GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The highly successful women’s rugby program at Davenport University has announced that they will be joining the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) to align with other NCAA institutions in a sport that has been classified as emerging towards NCAA sponsorship. The NIRA mission statement tells you why Davenport is excited to be joining forces.
“The mission of the Association shall be to encourage the introduction, teaching, promotion, and understanding of the sport of women’s rugby and undertake other activities incidental or conducive to the furtherance of these objects. The overarching goal of the Association is to help support the growth of women’s rugby nationally to attain NCAA Championship status. NIRA brings together institutions of higher education that compete at the highest levels of intercollegiate women’s rugby in the United States. The Association seeks, to organize, manage, and promote the sport of intercollegiate women’s rugby, and to annually hold a postseason NIRA championship in all three divisions.”
Davenport’s women’s rugby team has competed as a program dating back to its first season in 2013-14. The program has flourished under head coach Greg Teliczan, the only head coach in program history. Teliczan has won 139 matches through the end of the 2020-21 season and was named the 2015-2016 National Coach of the Year. The women’s rugby program has captured the USA Rugby 7s Championship in 2015-16, the ACRA Rugby 7s Championship twice (2014-15, 2016-17), and the USA Rugby 15s Championship three times (2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 Fall).
“Coach Teliczan has done an amazing job with our women’s rugby program. He has put our program in a position to make a seamless and successful transition to the NCAA. We are very excited and look forward to competing at the NCAA level next year,” said Paul Lowden, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Davenport will be joining other NCAA Division II schools already in the association including Newberry, Alderson Broaddus, American International, Lander, New Haven, Post, Queens, and West Chester.