John Willihan Remembers Vic Coudriet

One of Western Rugby Alumni’s great supporters and former WWU and Chuckanut Bay  rugby player, Vic Coudriet passed away last week and friends put together a memorial for Vic that took place Saturday, January 17, 2015 in Bellingham.

Not everyone who wanted to be there could make it and one of those people was Big John Willahan who now lives and works in Alaska.  John set me this e-mail and wanted me to read it at the memorial, which I did.  What follows is the text of John’s message:

“Hey Dumper,

Just read in your WWU Rugby newsletter about Commander. That was sad news. He was one of a kind, a great guy, no BS straight shooter, philosopher with a great sense of humor. One of my heroes and favorites during my 15 years in Bellingham.

I’ll always remember how we mobbed Vic in congratulations during the game in Roscrea, Ireland on the 1984 tour, when he scored a try after not having played for a number of years (he was one of the older Chuckanut boys on the tour at the time at the ripe old age of maybe 37).

On the flight over the boys had gotten a bit out of hand, so on the flight home we were on a pretty strict probation and limited on the number of drinks we were allowed. I went up to the drink station to find myself cut off. On the way back to my seat I told Vic about the situation and between us we cooked up a solution. I put on my new Irish wool sweater, borrowed Vic’s glasses and his new Irish tweed cap and went back to the drink line. Using an English accent I ordered what all of the Brits in front of me were ordering (Vodka-Lemon Please!) from the same stewardess that had just cut me off. I walked back down the aisle with my drink to an ovation from the other passengers (who had witnessed the whole show) and got a cheers for a well executed plan from Vic as I gave him back his hat and glasses.

In the mid to late 1980s I spent a good deal of time in the Cocoanut Grove, and a good bit of that time on a barstool next to Commander discussing rugby, philosophy, and life in general. Vic was intelligent, deep thinking, funny, and a no bull crap guy. You knew where he stood on things (for instance he was definitely a Viking Rugger, when I’d talk about the Warthogs he would inform me that we were the Vikings–there were a couple of beer fueled philosophical discussions on this topic).

I remember once, before he was married, over at his house (an old victorian with tall ceilings about a block away from the Grove) he picked up a golf club and whacked a golfball across the room, embedding it into the plaster of his wall (the wall was pockmarked with holes). As I recall he said something like “The nice thing about being single is that I can come home at three in the morning and do this in my underwear”.

I drove out to Milt’s Cain Lake fishing derby with Commander a couple of times (I still have my “Controversial T-Shirt” from the 1988 derby in a tub somewhere–should probably get rid of it before my daughters find it after I’m gone). I remember singing with Vic on the way down and at Cain Lake (and on tours or occasionally a line or two at the Grove)–stuff like El Paso and Sloop John B. He knew a ton of early ’60s songs.

After I moved up to Alaska I was only in Bellingham about every 5 years or so, but I always made a trip out to the Grove and saw Vic. I did manage to see him for a few minutes last spring, Milt said something about his cancer, but you never think anyone is actually going to go.

Anyway, it was great seeing you and everyone last March. Give my condolences to Vic’s family and the boys (especially to Milt, I know they were best pals from High School). Hoist one or a number of beers to Commander tomorrow and sing a song or two, he was a damn great guy and deserves the best of send offs!”

John Willahan

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Ready for Kick-off to the 2015 NCRC Spring Season

The Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) 15’s season is upon us.  After a spectacular year for the Viking 7’s team in the fall, and a very helpful, very useful 15’s fall season in the BC Rugby Union U-20’s, the boys are ready to roll into the NCRC 15’s season.

At last summer’s NCRC Conference meetings there were several proposals that were voted on but the one that may have the greatest impact is the decision to have each team play every other team in the league.

So this year Western will have three home NCRC matches:  Western Oregon, Central Washington, and Eastern Washington.  The Vikings will hit the road against: UW, Oregon, WSU, and Boise State.  It should be an interesting season.

With the simplified schedule in mind the Vikings started their spring season on January 3rd when the coaches held a training session for those players that had returned from their holiday breaks a little early.  The dorms didn’t open until the 4th, classes didn’t start until January 6th, and with all that in mind, there were a surprising number of players at the training session on the 3rd.  The formal workouts began on January 6th and 8th, and Saturday, the 10th, started with a classroom “chalkboard” session this past Saturday followed by a two hour workout which was completed in time for everyone to watch the Seahawks playoff game.

Talking with Head Coach Paul Horne, the coaching group (all volunteers) are pretty high on the group of athletes they have this year.  There are a couple of injuries that they are dealing with but with the depth of this program, and the schedule they played last fall, there won’t be any drop off at all.

Coach Horne cited the work and efforts of Dan Ashworth (So, Lynden HS, Lynden, WA) a four year veteran of the Chuckanut Bay junior program, Noah Hanks (Fr, Peninsula HS, Gig Harbor, WA), Nick Bonovich (So, Dixon HS, Dixon, CA), Anthony Fleck (Fr, Ferndale HS, Ferndale, WA) a 6 year vet of the Chuckanut Bay youth program, and the whole of the forward pack as having great training sessions this year.

This Saturday’s match, January 17, 2015, against Western Oregon will be a great test for the WWU Men’s Rugby Club as they try and leave the 2013/2014 season behind.  It should be a great, huge step into the future for the Club.

Come out and join the boys as they play their first 15’s match ever on WWU’s new Harrington Field.  The first XV will kick-off at 1:00 pm followed by the second XV kick-off at 2:30 pm.


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Schedule Changes

The schedule has changed for a couple of the upcoming games.

The match with the University of Puget Sound (UPS) had been moved to the UPS campus at 1500 North Warner St, Tacoma, 98416.

The best way to get there is to tank Highway 16 like you’re heading to Gig Harbor.  A couple of miles before you get to the Narrows Bridge, take the Pt. Defiance/ 6th Avenue exit and get in the far right lane.  Take a right on 6th Avenue, heading into Tacoma.  Take a left on N. Union Avenue and head north.  You should run into the south end of the UPS campus after several blocks.  You’ll notice the baseball field on your right and some other athletic fields.  Not sure which field the game will be played on.

The 15′s U-20 match against the UBC Old Boys Ravens has been moved from Saturday, October 18th, to Tuesday evening, October 14th.  The kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm and the match will take pace on Harrington Field.

Keep and eye on the WWU Men’s Rugby Fan Page for any last minute changes.  We will publish those changes here as well.

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Who Wants Seahawks vs Broncos Tickets?

Last May the Western Rugby Alumni & Friends held their annual Dinner/Auction in support of WWU Men’s Rugby Club.  One of the items donated for auction were four (4) tickets to the Super Bowl rematch game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos which will be played this Sunday, September 21, 2014.

The person who bought those tickets is now unable to attend the game and has offered these tickets back to Western Rugby Alumni to do with as we wish, so we are going to auction these tickets off again.

The seats are on the 40-yard line, lower level, eastside of the stadium.

The tickets DO NOT come with a parking pass.

If you would like to bid on these tickets go to the “Western Rugby Alumni” Facebook page, find the entry announcing the ticket sale and enter your bid.

Bidding will end by 6:00 pm Saturday evening and the tickets will be delivered to you almost anywhere in Western Washington once you have been notified and we have worked out payment arrangements.

Western Rugby Alumni are a 501(c)(3)charitable organization so any amount you bid over the face value of the tickets is deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.  Check with your tax preparer for more detailed information.

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New Zealand All Blacks Profiled On CBS’s “60 Minutes”

As we’re about a year away from the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England it was interesting to see CBS and “60 Minutes – Sports” profile the New Zealand All Blacks.

The story gives us some insight into the mindset of the people of New Zealand and their unbridled support of their national team, The all Blacks.

Click on this link to see CBS’s “60 Minutes” report:  “The New Zealand All Blacks”


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Golf Tourney Only A Month Away…

For those of you who are thinking about playing in the Western Rugby Alumni & Friends Golf Tourney, Saturday, September 20, 2014, at the North Bellingham Golf Course…  Time’s a wastin’…

Last year’s event was a hoot and it was good to see all the friends and alumni from days gone by.  Don’t miss this years’ version, get on the phone and round up a team and enter the dang thing.

Go to the “Events” tab on the website and you’ll see a “Golf Tournament” tab describing the tournament and another tab that will allow you to sign up and pay for individually or you can sign up your team.

The “Golf Tourney Sign-Up” tab will also let you contribute even if you have a conflict that weekend and can’t make it.

Remember, your contribution, less what it costs for the meal, the round of golf, and anything else we provide, is deductible on your taxes since we are a genuine 501 c 3 organization.

Thanks, and get in there and “get ‘er done!”.  Sign-up today…and thanks for your contributions and participation.


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Blue and White Dinner/Auction A Huge Success

It has been a month since the Western Rugby Alumni “Blue and White Dinner Auction” took place on the campus of Bellingham Technical College at Settlemyer Hall, May 17, 2014.  This year’s event featured an Italian themed buffet dinner, a wine bar, and beer which was provided by Boundary Bay, and of course, a huge array of items in the Live and Silent Auctions.

It was an incredible evening that was better attended than last year and with the Auction Committee’s dedicated work, especially that of event Chairman Jeff Lombard and the Silent Auction team of Kay Kennedy and her dedicated minion, husband Ned Kennedy, the event was a huge financial success for the Western Rugby Alumni as they were able to add close to $35,000 to their bank account. Continue reading

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Blue & White Dinner Auction Two Weeks Away

The 2nd Annual Blue & White Dinner Auction is only two weeks away.

It will all happen beginning Saturday, May 17, 2014, at 5:30 pm, the Settlemyer Center on the campus of Bellingham Technical College, 3208 Lindberg Ave., Bellingham, WA  98225

This year’s auction has been underwritten by Preston Worth to the tune of $5,000 and Preston says that his donation is…”in memory of the passing of one of our own, Al Needler”.

Preston will be there, how about you?  You need to be there, too, you need to sign up now…Click here to sign-up:  I WILL BE THERE

The evening promises to be a great one, Auction Committee Chair, Jeff Lombard, and his crew have done an amazing job again this year in organizing everything.

Auctioneer/MC Paul Horne will keep things lively and moving, there will be lots of items to bid on in the Silent Auction, and the Live Auction will have some special items as well.

The boys from the WWU Men’s Rugby Club will be there to assist where needed so you’ll get a chance to meet the team and hear about next year’s dreams, plans, and goals.

You can still donate items for the auctions… Click here to do that:  Donate

It is all for a great cause…support the WWU Men’s Rugby program through the Western Rugby Alumni!


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They’re Laying Down The Turf!

Yee haw….They started laying down the turf on the new ‘all-purpose’ field last week.  Click on this link to a Bellingham Herald video of the project.

The field is looking pretty cool and they are making good progress.  Here are a couple of pics.  Note:  The lines for rugby are blue and the soccer lines are white.  And yes, there are holes in place for goal posts.

South end of the new field

South end of the new field

Note the blue end line for the "in goal" area  You can also see the "goal line", the "cap" for the goal post, and the dashed "5 meter line" parallel to the goal line.

Note the blue end line for the “in goal” area You can also see the “goal line”, the “cap” for the goal post, and the dashed “5 meter line” parallel to the goal line.

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The Player’s Year End Banquet

The Western Rugby Alumni are proud to host “The Player’s Year End Banquet” to honor all of those student athletes from WWU and Whatcom Community College that participated in the 2013/2014 WWU Men’s Rugby Club program.

The gathering will be held at:  Wednesday, April 9th at Jalapenos in Barkley Village, 2945 Newmarket Pl Bellingham, WA 9822, from 6:30 pm until 9:00 pm

We will be saying goodbye to our seniors, handing out awards, and welcoming the 2014/2015 Club Officers.  Some of the awards are voted on by the players and the coaches will give out individual awards as well.


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