Rochester Aardvarks History|
The Rochester Aardvarks Rugby Football Club was established in the spring
of 1966. The founders who had just returned from college, where they were introduced to rugby, wanted to continue
the sport they found so appealing and create a local presence for
Rugby. Phil Grannan played at Notre Dame and was working for IBM in
Rochester. Hudson Fowler had played for the Cayahozo Blues from
Cleveland and was going to the Eastman Dental School.
Phil and Hudson scrounged around in
bars, at the U of R, and where ever to find players to In
addition, they contacted a local newspaper to generate publicity about
Rugby and the Rochester Aardvarks Rugby Club. A reporter came out to
practice to gather information. During the interview, the reporter,
asked "What the club called themselves?" No one had a clue,
so Chuck Koltoff offered up "Aardvarks, and that it has
been that ever since, please don't change that too." By the way
Chuck Koltoff is a dentist in Brockport, NY.
The Dental School connection was extremely effective in the early
years getting excellent foreign players on the team. The Aardvarks had
a great advantage over nearly everyone we played because of the two or
so British players on the team. They were usually in the skill
positions, fly half, hooker, flanker, scrum half. They were great
leaders and teachers as well as great players.
In 1980 the Rochester Aardvarks took their first International Tour to Great Britain.
In 1986 the Rochester Aardvarks celebrated their 20th Anniversary.
In 1987 the Rochester Aardvarks purchased the land for Aardvark Park and began construction on the facility.
In 2006 the Rochester Aardvarks celbrated their 40th Anniversary at the Annual Green/Gold Game. Representatives
from all four decades were on hand and at least one participated in the over 30 verus under 30 match. The game was followed
by a catered dinner and music, stories were told and friendships renewed as the event lasted long into the night.
||WHO HOLDS THE RECORD?
|Points in one year
|Points in one season
|Points in one game
|Tries in one year
|Tries in one season
|Tries in one game
While playing Association Football (do any of you know that soccer come
from this term; Association football?) at Rugby School of England in 1823,
William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in his hands and ran with it.
This sparked an interest, leading to the creation of
rugby. Cambridge University immediately adopted the game,
popularized it and made local rules. The game grew
popular at area schools and in 1871, ten years after the
common rules of soccer were set, the first Rugby Union
was founded in London and firm rules of the game were
In 1895 rugby clubs in northern England called for
compensation of lost wages for players. The Rugby League
was founded as a result and a 13-player game with altered
rules were created for professionals.
Rugby spread across the globe and competition emerged
between countries. In the United States, the game emerged
primarily on the West Coast. The lack of precise rules,
ambiguities in the game and complexity of the sport drew
a lot of United States players away from the game and
major changes were invoked.
In 1880 the scrum was replaced by a line of scrimmage,
drawing emphasis from the free-running characteristic of
the game. The game continued to play with rugby rules
until 1905 where the publication of photographs of a
harsh game between Sarthmore and Pennsylvania created a
stir. President Theodore Roosevelt insisted on reform of
the game to lower the brutality with threat of abolishing
the game by edict. In 1906 the forward pass was
introduced to the United States game. The rules of rugby
died and the game of American football was born.
Rugby continued to flourish elsewhere, with especial
regard to Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South
Africa. Although a handful of clubs remained in the
United States, rugby did not reemerge until the 1960s.
College campuses turned to the sport because it was one
where many could play and escape the rigid discipline and
professionalism inherent in college football. Minimal
costs, constant action and the opportunity for frequent
play with a primary emphasis on fun also attracted many.
The number of clubs grew from about 80 to over 1,000
between 1964 and 1980.
The United States of America Rugby Football Union (USARFU)
was formed in 1975, creating added recognition and a
measure of organization. The sport continues to grow and
now played in over 80 countries worldwide. The rules of
rugby continue to evolve and amateurism remains as the
dominant characteristic, even though the sport is
professional at the top level.
The game turned semi-professional in the United States in
1995 with the formation of the National Super League, a 2-division
league made up by 14 clubs from all parts of the country.
Not sanctioned by USARFU, the league split into East and
West Divisions, and now has 16 members, continuing to
provide top quality competition for the clubs involved.