UC Davis and Rugby

A long legacy. A renewed passion.

According to UC Davis Mens Rugby coaches Mike Purcell and Steve Gray, during the 20th century, most California university teams switched from football to rugby and then from rugby back to football. There were UC Davis Mens club rugby teams in the 1970’s and 80’s. In the 1990’s, Coach Rob Salaber joined and developed a good program that continues to this day.

UC Davis Men's Rugby team

UC Davis Mens Rugby Team

“We had a really good talk with the team about Babe Slater and his legacy. You could see that it really had an effect on the team – it’s a great thing to have something like that as a history, and tradition for our program.”

—Mike Purcell, UC Davis Rugby Coach

“(On rugby coming back to the Olympics) Well, we’re hoping it’s going to be a big impetus to getting the game growing a bit more. I think again in the Olympics when you see Sevens it’s so dynamic and it’s exciting. We’d like to see the game grow, and I think when Americans see that they’re going to get enthused with it, so we’re hoping it’s going to have an impact. UC Davis has had a history of being very supportive of us.”

—Steve Gray, Former UC Davis Rugby Coach


UC Davis Mens Rugby, National Champions 2014-2015