that have accumulated through the ages. He has carried on the tradition during several tenures of coaches and across a multitude of generations of players, groups of young men who unintentionally tried to chip away at Eagle tradition through the behaviors of new fads, styles, and influences,” said former Eagles Head Coach, Mike Tolkin.
His career in team management covered 14 years, 85 tests and other A level matches, three Men’s 15s Rugby World Cups and two Rugby World Cup 7s for both the Eagle men and women. Lewis traveled the globe guiding the USA to numerous 7s tournament and up until 2015, every Eagle earning their 50th cap did so under Lewis’ management under some point in his career.