Learn more about the coaches and philosophy of Elmhurst Rugby

A player-centered approach that aims to develop the athlete in both competition and life

Coach Nick

Head Coach

Nick was a collegiate track sprinter who trained under three Olympians. He began playing rugby in the 1990s when abroad in Scotland. Given his background in track and football, Nick was recruited to play for a couple international clubs as rugby began to professionalize in Europe. He later returned to play rugby across the U.S. and was a collegiate sprint coach for a period of time, training a few All-Americans and one future NFL running back. Nick earned his PhD and was a practicing psychologist for several years, including the field of sports psychology, and taught as an adjunct faculty. Having made a career change, Nick has worked as a Federal Law Enforcement Agent for almost a decade while continuing to coach and play rugby.

Coach Brad

Assistant Head Coach

Briefly, Brad attended and had a very successful rugby career at the United States Naval Academy, losing one year in the Rugby National Championsip to Cal Golden Bears. Brad came back after graduation and served as assistant coach at the Naval Academy.

Full Biography Coming Soon

Coach Ed O'Connor

Director of Middle School Rugby & Assistant Coach

Ed, a collegiate athlete in both football and baseball, has been coaching various sports since 1995, including football and baseball at both the youth and high-school levels. Currently, Ed coaches basketball, volleyball, cross country and track at Sandburg Middle School where he has been teaching science and math since 2004. He has been an assistant coach for Elmhurst Rugby since 2016.

Coach Mike McCarthy

Assistant Coach

Mike was involved with rugby for the last 20 years in Ireland and the U.K. He brings formidable recent experience to the table both as an athlete and coach. Mike played for his school, club and later the prestigious rugby school, University College Cork (UCC). He also coached at various age levels, for youth at his home club of Tralee RFC and the collegiate level with both UCC and University of Limerick (UL) where he made three national finals and earned one national title. Mike works in the field of instructional design.

Coach Andy

Assistant Coach

Andy played rugby and wrestled for the University of Buffalo before becoming a Captain and Airborne Ranger in the U.S. Army. Andy played rugby for the 101st Airborne and 7th Infantry Divisions, as well as earned the honor of playing on the Army Select Team in 1988 and 1989. After being assigned to Chicago when beginning his career as a Federal Law Enforcement Agent in 1991, Andy played for the Lions and West Side Condors beginning in 1993. Andy continues to serve his country in Federal Law Enforcemnt.



Coaching Pillars

We value recruiting and developing the highest quality coaches to train our young athletes. Our coaches are selected based on the following four pillars we deem quintessential for every successful coach. The first two pillars of Toughness and Warmth reference the interpersonal style adopted by coaches with their young athletes. The second two pillars of Competence and Humility reference the personal qualities of the coach.


Toughness

Toughness

Discipline, mental toughness, resilience, respect, and a desire for self-improvemnet are traits born from coaches that establish expectations and model such traits. We encourage our athletes to become a better version of themselves both in rugby and life - to excel beyond their perceived limits and accept momentary losses not with despair but as a challenge to work harder.


Warmth

Warmth

You cannot simply push an athlete to perform better. You must lead them down the path to success, which requires an understanding of their motivations and personal goals. Toughness absent warmth is an equation for failure and burnout. The athletes of good youth coaches recognize the priority is individual improvement over victory itself - that winning is a byproduct of maximal effort and accomplished potential.



Competence

Competence

An intimate knowledge of the game, how it is played, and how it should be coached at various age levels are all strengths of Elmhurst Rugby. More importantly, our coaching staff are experienced educators in various capacities that understand the full specturm of developmental needs of youth in this age group. We also excel in our knowledge of instruction, ability to assess development to maximize motivation and potential, as well as a desire to coach the individual and not just the athlete.



Humility

Humility

We take great pride in securing the best coaches. Perhaps the greatest quality of each Elmhurst coach, however, is their recognition that there is still more to learn and an innate desire to collaborate and improve themselves. This quality not only enhances the caliber of coaching we provide, but models a trait for our young athletes that is possessed by few professional athletes and adults with professional jobs outside of sports.