For a man who has witnessed rugby's expansion in America over the last 37 years, Mike Hodgins cannot help but look to the future. Always seeking out the next challenge and learning experience, Coach Hodgins is a prime example of the opportunities at hand for a person in love with rugby.
From being involved in the sport with various clubs in the Northeast Rugby Union to being a member of the USA Selection Staff, he truly has taken every opportunity to better himself as a player and a coach. Playing his first game in 1976 after being "turned off by high school football," Hodgins admits that he instantly fell in love with rugby and the challenge of learning a new sport. His first game was for the Genesee Creamers and since then has not stopped his journey to pursue the game he fell in love with.
After playing rugby for many years and becoming completely infatuated with the team aspect and culture of the game, Hodgins turned his attention to continuing his development in the game. He quickly pursued the management aspect of the sport. And, always willing to take on a challenge to learn more about rugby, Hodgins continues to become involved in every rugby course or lesson available.
Currently the head coach at the University at Buffalo, Hodgins has held various coaching positions around the Northeast for years, and is an IRB Level 3 Coach and Coach Educator. While living by one of his favorite pieces of advice, "never stop learning," Coach Hodgins tries to take in as much as he can from rugby and recently became a USA Rugby Coach Certification Course Leader.
"It sounded like a good challenge and it has given me the opportunity to expand my coaching knowledge and share that knowledge with other colleagues within the rugby community" says Hodgins.
As rugby grows in America, Hodgins understands the importance of becoming a USA Rugby certified coach saying, "The credentials are an important part of the professional development aspect of coaching."
And now, after so much involvement and completely giving his life over to rugby's growth, one may wonder what is still driving this man to pursue rugby's challenges. "Rugby is truly a lifetime sport, I want to stay involved and want to give back to the rugby community," Hodgins says of his continued involvement.
Looking back on his 37 years in rugby, Hodgins feels excited to continue his journey knowing that there is always something to learn and always more opportunities available.
Whether those opportunities come from a new coaching course or a chance to meet new friends at a local club, Mike Hodgins will be the first to raise his hand to learn and experience more.
While continuing to teach rugby wherever he may go, Hodgins admits he is more student than teacher, saying "Rugby has taught me to never have any regrets and never be afraid to go for it in life. That encompasses the true spirit of the game we all love."
To learn how you can become a certified coach, please click here.
By: Michael Garrity
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