CHAPEL HILL, NC – Since being founded in 2003, the Highlanders Rugby Club has built a history of success on and off the pitch. In an effort to continue to grow the sport of rugby in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham while also continuing to build upon their rich history, Highlanders Rugby has hired Ted Hardy in a part-time role as Youth Development Officer. Ted is tasked with working with the current Highlanders leadership, local schools and community organizations to build playing numbers. His primary focus is on growing participation in the 6-14 age range.
“ Ted comes with a very solid resume and has already had a big impact on the growth of rugby in North Carolina,” said Highlanders President Robert Joseph. “Getting a Youth Development Officer in place for Highlanders Youth Rugby is a huge milestone. Rugby is one of the fastest growing youth sports in the USA and in our state we have seen very significant growth over the last few years in Clayton, the RTP area and Charlotte at the Middle and Elementary School level.”
A Paramedic when not found on a rugby pitch, Hardy comes to the Highlanders from Clayton and brings with him a long resume that includes involvement in multiple youth and adult club rugby programs. Hardy started his playing career with the Akron (OH) RFC and comes with playing experience at all levels of rugby in the United States. Hardy also holds USA Rugby Level 200 Coaching Certification and has over ten years of coaching experience at the youth level as well as five years at the men’s level. Off the pitch, he brings a wealth of administrative experience to the Highlanders having started a youth program in Ohio and having served on the Board of Directors for multiple youth and adult clubs in his career. Hardy is currently the President of the Clayton Rugby Football Club (Men’s program) and serves as the Men’s Club Executive Director for the Carolinas Geographic Rugby Union.
“I’m thrilled to take on this role,” said Hardy. “I am honored that the Highlanders have put their trust in me to help grow their youth programs. My #1 goal is to grow rugby participation regardless of where I am. To have the resources to focus my efforts is a massive boost.”
Along with his domestic experience, Hardy also has ties to multiple clubs in Scotland and has a working relationship with a handful of Development Officers that he’ll draw from in establishing best practices as the Youth Development Officer for the Highlanders.
Hardy aims to hit the ground running. He’s currently working with multiple Chapel Hill area schools on using rugby in gym class and hosting “Rugby Day” activities to introduce the sport to boys and girls at each of the schools. Plans are also in motion for two Summer Youth Rugby Camps along with revamping Summer touch rugby sessions to integrate new youth players and parents into the mix. These programs will dovetail into a co-ed in-house Youth Rugby program this Fall for players ages 6-14. The end goal is having at least one team in each age group (U8-U14) participating in the Spring 2018 NCYRU season.
“I have no doubt that we can grow our youth section quickly,” added Hardy. “The coaches and parents that I’ve met are passionate and excited to see the Highlanders represented in every age group. I applaud the club for their forward thinking in establishing this position. The growth of youth rugby in the USA is going to involve the placement of YDO’s around the country to do exactly what is happening here. We’re getting ahead of that curve.”
To learn more about Highlanders Rugby Club, please visit our website at: http://www.highlandersrfc.org