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Monday, August 8, 2016

Head Coach JD Stephenson Leaving Lindenwood


Head coach JD Stephenson is leaving Lindenwood University at the beginning of next month according to a release from the school. A search is underway to find his replacement. Since taking over the team in February 2014 Stephenson has helped lead the team to increased success in DI-A as well as a College 7s Nationals title last year. He has also done a good job recruiting, especially among younger American talent with a number of All-Americans picking the Lions. Graduate assistant James Harrison will be in charge until a replacement can be found.

The timing of the announcement certainly has something to do with accusations leveled against Lindenwood over player waivers and on field conduct but as the school says that Stephenson will "pursue other opportunities." That could definitely be a major reason for his departure as Stephenson has been the head coach of the Junior All-Americans over the last year taking over on short term notice. He did well in the role and more of a national team role could be in the works. 

Take the jump to read more.
In a release from the school Stephenson said, "it's always tough to leave something that has been an integral part of your life and that has granted many opportunities and rewarding experiences. I will always be extremely thankful to the university, our Vice President of Student Development Dr. Ryan Guffey, and our Student Life Sports Director Mike Elam for giving me an opportunity as a coach and for supporting the program on and off the field. I feel that the new opportunity that I have been offered is one in which I can continue to give back and grow the game of rugby within the U.S. in a different scope and set of responsibilities, which is challenging and exciting for me.

To the coaches, administrators, and players that I've been fortunate enough to work with along the journey, thank you for making the role continually rewarding, despite the challenges along the way. I wish you all the continued success moving forward.

I look forward to staying around until the end of the month to assist the program as the new season begins and hopefully easing the transition for the new coach. Thank you again to the Lindenwood family for the continued support, and best of luck for the Lions in 2017."

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