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Irene Gardner Joins Stanford Rugby Staff

  • 12 Sep 2023
Irene Gardner Stanford Rugby

Stanford, CA – Stanford University Rugby Club announced the selection of the program’s newest assistant coach, Irene Gardner, a former USA Rugby National Team player and current Premier Rugby 7s professional coach.

“Stanford rugby is very fortunate to be able to add someone of Irene’s Caliber both as a player and as a coach,” Director of Rugby Richard Ashfield said. “I am confident she will help drive the program forward in both 7s and 15s, and i look forward to working with her.”

Gardner, a Bay Area native, has coached rugby at the local, collegiate, and national levels for nearly a decade, including for the Berkeley All Blues Women’s Rugby Club, University of San Francisco, and Legends Rugby Academy, a nonprofit organization for girls and women in rugby. Gardner is a USA Rugby 7s Pathway coach, and the head coach of the Rocky Mountain Experts in the Premier Rugby 7s professional league held in the summer months, including most recently at PayPal Park in San Jose this past July.

“I am honored to join the ranks of Stanford Rugby and work in partnership with Director of Rugby and Head Coach Richard Ashfield. I look forward to getting to know current, past, and future student athletes and supporters of the program.”


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“We are thrilled to welcome Irene Gardner to the Stanford Coaching staff. Irene’s four-year experience as a member of the USA Women’s 7s team, and her subsequent 7s coaching experience at the professional and international levels, make her uniquely qualified to positively impact both of our programs,” Denis Shanagher, head of Stanford Board, said. “In addition, her recent service as a member of the Board of Directors of USA Rugby will be invaluable. Most importantly, Irene has demonstrated the unique ability to lead and connect with our men’s and women’s athletes in a way that will enhance both their academic and athletic experience at Stanford. With Irene’s addition, we are confident that Stanford now has the best combination of coaches in USA college rugby.”

Coach Gardner is no stranger to Steuber Rugby Stadium and the Doyle Family Clubhouse, having first stepped foot on the pitch in 2004 as a visiting player and returning frequently to play or coach on Stanford grounds. She first joined the USA Rugby 7s National team in 2011 and made several international appearances, including the 2013 Rugby World Cup 7s, where she was a part of the bronze medal-winning team.

Gardner took the pitch as the official Assistant Coach with Stanford University’s Rugby Head Coach and new Director of Rugby, Richard Ashfield, on August 14.

“Stanford University is revered for its academics as well as all it offers its students and alumni beyond the classroom. I am excited to be a part of Stanford rugby as we introduce more students to this incredible sport and lifelong community,” said Coach Gardner.

Irene Gardner is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Alabama. She is also a registered dietitian and specialist in sports nutrition. Irene lives in San Francisco and is Married to Nick together, they have two children, Marvel and Myo.

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