The Williams Rugby Football Club (WRFC) was founded in the spring of 1959 by David Coughlin `61. He and a classmate had spent a year abroad in Britain and were inspired to create a rugby club at Williams. A few incoming freshman had also played rugby while studying in England in an ESU program. With that core of five players, Coughlin then recruited another dozen players to flesh out the side. The athletic department loosely supported the club in small ways by letting them use the varsity lacrosse field and giving the team old JV football practice jerseys, which were converted into game jerseys. The team was mostly supported financially and spiritually by its first coach, Peter Pearson, a Williams community member who had played for the Huddersfield RFC in England. The following fall, the WRFC was admitted to the Eastern Rugby Union (ERU) and won the ERU Championship in 1960 with a 5-0-1 record. The team really took off in 1961 when it went on tour to England, where Coughlin and Pearson designed the WRFC crest and decided upon the team’s colors, claret and gold, which were borrowed from Pearson’s old team, the Huddersfield RFC.
The Williams Rugby Football Club has been dedicated to learning, teaching, and playing rugby for 45 years. In fact, an overwhelming majority of our members had little to no experience when they first came down to the pitch. This tradition has created a long history of individual athletic achievement and close team unity. Playing in both the fall and the spring, the club has successfully competed against teams throughout New England, including Middlebury, the University of Vermont, and Amherst.
In addition, the WRFC is much more than just an ordinary athletic team. Formed under the motto, “Nihil in Moderato,” the club has always aspired to achieve a balance between the necessities of winning and of having fun. Since its inception, the club has been a completely student run organization with its members being responsible for all of its many activities. Our autonomy extends to running practice, scheduling games, organizing our many social events, and administering our own budget. This freedom, which is central to the spirit of the WRFC, has helped created a close-knit group of friends and alumni which cares about the club, its members, and the game of rugby.