It is our pleasure to announce the US Rugby Hall of Fame Class of 2022 and special award recipients. All of this year’s honorees have played a major role in the sport of rugby in the United States. We will honor these Hall of Fame inductees and special award recipients at the US Rugby Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which will be held at the Infinity Park Events Center in Glendale, Colorado on Friday, July 15th. The Induction Ceremony will take place the night before the US Men’s National Team play Chile in a Rugby World Cup qualifier at Infinity Park. More information about this year’s US Rugby Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, including registration details, will be coming soon.
Hall of Fame Inductees
With over 50 years of involvement in the sport of rugby, Steve Cohen has been the catalyst in developing player safety, refereeing and promoting the game at the grassroots level. Cohen attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York from 1966 to 1970 earning an engineering degree leading to a career in the design and construction of power plants. In 1969 he joined the newly established Schenectady Reds RFC. In 1976 he moved to Ann Arbor and joined the University of Michigan RFC. Most notably, Steve’s presence has been felt as an administrator. He pioneered rugby safety in the US by initiating and nationally distributing several articles to promoting and encouraging safe rugby practices with input and support from medical and sports safety professionals. He created and organized an annual player safety clinic for the East Penn Rugby Union and established numerous procedural regulations and procedures for confirming match day arrangements, hosting tournaments, injury reporting, field preparation and sideline policy. He refereed from 1974 to 2012 and was a charter member of the USARFU Referees & Laws Committee in 1980 serving as treasurer and member of the Laws Sub-Committee. He supported the growth of women’s rugby as head referee for the first five Women’s National Rugby Championships in Chicago from 1978 to 1982, worked with the Midwest Women’s RFU providing training for women referees from 1980 to 1983, and wrote numerous articles for Rugby Magazine promoting women’s rugby.
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A native of South Africa, Phillip “Thabu” Eloff would blossom into one of the most notable ruggers to ever represent the United States. Eloff attended Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois from 1998 to 2003. During his collegiate years, he simultaneously played for the Lions and led the team to a Mid-America Cup in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The Lions competed in Super League from 1997 to 2006, earning a runner-up bid in the 2006 Super League Final. He was recognized as Lions MVP during the 1998, 1999 and 2002 seasons. Eloff represented the USA as an Eagle from 2000 to 2007. In 15s, he earned 35 total caps and played in 37 games. He was a member of numerous US Eagles touring sides around the world and earned the right to feature for the Eagles in three Rugby World Cups. In the 2003 World Cup in Australia, Thabu started all four games against Fiji, Scotland, Japan and France, finding the try zone against Japan, one of his 10 test tries. In the 2007 World Cup, he started two games against Samoa and South Africa and came off the bench against Tonga. In 2005, he appeared on the pitch for the Eagles 7s in 5 games, including 2005 7s Rugby World Cup matches against Ireland, Scotland, and Tonga. Following Eloff’s playing career, he transitioned from player to coach and served as the backline coach of Davenport University for two seasons in 2011 and 2012.
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Gary Hein’s rugby career began as a freshman in college at the University of California, Berkeley in 1984, while he was simultaneously playing football for the Bears. His natural athleticism translated seamlessly to the pitch, making him a force to be reckoned with at wing and fullback. Not only did he help Cal win three national championship titles in 1985, 1986 and 1988, but he also garnered numerous honors including being named a four-time Collegiate All-American from 1985-1988. He captained the 1988 USA Collegiate All-American Team against Canada U21 in Winnipeg, Canada, and was a two-time Woodley Award winner as the USA Collegiate Player of the Year in 1987 and 1988. Gary was named Cal’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1988, and most notably, the only undergraduate collegiate player to represent the USA Eagles in 1987 and 1988. Hein’s USA Rugby career was highly decorated, representing the Eagles in both 15s and 7s from 1986 to 1994. He played in 25 Eagles tests during his 15s career and was a member of the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cup teams. For the Eagles 7s squad, Gary appeared in 49 games and earned a total of 29 caps. He was a member and the captain of the US Eagles team at the first-ever 7s Rugby World Cup in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1993. He transitioned from player to coach and served as an assistant backs coach at his alma mater, Cal. During his tenure as an assistant coach with the Bears, the Cal rugby program seized a collegiate national championship title. Most recently, Gary served as team coach at every level of Lamorinda Rugby Football Club’s youth and high school rugby programs over the course of the past 14 years.
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Maryanne “MA” Sorenson attended the College of William and Mary from 1974 to 1978, where she was a member of the inaugural women’s rugby team. Maryanne would continue her career at the club level for the Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Football Club from 1978 to 2000. She served as team captain from 1990 to 1999 and led the team to the USA Rugby National Championships in 1981, 1997 and 1998 in both 7s and 15s. Most notably, Maryanne was named to the USA Rugby Eagle 15s in 1991. She would play 9 seasons at prop, tallying 20 total caps and play in 25 games. She appeared in three Rugby World Cups with the Eagles: in 1991 as a member of the Rugby World Cup Championship team, 1994 and 1998. Sorenson’s greatness on the pitch would translate seamlessly to the sideline in a coaching capacity. She coached the Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Football Club from 2002 to 2007, coaching the team to multiple playoff appearances. During this time, she also served as assistant coach for the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union Select-Side. Additionally, she served stints as a scrum/forwards coach for the USA Eagles 15s and was involved in the USA Women’s National Team camps and assemblies. In recognition of her accomplishments both on and off the pitch, the Washington Athletic Club has named the award for the top women’s college rugby player the Maryanne Sorensen Collegiate Player of the Year.
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Playing and starring in all the age grade USA Men’s 15s teams from the young age of 16, Zack Test set the standard as one of the greatest international players to represent the USA Eagles. At 16 years old, Zack would be identified as a USA prospect and represented the USA U19s in 2006 in the North American and West Indies Tournament in Georgetown, Guyana, helping the team qualify for the IRB World Juniors in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Zack quickly rose to USA Eagle ranks and would be a force in 7s for years to come. From 2009 to 2017, Test appeared for the Eagle 7s squad in a total of 307 games, earning 63 caps as a utility player. He was a member of the 2016 Olympic team in the Rio Olympics. Test’s accolades include: 143 career tries; 721 points scored; eight tournament dream team selections; 2015/16 World Series Season Dream Team; leading the USA as top try scorer and being recognized as the Men’s 7s Player of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014; play in the 2013 7s Rugby World Cup; earn a Pan-Am Games bronze medal in 2012; and be the recipient of the USA Rugby Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. From 2015 to 2018, Zack earned eight caps for the Eagles 15s team, including two starts in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Zack pursued coaching opportunities after he hung up his boots and served as an assistant coach for the USA Maccabiah Rugby Team in the Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2013 and 2017. He was also the San Diego Legion backs/attack coach and academy director in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2020, he was promoted to co-head coach and academy director for the Legion. In 2021, Test joined the USA Eagles Women’s 7s program as an assistant coach.
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A former United States Army Corporal, the first American Samoan capped for the USA Eagles National Rugby Team, winner of multiple national championships, scrumhalf for the first Professional Rugby League Championship with the Denver Stampede, and now the coach of a crossover team comprised of mainly college football athletes, Mose Timoteo has excelled in the sport of rugby over several decades. Upon his move to the United States, Mose played for Fort Drum RFC from 1997 to 1999. He then played for the Hayward and Sacramento Rugby Clubs from 1999 to 2006. He also had numerous appearances with All-Army, Combined Services and other select and territorial All-Star teams. As a US Eagle, Mose earned 31 15s caps at scrumhalf, wing and fullback between 2000 and 2006, including a Rugby World Cup in 2003. He also captained the USA A team in 2001. While injury in 2006 kept him off the Eagles radar, he returned to earn his 32nd and final cap in 2012. For the Eagles 7s, he appeared in 100 games, including two Rugby World Cups in 2001 and 2005. Mose played in tournaments in Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing, Wellington, Brisbane, Montevideo, Punta del Este, Tokyo and the LA Sevens on multiple occasions. He had 28 iRB Sevens Series tournament appearances for the Eagle 7s. As a player, captain and a coach, Mose holds championship titles across several teams at all of the highest levels of the game in the USA, including championship titles during his time playing professionally with the Denver Stampede in 2016, the Glendale Raptors from 2015-2018 and San Francisco Golden Gate from 2007 to 2014.
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Blane Warhurst attended the University of California, Berkeley from 1970 to 1975 and played both football and rugby for the Bears. Blane’s natural athleticism made him a perfect target to recruit to the rugby pitch. Blane earned a starting position at wing in his first season and made his first tour to Australia and New Zealand. The following year, Cal Rugby went 27-1 with the only loss being to New South Wales Country at the Monterey Tournament. After his collegiate playing years concluded, Blane would make appearances on the pitch with Northern California and West Coast representative sides, the Poppies, Pelicans, and Grizzlies. He had a lengthy club tenure with the Old Blues Rugby Football Club in Berkeley, California. With the Old Blues, he served as team captain on numerous occasions and led the team to a Monterey Rugby Championship, a New Zealand tour, and seven National Club Championship titles from 1979 to 1987. Warhurst made his mark at the international level representing the USA Rugby Eagles in both 7s and 15s. He earned six caps for the Eagles 15s side and appeared on tours to Australia, Japan and Canada. For the Eagle 7s, he made three tours to Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada from 1982 to 1986. Upon the conclusion of his playing career, Warhurst transitioned to coaching for the Hayward High School Griffins from 1999 to 2015. During his tenure at head coach, his teams advanced to the playoffs every season, were crowned Northern California High School Club Champions in 2010 and 2014, earned a Northern California U19 championship in 2010, and won a Major League Rugby Championship in 2001.
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Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
When you think of the Golden Oldies Rugby community in the United States, you can’t help but think of Fred Alexander. In 1993, Fred founded the Colorado Senior Old Boys/Colorado Ol’ Pokes out of Denver, Colorado. With the Colorado Senior Old Boys, he served as captain from the club’s inception until 2010, when he transitioned to the role of coach. Alexander still serves as coach and president emeritus to this date. Involvement with the Colorado Senior Old Boys was a family affair, as Fred and his wife, Earnie, also served as the club’s tour managers from 1993 to 2016. His multifaceted experience in managing the Colorado Senior Old Boys propelled him to become invited to serve as the USA Representative by the Golden Oldies Rugby organization. He organized Golden Oldies Rugby festivals all over the globe and helped ruggers remain involved in the sport they love by promoting an everlasting community. Fred was a driving force behind the successful 2020 bid to host the Golden Oldies Rugby Festival in Denver, Colorado.
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A pillar in the Texas rugby community, Alan Sharpley has dedicated over 40 years of service to the Austin Rugby Club. Sharpley played for the Austin Rugby Club, also known as Austin Blacks Rugby, from 1972 to 1992. A jack of all trades, Alan has also coached, sat on the board of directors, and served as match secretary for the Blacks. In the 1980s, Sharpley was the first head coach for the University of Texas Rugby Club. He also served as the head coach for the Midland Counties Select Side and Texas Rugby Union Select Side. As an administrator, Sharpley served on the Texas Rugby Union board of directors and was elected as the TRU representative for the Western RFU during that time. He was tasked to develop the Red River Rugby Conference competitions and formed a committee from the participating Division I, II, II, and Women’s clubs to replace the competition that formerly comprised the Western USA RFU. This position propelled his involvement in higher level club competition committees. Soon after, Alan would become an integral part of the USA Rugby competitions committee, serving as chair for 26 years. Sharpley also served as chair of the USA Rugby club strategic committee from 2008 to 2017.
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