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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Trio Of Coaches Added to USCD Camp


Press Release

Professional collegiate rugby coaches Matt Sherman (Army West Point), Blake Burdette (Penn State) and JD Stephenson (Lindenwood) will join the 3rd annual US Collegiate Development Boys Showcase Camp from June 21-24, 2016, at Dartmouth College.

This year’s camp also will also return past US Collegiate Development coaches from the sold-out 2014 & 2015 camps. Gavin Hickie and James Willocks (Dartmouth), Chad Newcomb (U.S. Naval Academy), Scott Stewart (UCLA), Greg McWilliams (Yale), and Josh Macy (American International College) round out the returning collegiate coaches. Finally, UK-based coaches Tom Burwell and Oliver Clough (Ultimate Rugby 7s) will cross the Atlantic in June for the ever-popular UR7s Academy Clinic.

New additions Sherman and Burdette are the current men’s rugby head coaches at Army West Point and Penn State, respectively, while Stephenson serves as Lindenwood University’s Director of Rugby. All three have experience coaching All-American representative sides, while Sherman and Burdette have previously represented the United States in international competition.

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"I’m excited to work with the very accomplished staff at Dartmouth for what promises to be a great experience for all involved,” said Coach Sherman. "I’m looking forward to working with campers on all aspects of their game, and in particular I’m thrilled to be leading the Playmaker Kicking Clinic."

Before becoming West Point's first-ever full-time head coach of varsity rugby, Sherman was an accomplished student-athlete for the California Golden Bears, where. He played on four national championship-winning teams. The three-time Collegiate All-American went onto graduate studies at Oxford and 7 appearances for the US national team at flyhalf, including an appearance at the 2003 World Cup.

In 2007, the Bay Area native returned to Cal to begin his coaching career as an assistant under Jack Clark. Sherman’s head coaching experience includes stints as head coach at San Diego State (2008-10) and Director of Rugby at Stanford (2010-2015), where he led all coaching, recruiting and administrative efforts for both the men’s and women’s programs. Sherman’s collegiate teams have enjoyed consistent postseason success, including three top-4 finishes for the Cardinal women.

While heading Stanford's rugby program, Sherman also served as the Men's Collegiate All-Americans Head Coach from 2012-2014. Sherman coached the All-Americans to a winning record in both of his seasons, with over 50 percent of his players called up to the senior men’s national team.

Burdette, another former American international, has also seen considerable success on both sides of the touch line. After capturing back-to-back high school national championships at Highland High, Burdette went on to represent the University of Utah in both rugby and football from 2003-06. A four-time Collegiate All-American, Burdette also walked on to the Utes' football team, and played at tight end during their undefeated 2004 season. Burdette played his club rugby with the New York Athletic Club and later made 9 appearances with the US national team as a prop and hooker, playing in the 2007 World Cup.

Burdette began coaching as Utah's forwards coach from 2007-2008, and was promoted to head coach after just one year. Under Burdette’s guidance, the Utes advanced to the National Championships every year from 2009 to 2012, finishing as runners-up in the 2011 title match. Burdette has also lent his expertise to the Collegiate All-Americans as a scrum coach, founded the rugby program at Olympus High School, and took up the reins at Penn State in September 2015 as the program’s first-ever full-time head coach.

The third new head coach at this year’s USCD camp, Lindenwood’s JD Stephenson, is also the current head coach of the Junior All-Americans (U20s), as well as an assistant coach to the High School All-Americans (U18s). The Australian-born Stephenson picked up rugby at age 4, trained with the ACT Brumbies Developmental Academy, and played two seasons for the University of Canberra. Stephenson picked up a taste for Northern Hemisphere rugby while playing the sport semi-professionally in Scotland and Italy, where he spent several off-seasons.

Prior to his arrival at Lindenwood, Stephenson had previously been a part of All-American coaching staffs. Stephenson joined Lindenwood’s rugby program as a graduate assistant during its inaugural 2011 season, taking over as head coach in 2013. The Australian coached the Lions to their first USA Rugby College 7s National Championship in May 2015, and assumed his current post as U20s head coach in October of that year.

"For myself as a coach, I’m excited and humbled to work with coaches of this caliber,” said Coach Stephenson. "I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Dartmouth’s facilities which are second to none, and should prove an excellent learning environment for young rugby players.”

"I’m looking forward to working with campers and helping with their individual development plans whether it be skill, unit or team-focused outcomes they have in place,” he added.

Registration is still open for the 2016 US Collegiate Development Boys Showcase Camp, to be held June 21 to June 25, 2016 at Dartmouth College. Additional top-up skill clinics will be available before and after the Showcase Camp.

More details can be found at the USCD website. For press-related inquiries, please contact USCD Communications Manager Bing Guan.

About US Collegiate Development

Launched in 2014, US Collegiate Development LLC aims to develop productive relationships between athletes and their potential future coaches. USCD's programs evolved in response to a need for a more effective environment to assess, develop, and connect student-athletes with collegiate coaches. The USCD coaching staff's priority is to educate these student-athletes on US rugby opportunities at both the university and national age-grade levels.

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