BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby announced today Matt Hawkins will take over as Men’s Eagles Sevens head coach with a two-year contract, replacing Alex Magleby at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
“We wanted experience on the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series Circuit, and Matt obviously has several years’ experience on the circuit and has been part of the squad for a long time,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. “The Series is very unique in many ways; it’s incredibly challenging. Matt understands the demands of the circuit and the demands of the year.”
As an Eagle, Hawkins played in 37 rounds of the Sevens World Series, scoring 56 tries and 280 points. He captained the Eagles during their most successful campaigns in 2013, winning the Plate at Tokyo Sevens and Glasgow Sevens. Hawkins also led the team in their fight to be amongst the core teams for the 2013-14 Sevens World Series as they look ahead to qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.
“My approach to the Sevens program ever since I first joined way back when in 2006 was: I want to do anything I can in my capacity to help the program be better and be more successful,” Hawkins said. “Whatever that means, I’m happy to seek out that role and perform that role. This is that next role for me and I’m extremely excited about the opportunity and look forward to it.”
Hawkins has coached San Diego State University and works with Serevi Rugby as the director of California. After sustaining an injury in 2009, Hawkins also helped coach Belmont Shore Sevens during their run of two Club Sevens National Championships in three years in 2009 and 2011.
“I’ve had a lot of coaching roles in the past five or six years, but within that I’ve had a pretty decent leadership role with the Eagles over the past three or four years,” Hawkins said. “That’s allowed me to fall into that role quite a bit and it’s something I enjoy. I like doing it as part of the team, it’s something I’ve done naturally and it’s something I’ll be allowed to continue doing on a full-time basis.”
With the 2013-14 Sevens World Series starting in Australia in October, Hawkins will look to hit the ground running immediately with scouting opportunities at Serevi Rugby Camps and the 2013 Fly Emirates Men’s Club Sevens National Championship.
“If there are people who stand out, I definitely want to get them in here as soon as I can and see how they fit into what we’re doing,” Hawkins said. “There’s been a progression over the course of the past two years ever since we’ve been contracted. I’ve been a part of it and have seen it develop, so I understand it, and now I’ve got to take that and tweak it to what I think it needs to be. The biggest thing is keeping the continuity and the consistency we’ve had.”
Magleby joined the Eagles as head coach for the final four rounds of the 2011-12 Sevens World Series and amassed a 23-2-48 record during his tenure of 73 matches (not including the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens).
“[Magleby] is a really analytical guy and he understands that part of the game well,” Hawkins said. “I think he created a good team culture amongst the guys, so I want to expand on that. I think Mags is a great guy, we’ve spent a lot of time together and learned a lot together. It was a great experience working with him and he’s one of the better coaches I’ve had in the past.”