Rugby: A Stroll Through the 1960's to the 1990's

“…It is for that daring soul who is tired of American football and wants something more demanding and exciting” (Woodruff, 1974).  Those were the words of Chuck Butterick, president of the 1974 Trinity University Rugby team, expressing his attitudes about the sport.  Just that year, the “Ruggers” from Trinity won their division, beating a strong Austin team, and finished second in the state behind the Dallas Harlequins, making them one of the single most successful rugby teams of Trinity’s History.  Rewind to April of 1968.  The makeshift Trinity University rugby team, made up of an assortment of athletes who had little to no experience playing the sport, were facing the experienced, English influenced University of Texas team on their very own E.M. Stevens field.  Not only was this Trinity’s first attempt at rugby in over forty years, but according to the 1968 edition of Trinity’s school newspaper, the Trinitonian, this was “the first English football match ever played in San Antonio” (Corbitt, 1968).  13-11, Trinity comes out on top.

            Having reminisced of successful moments in the history of Trinity rugby like those previously mentioned, it would not be out of the ordinary to question the sport’s lacking presence at Trinity today.  Alternatively, a better question might be: what made rugby a popular phenomenon at Trinity in its prime years? To answer this, and in order to fully appreciate rugby’s presence at Trinity, we will take a stroll through the history of rugby at Trinity beginning in the 1960’s and ending in the early 1990’s.  The construction of this exhibit will not only present the high points of rugby at Trinity, it will also discuss why the sport was popular at Trinity during those years, drawing on societal issues and events that most likely influenced students’ interest in the game. 


Manny Menezes