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Rugby Community Mourning the Passing of Ed Hagerty

January 18, 2023

It is with a heavy heart that we inform our readers of the passing of Edward F. Hagerty Jr., editor and writer of Rugby Magazine, former captain of Holy Cross College and Old Blue NY, and a 2013 US Rugby Hall of Fame inductee. Ed described himself as having “more enthusiasm than talent” when it came to rugby. He began his 14-year rugby-playing career in 1962, during the fall of his junior year at Holy Cross. Playing as a loose forward, he served as captain of the Holy Cross XV during his senior year.

After graduating in1964, Ed moved briefly to New York City before fulfilling his military service by joining the Army National Guard, serving the first six months on active duty, with five years of weekend reserve duty to serve.

Returning to New York City after his six-month active-duty stint, Ed embarked upon a 12-year, post-college, rugby playing career. He played first-side rugby for the New York RFC from 1964-67 and then with Old Blue from 1967-75.

While most of us knew Ed from rugby, he had an entire career before joining Rugby Magazine. His publishing career began in 1967 when he was hired as the Sales Development Manager for Ladies Home Journal, a large women’s service magazine.

Moving on to Times Mirror Magazines a year later, Ed spent the next five years as Editorial and Marketing Research Director for Popular Science and Outdoor Life Magazines. He served as Publisher of Popular Science, a 100-year-old publication with a circulation of 1,800,000, from 1973-1975.

Ed took a hiatus from the publishing business between 1975-1977. During this period, he moved to Beverly Hills, California where he went to work for Patrick Frawley, a friend and wealthy industrialist who, among other things, had started Schick Safety Razor, Schick Electric and Paper-Mate Pens.

During his two years in California, Ed served as an administrator for Schick Hospitals in Fort Worth and Seattle, did market research for Schick Smoking Centers and served as Director for the Twin Circle Publishing Company.

While his rugby playing career had ended, Ed’s interest in the sport remained. In 1975, he became involved on a part-time basis in the publication of Rugby Magazine, which had been started by A. Jon Prusmack. Hagerty’s interest in Rugby Magazine, as a vehicle to grow the US game, increased as the months went by and in January of 1977 he was listed on the masthead as Editor in Chief.

Hagerty returned to New York City in 1977. There, for many years in an office the size of a broom closet (but with a Madison Avenue address), he devoted his energies to writing, photographing, editing and publishing Rugby Magazine.

Ed served as Editor in Chief of Rugby Magazine from 1977 to 2009. He continued as Executive Editor until the summer of 2010 and remained a contributor and photographer for several years after that.

Ed wrote and edited news briefs, tournament recaps, match reports, feature articles, and player, coach and referee profiles. In addition, he solicited copy for a variety of feature articles and regular departments from an eager, talented and well-educated US rugby community.

He covered and photographed dozens of domestic and overseas test matches, played by both the US Men’s and Women’s National 15s and 7s teams, until 2010.

We are deeply saddened by this news and extend our condolences to Ed’s family, friends, colleagues, teammates, coaches, mentors, opponents—and all those whose lives he touched over his long career in rugby.

There will be a wake on Thursday, January 19 from 5pm-8pm at Frank E Campbell Funeral Home at 1076 Madison Avenue in NYC.

The Mass celebration will be Friday, January 20th at 11am at Holy Trinity Catholic Church on 82nd street between Amsterdam and Broadway.