The Denville Dawgs
Denville Dawgs play in the Morris Youth rugby league and invite kids from kindergarten through the 9th grade to join in this exciting and fast moving sport. Running, passing, kicking, teamwork and self confidence are a few of the things you will experience in this fast growing non-contact flag version of one of the most popular sports in the world.
The idea of starting a youth rugby program in Morris County first struck Tom Feury at the 1998 Can-Am Rugby tournament in Saranac Lake. It was here that his oldest child Blaze, then 6, participated in a youth rugby clinic organized by Pat Walsh who was then the pioneer of touch rugby in the Baltimore area. With the future of the Morris Old Boys in doubt and A side play beginning to take its toll on Feury's aging body, youth rugby appeared to be a new potential career extender.
Tom spent the next several months securing the permission to run a summer youth rugby program in his hometown of Denville NJ. It was an uphill battle gaining access to fields and becoming an accepted town recreation program, but the battle was won and plans were put in place to start the first Morris Youth Rugby Program in Denville in the summer of 1999. The first priority was to recruit enough children to make the program feasible. Luckily, the Feury's had met several other Denville families through their kids other athletic pursuits and convinced several to sign on. It was also key that several other Morris ruggers lived in town including Gerry Francisco, Rick Merrill, and William Dobbs, all of which contributed kids, coaching skills, or both. The final and most important recruitment tool was getting an application and flyer sent home to all the elementary school kids in town. In the end, 28 applications were received.
Peter Glanvill, then the men's side coach, stepped in to help organize the training sessions. The kids were broken into 2 divisions: Kindergarten through 3rd grade and 4th through 8th grade. The program was run as a clinic and Peter had the sessions well organized with three stations for each kid to pass through, each keying on different rugby skills. Mike Stumpf developed an excellent video entitled "What is Rugby? A Youth Rugby Orientation" which helped tremendously in getting the concept across to kids and parents alike. In the end, the season was considered a success as the parents raved about the great coaching kids received the how much more organized rugby appeared to be to be than some other sports their kids participated in. Not a bad complement for a sport many consider to appear quite unorganized!