The Elite Status level was developed by the university administration to enhance the support, both financially and operationally, for clubs that meet specific criteria. In order to receive consideration for Elite Status, clubs:
- Must have a coach that is approved and hired by Recreational Services. The coach must meet national coaching standards of the sport’s governing body.
- Cannot be a duplicate of a sponsored varsity sport at KU.
- Must compete in a sport that is generally recognized as an NCAA or Olympic Sport.
- Must have a National Governing Body in which it is affiliated.
- Must compete on the collegiate club level and be a member of a league.
- Must exist for at least five years at KU and must show a history of successful leadership and organization.
- Must conduct all fundraising and alumni activities in consultation with the KU Foundation and Alumni Relations.
- Must compete at the highest level with the potential to gain national recognition for the university. Strongest consideration will be given to those competing at the Division I level.
- Must demonstrate an ability to recruit both nationally and internationally.
- Must provide the necessary information in a timely manner for game results and publicity.
“Kutztown University is very fortunate and proud to have dedicated staff, coaches, student-athletes and alumni who give our rugby programs the opportunity to compete at the highest-level in the nation,” said Dr. Warren Hilton, KU’s vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “Developing an Elite Status for our clubs allow us to recognize these programs for their success, and provide support so they can maintain their success in the years ahead.”
The KU men’s rugby club, founded in 1984, has a long history of national success at the highest level in both 15s and 7s competition. The Golden Bears are coached by KU Presidential Medal recipient Dr. Gregory “Doc” Jones.
Since taking over the helm in 1985, Jones’ teams, between the 15s and 7s have, put together more than 60 winning seasons. The Golden Bears are consistently ranked among the top teams in Division I collegiate programs and have competed for titles at the regional and national level. Most recently, the 15s won the Rugby East Conference Title in 2015, finishing ahead of Penn State, Army, Buffalo, St. Bonaventure, Iona and Wheeling Jesuit.
Since being invited to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Sevens Championship in Chester in 2013, Kutztown has advanced to the final day of competition four out of five times. In 2014 and 2015, the Golden Bears advanced to the championship game live on NBC television against the West Coast rival Golden Bears — California Berkley.
KU’s players, which are recruited from throughout the world, have earned regional and national recognition. The Kutztown University women’s rugby team was founded in 1994 and competes at the Division II level for 15s and the 7s regular seasons. The Golden Bears have been participants in the Collegiate Rugby Sevens Championship since 2013, where they compete against the best talent in the nation. Kutztown has advanced to the national Division II tournament in 15s under current head coach Sean Cobb.
“Naming the rugby clubs to Elite Status not only helps both teams, but rewards their many accomplishments and contributions to the university,” said Amy Sandt, KU’s director of Recreational Services. “The Recreational Services staff looks forward to working with the rugby programs to ensure their ongoing success.”