JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s rugby program will open the 2015 season this fall with a new- but-familiar face at the helm, as former player Shaun Potgieter takes over as head coach.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to oversee the rugby program at Arkansas State University,” said Potgieter. “Arkansas State has been instrumental in my personal development and has exposed me to numerous opportunities and experiences. I am really excited to now give back to the university and students through this capacity.”
Potgieter (Pot-gee-ta) worked as an assistant coach last season, helping the Red Wolves to their third quest for a 7s national championship in May. A-State knocked off powerhouses Michigan, Texas and UCLA before losing a narrow decision to Arizona.
A five-time all-America pick, he also served as a captain of the team for several years as a player under four different coaches, including team founder Curt Huckaby.
During his Red Wolf career, Potgieter received all-America honors, while playing with the 2011 15s team against visiting universities from New Zealand, the 15s team in 2012 that toured Ireland, and twice in 2013 with the 15s team that toured New Zealand and the 7s team that won the Serevi Rugbytown tournament at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. He also represented Arkansas State on the 2014 all-America team, and was an honorable mention selection for the all-America 15s team in 2010.
In addition, as a team captain, he helped Arkansas State to capture two back-to-back national championships in 2012 and 2013.
Originally from South Africa, Potgieter graduated from Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, where he was also an outstanding basketball player. After graduation, he made the choice to attend Arkansas State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science.
“Choosing to come to the U.S., and attending Arkansas State University were the best decisions I have made,” he continued. “I am a Red Wolf at heart and am looking forward to taking the team to the next level.”
He played rugby at Arkansas State for five seasons, racking up numerous awards and achievements, including a USA 7s training camp call up and two USA Rugby D-1A 7s National Championships for Arkansas State.
Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness, Matt Huckaby stated, “Arkansas State is incredibly proud of Shaun’s path and body of work, and we are very excited to move our rugby program forward with him as the head coach. Shaun embodies the program’s success, culture and strong values and will look to instill these in the young men he works with.
“Furthermore, he has been exposed to great rugby in his previous roles. The team will be very excited to be exposed to the modern, cutting-edge rugby he will bring to practice every day. If I were an incoming freshman, I would definitely want to play for Coach P at Arkansas State University, period. ”
Potgieter resides in Jonesboro and is married to Jonesboro native and proud A-State alumna, the former Mollie Parker.
Huckaby will serve as the main point of contact for Arkansas State rugby for a while. Prospective or current players can contact him at: email@example.com or (870) 680-4050.