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Chou Interview Extras

  • 31 Jul 2018

The summer actually started with a DI Elite SF win over Penn State (Photo courtesy Life Univ Athletics)

I recently interviewed Ros Chou to learn more about the WPL All-Star Game and the East’s win (read more), but as has been the case during several conversations this past month, I marveled at the density of the coach’s summer schedule. I addressed the topic generally in Emily Record’s interview (read more) but Chou could have easily supplied the same “no rest for the weary” storyline.

As head coach of Life University, a DI Elite program, the school year ends with this utterly insane month. The Running Eagles contest the DI Elite 15s final four (SoCal), USA Rugby College 7s Championship (Glendale, Colo.) and CRC 7s (Philly) with a gap weekend between each fixture (Penn State and Lindenwood also follow this schedule). Chou and several of Life’s athletes were then invited to the Women’s Collegiate All-American (WCAA) 15s camp at Dartmouth College in June.

“I was so excited and humbled to work alongside Kate [Daley], [Katie] Dowty, Mel [Denham] and Jamie [Burke],” Chou said of the first interaction with this age-grade program.

Rob Cain, the newly appointed USA 15s head coach, could not attend this assembly in person; however, he did communicate extensively with the WCAA staff in preparation of camp. Chou indicated it was challenging “and a lot of hard work learning a new coach’s principles and how he wants things to run, but all together, we did the best we could,” and the players sent good feedback.

No one has replaced Sue Whitwell as WCAA 15s head coach yet, and so the assembly was run by committee essentially. That, too, was a challenge but the staff kept the experience of the athletes at the center of concern, and that guiding principle helped.

Chou then hosted her favorite event of the year, the Life University Rugby Camp for high schoolers, followed by a trip to Tennessee to host a camp for the Memphis Inner City Rugby program. Chou then took on an additional role when a coaching vacancy appeared for the WPL All-Star Game, a fixture dear to the coach’s heart. Originally serving as an assistant manager, Chou was promoted into the East head coaching role and hustled to catch up: read more. In Denver, Chou met Cain face to face.

“Rob’s getting the lay of the land. He trusts Emilie [Bydwell] to introduce him to a number of coaches at all levels and from everywhere. He’ll see all the WPL teams during the season and get to know their coaches, and also meet certain college program coaches. So we’ll see where that leads,” Chou said.

The day after the WPL All-Star Game, the Atlanta Harlequins announced that Chou would join the WPL staff as assistant coach to Kitt Ruiz, who served as WPL All-Star West coach and has also joined Life University as Chou’s assistant coach.

“We joke that I’m the boss in the day time and she’s the boss at night,” Chou said of the collaboration with Ruiz.

So there’s a lot of activity in the Atlanta region right now. The Quins 7s team is preparing for club 7s nationals in New York City. Chou is currently corresponding with incoming first-years and preparing them for life at Life. Simultaneously, rising high school seniors are filling out contact forms and inquiring about next year’s admissions, while Chou starts evaluating what the squad might need in 2019-20.

And WPL practices begin tonight. Chou was excited to see five of the six Life graduates signing up for the Quins as well as alumnae Christina Swift and Gracie Martinez returning to the area. The coach also noted that UCF’s two captains, recent grads Julia Phillips and Cortney Kuehl (who had great chemistry with Kaitlyn Broughton at WCAA camp), relocating to Georgia from Florida.

So yeah, busy.

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