(Berkeley, California) 6 October 1997--One of American rugby's founding fathers is now Director of National Team 7s, USA Rugby announced today.
Longtime Midwest coach, referee, and administrator Keith Seaber fills the newly created position, whose responsibilities include organizing the country's pool of 7s coaches and managers, selections, and coordinating international appearances.
Seaber will report to National Team General Manager Jack Clark, who says the appointment ends a long search for USA Rugby. "We've been looking for someone with the right mix of experience and skills, and Keith is an excellent person for the job. He has already contributed an enormous amount to the sport in this country, and we feel lucky that he has agreed to give us even more of his time and energy."
The US 7s team typically enters four or five international tournaments throughout the course of each year, including the Hong Kong, France, and Japan 7s tournaments. The US recently won the Bowl championship at the 1997 7s Rugby World Cup, after failing to advance out of pool play in the 1993 7s World Cup.
"Keith's charter is threefold," explained Clark, to whom Seaber will report. "First it's to organize a pool of 7s coaches and managers and supervise their performance when appointed. Naturally, this pool will narrow as we approach the next 7s World Cup.
"Second, Keith will oversee the National Team's selection process as it relates to 7s, and finally, he'll lead the program toward goals that encompass everything from competition schedule to budget."
Seaber, recently retired from the manufacturing sector, has more than 30 years of rugby experience in the US. Since immigrating to the United States in 1965, he has played, coached, and refereed American rugby at its highest levels.
The longtime St. Louis resident played for the St. Louis Ramblers and the St. Louis Bombers, and went on to become chairman of the Midwest Referees Society, chairman of the Midwest Selection Committee, coach of the Midwest territorial XV, and a three-time president of the Midwest RFU.
In 1975, Seaber was a founding member of the USA Rugby Football Union (USA Rugby), serving as secretary and vice-president during his 16 years on the board. He was also the first chairman of both the Referees Society and the National Selection Committee.
He coached the US in its first international against Canada in 1977, and has managed several national sides. Seaber has also taken US teams to almost every major 7s tournament in the world.
"Our team at the [7s Rugby World Cup] tournament earlier this year did exceptionally well, winning the [Bowl] championship in what is the premiere international 7s event. If we can build on that momentum, the 7s version of the game has a bright future," he says.
"We see the potential for the 7s teams to make their presence felt at the international level and don't want the opportunity to be missed," adds Clark. "With Keith directing operations, the likelihood of success is greatly enhanced."
In accepting the 7s position, Seaber joins a host of US rugby's founders now working with the National Team. Former USA Rugby President Terry Fleener is the USA's representative on the Board of the Pacific Rim Rugby Championship, while another former union president, Ian Nixon, is National Team Secretary and representative to the International Rugby Football Board. Former National Team coaches Ray Cornbill, George Betzler, and Clarence Culpepper assume various coaching roles with a variety of national squads, and another former coach, Ron Mayes, is chairman of the National Technical Panel.
© USA National Rugby Team
Kurt Oeler, Media Relations
Hudson Rugby Fieldhouse
Berkeley, California 94720 4426
phone 510.643.1971 / fax 510.643.2192