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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Q&A With New CWU Coach Todd Thornley


Last month Todd Thornley was named as the new head coach at Central Washington where he previously was an assistant coach. Central Washington has been one of the most successful programs the last few years so we caught up with him to see how he plans on continuing that success.

TIAR: You are taking over a pretty successful program at CWU. How you do make your touches on the team without interfering with success?

Todd Thornley: Being involved in the program in the last 2 years is obviously an advantage and gives myself great understanding of what has been effective and what needs to be modified in order to continue to grow and develop as a program. An example of this would be periodizing our season in order to peak in the spring when national championships are on the line. Team core skills & positional core skills are another example of areas where players can always develop further regardless of their current core skills, so continuing and enhancing that area of development is also a priority.

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TIAR: CWU has seen success in the Varsity Cup. What do you have to do to get over the hump and make it to the final?

TT: A competitive schedule against quality sides will enhance our chances. Our student-athletes needs to experience high-pressured situations where skill and tactical execution has a consequence. This will enhance our development on the field. We also need to continue to grow and develop into a more selfless team off the field, creating a culture where the team is always put first and individual last. This can be done in a variety of ways through academic priority, community engagement and being a server to the wider CWU community.

TIAR: CWU had and independent schedule last year. Do you think that worked for the team? Will you be continuing that type of schedule?

TT: This is the best option for us in order to develop both the individual student-athlete and the overall program. This type of schedule will continue with home & away fixtures against other leading collegiate programs and quality men’s club. Again it is important for us we periodize our season so we are at our peak come April-May.

TIAR: How does CWU go about recruiting?

TT: My philosophy is very much to look for talent in-state first then cast the net wider when deemed appropriate. Washington has some great high school programs which is the backbone of our current roster and alumni. Look out of state and internationally is more of a need’s basis then a want’s basis in terms of acquiring the required talent for us to be a successful program. A non-negotiable for this program is the potential student-athlete has to be academically minded, making it a priority to gain higher education. Academics has to always come first, followed by rugby.

TIAR: How has the program changed since achieving varsity status?

TT: Obviously we are funded by the athletic department and have all their services at our disposal which has helped us become an increasingly competitive program on the national scale. The athletic department has really got behind the program and enhanced our potential and ceiling to the stage where we now expect to compete at a high level every year and develop outstanding young men off the field.

TIAR: Who are you looking to be your leaders next year?

TT: Whoever models our core values best and leads by example, my initial thoughts are that Scott Dean, Vili Toluta’u and Fabian Lumsden will demonstrate this best. However, I am hoping everyone will step up and take on the responsibilities of being a varsity student-athlete in their stride and model our core values to the best of their ability.

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