Coaches of the UCONN Rugby Team
Coach Merola began his rugby playing career at the University of Connecticut and now returns full circle as Head Coach. After graduating from UConn he joined the Hartford Wanderers Men’s Club where he held various team positions such President/Treasure/Captain and Coach until through the mid-90s. As player he was also selected to New England Rugby Union (NERFU) and NERFU Northeast All Stars teams.
Coach Merola started his collegiate coaching career at Trinity College Hartford (1995-2015) during which he organized and coordinated three international tours to England/Wales (1998) and Ireland (2001, 2005).
Coach is a USA Rugby Certified Level 200 Coach which includes safety and health training (concussion recognition/treatment), practice and game skills planning. He is also CPR certified and member New England Rugby Referee Society.
Additional Coaching duties include Head Rugby Coach for Connecticut High School U-19 All Star Team (2010-2013) and Assistant CT U19 Coach (2015-2016).
Worcester RFC 1979-1981 Charter Member. I played Flanker.
Hartford Wanderers RFC 1981-2000 I played Flanker & #8.
HWRFC President 1997-1999
New England Rugby Referees Society 2000-Present, Attained B3 Grade
I’m currently a member of the Worcester Old Boys and the Wanderers and play as time and body permits.
As far as coaching goes, this is my first experience coaching rugby. I have coached Basketball and Lacrosse at the youth level. I feel honored to be working with Coach Merola and the student athletes at UConn. I’m currently working on my level 1 coaching certification and should have that in hand in the next couple weeks.
Played lock for Southern CT State University, New Haven Old Black and the Connecticut Grey RFC from 1981-2005. Toured in Scotland, Ireland, Barbados.
Rob began his rugby career in 1987 at the University of Connecticut (UConn), and it was during his undergraduate studies that he participated in an internship in Perth, Western Australia, where he worked for both the Golden Oldies Rugby Festival Organizing Committee and the West Australian Rugby Union (now RugbyWA).
On the field, Rob played at UConn and then the Hartford Wanderers RFC, with brief stints at Cottesloe RFC while living in Perth, and at OMBAC in San Diego. Rob represented the Northeast Rugby Union at the USA All-Star 7’s Tournament, and was invited to the USA Eagles 7’s Selection Camp in 1999.
In 2007-08, Rob was appointed Manager of the USA U-19 team, managing all aspects of administration and logistics. In 2015, Rob assisted with video analysis for the USA Eagles 7s, doing opposition analysis, and in 2016 assisted with opposition analysis of pool opponents in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He is also is on the staff at the Northeast Academy, a National Development Academy, where he has held multiple roles in video analysis, team management, operations, and marketing/communications.
Rob has served as backs coach for the Hartford Wanderers, and has served as a backs coach and 7s coach for UConn over several periods since 2004. He also coaches the Wethersfield Youth Rugby side.
Coach Joe Nollet played for Beacon Hill Rugby Club from 1979 – 87 mixed with years away at grad school playing for University of Florida and Princeton Athletic Club. Played for Hartford Wanderers 1988-91. With BHRFC selected to NERFU All Stars and played on international tours to England/Wales and New Zealand/Australia. Coach previously was an NATA Certified Athletic Trainer and NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist; he now is pastor of a church on the UConn campus.
Coach Bob Huscher began his rugby playing career at Southern Connecticut State University. After graduating he played with the New Haven Old Black Men’s Club from 1989-2004, winning a National Championship in 2002. As player, he was also selected to New England Rugby Union (NERFU) and NERFU Northeast All Stars team playing against the Canadian National Development side and the Bermuda National Team.
Coach Huscher started his collegiate coaching career at SCSU in 2002 and the New Haven Men’s Rugby Club (2013-2015) and is a USA Rugby Certified Level 200 Coach.
Additional Rugby duties include Coach- Cheshire Rugby U-14’s, and New Haven Rugby and Cheshire Rugby Board of Directors.
Coach Huda began his rugby playing career at Plymouth State College in 1984 before transferring to Southern Connecticut State University where he played for three years. While serving as captain of the team his senior year, he was selected to the New England Rugby Football Union Collegiate Select Side. After graduating SCSU, he played with the New Haven Old Black Men’s Club from 1988-1998. Huda was part of the early years of the team and helped build Old Black Rugby to a competitive side. Eventually, the organization won a D II Eastern Conference Championship and continued to move forward to play in DI. As a lock, he was selected to the New England Rugby Union (NERFU) All Stars team, playing against the Dutch Touring side and the Bermuda National Team.
Mike Huda coached the Southern Connecticut State University Men’s Rugby club in 1996. As a teacher and parent he enjoyed coaching youth sports. Coach Huda is excited to get back into rugby and be a part of a strong organization at UCONN.
Fall 2020 Roster
|Adam Stine||Wing||SO||Simsbury, CT||Simsbury High School|
|Alex Nanai||Hooker||SR||Greenwich, CT||Greenwich High School|
|Andrew Nanai||Eight, Flanker||Sophomore||Greenwich, CT||Greenwich High school|
|Ben Klau (C)||Flanker||SO||Westport, CT||Staples High School|
|Brady Noniewicz||Wing, Center||SO||Colchester, CT||Bacon Academy|
|Brandon Basdeo||Hooker, Prop, Flanker||SR||Plainsboro, NJ||West Windsor Plainsboro South|
|Chris Loring||Hooker, Prop||SR||Southington, CT||Academy of Aerospace and Engineering|
|Ethan Beri (C)||Center, Scrum-Half||JR||Fairfield, CT||Fairfield Ludlowe High School|
|Finbar Doyle (C)||Fullback||JR||Greenwich, CT||Greenwich high school|
|Jackson Chard||Wing||Sophomore||Avon, CT||Avon High School|
|Jamie Santore||SR||Hamden, CT||Hamden High School|
|Juan Colberg-Martinez||SO||Guilford, CT||Guilford High school|
|Logan Adams||Center||SO||Wallingford CT||Mark T Sheehan High School|
|Matt Lawler||Prop, Lock||SR||West Bridgewater, MA||West Bridgewater High School|
|Matthew Ternullo||Wing, Scrum-Half||SR||Billerica, MA||Billerica Memorial High School|
|Michael Savio||Lock, Flanker||SR||Seaford, NY||Seaford High School|
|Nicholas Kerr||Wing, Center||SR||Bloomfield, CT||Bloomfield High School|
|Nico Matejak||Lock, Flanker||JR||Greenwich, CT||Greenwich High School|
|Oliver Bogan||Wing, Center||SR||Fairfield, CT||Fairfield Warde High School|
|Peter Stokes||Fullback, Fly-Half||JR||Ridgefield, CT||Ridgefield High School|
|Ryerson Hill||Flanker||SO||Sprague, CT||Norwich Free Academy|
|Scott Gaffney||Wing||SR||Southbury, CT||Pomperaug High School|