History

 
Rick Humm was a key person to the establishment of CSUMB Rugby, first and foremost a men’s team, in 1995. He was the first Director/Chair of what was then a combined PE, Health and Recreation department (Wellness, Recreation, and Sports Institute at CSUMB) overseeing the nascent athletic dept. The women’s team was started up officially in 1997. Naturally, the club struggled with numbers during the very first years of the club, so the men and women of the program would go to UC Santa Cruz on Saturdays and combine with their rugby team to gain experience. When CSUMB Men’s Rugby was fielded officially in 1996, it was one of only three official intercollegiate sports at the school, along with Men’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball. Rick Humm was the club’s head coach while Alatini Saulala and Dan Porter would come out and help as well.
Rick left CSUMB to manage USA Eagles in 1999. He is the reason that a men and women’s teams started up. The men’s team had varsity sports status with scholarship opportunities and funding in the year of 1998-1999, perhaps the previous year as well. The women’s team never got to be that level and to this day, the student-run teams are dependant on donations and fundrais
Carolyn Drouin nicknamed “Red” in the rugby community, much like our forward, debuting in 2017, Alyssa Clifford aka Big Red. Carolyn graduated from CSUMB in 2003.  After her graduation, she spent two years to study for law school while continuing to run with the team for non-league games. She moved to San Francisco in 2005 for law school and joined the Fogs team her last year of law school in 2007-2008. During her freshman year (98-99), Rick Humm was the head coach while Alatini and Dan Porter would come out and help as well. She mentions that the three of them would mostly coach the men’s team, but they would welcome the women’s team to join the men’s practices.
The men varsity team managed to get a scum-machine which was used by both teams. Carolyn says the women’s team used it for a couple of years after Rick left, but unfortunately, someone in the school administration sold it. There used to be a regulation-sized field over by what today is rebuilt as Marina Shopping Center. The teams would practice on that field until they started utilizing the tennis courts that are located in East Campus. For one year, the teams also played their games by those tennis courts. There used to be a shed there where the club used to storage the scrum machine. The scrum machine could either be filled up with water or be stuck into the ground for resistance. Carolyn suspects it got sold around 2000-2001.

As the women’s team continued on a few years after student coach and captain Carolyn Drouin graduated, she highlights that it was hard to run a club that doesn’t have much support from the administration, no funding, and no coach. Being intrigued by rugby from a televised men’s Stanford team and learning that CSUMB had a men’s team, Carrie got motivated to play and start a women’s team. She says that the first year of the CSUMB women’s rugby, the team had approximately 10-11 women scraping together whoever they could gather.

Rick Humm left the club in the late 90s while Coach Alatini would come out when he could to help out with practices. According to Carolyn, after the fall of 1999, the club, unfortunately, didn’t see Alatini anymore. Transfer student Andy Pugno had been playing rugby his freshman year at San Jose State and was trying to keep the men’s team going after the head coaches had left and the team did no longer have varsity status. Unfortunately, with the lack of funding and drive, the men’s team collapsed in the fall of 1999. Andy Pugno would still help out the women’s team, but Carolyn Drouin and Jennifer (Golomb) Martinez were the ones to do all the official organizing in the fall of 1999. Martinez had played rugby in high school in Sacramento, which brought a big asset to the young CSUMB team.
After the men’s team collapsed, for some time the women’s team were using the old men’s long sleeve jerseys that were white and green striped. Fun fact quote from Carolyn: “You had to be careful because the cuff right around the wrist would give you a really bad rug burn under your nose if you used it to wipe your nose”. The women’s team got a grant from the Inter-Club Council (ICC) in 2001-2002 to buy new matching sweatshirts. The team fundraised money to buy new short-sleeved green and white uniforms. Unfortunately, there are no close-up images available of those new jerseys, except the team photo taken in 2003 at an away game against St. Mary’s. According to Carolyn, the school’s graphics department had designed the logo that was on these new jerseys; the otter holding a rugby ball, taking a bite out of the ball.
During these early years of the women’s team history, the team played in a league with teams like Santa Cruz, San Jose, Reno in the ‘B’-league of Northern California, much similar to the league the current women’s team is in; ‘West Coast Collegiate Women’s Division II’. The women’s team traveled twice to the annual tournament in Santa Barbara. The first year, the team purposely combined with San Jose State due to a shortage of numbers. The next year (2003), the team thought they would have enough players without meshing with another team, but the team turned out to lack players in the last minute which resulted in a co-team again with the San Jose Spartans. “Some of us would play from 8 am to 5 in the afternoon with like 10-minute breaks in between games. It was insane!”, says Carolyn. The team was determined to finish the tournament even though it was a struggle to get enough players to make a team, which is why the Otters had joined the Spartans and made it to the finals representing San Jose State playing against Berkeley. The team managed to pay for expenses with the effort of a lot of fundraisers. A different kind of fundraising was when the women’s team set up a “massage station” by donations on the campus’ main quad.
“There was a referee that used to come out and we would beg ‘we don’t have a ref, could you please come out?’ and he would help us out a lot!” says Carolyn. This referee was no less than the devoted and dedicated Larry Freitas. Larry is still refereeing a lot of CSUMB’s rugby games today (2018) as he is a referee under the NorCal Rugby Union Referee Society. He volunteers to many of our events and is a big asset to our club.
Upon her graduation, Carrie had been selected for the President’s Award for her “Student Government” involvement and her Rugby Leadership. During her graduation speech the words “rugby whores” were mentioned as a shoutout to her team, a well-known phrase amongst her teammates, not so much to everyone else. The words basically represent the love one has for the sport, that you will go and play for other teams a.k.a. ‘whore’ yourself out. Read the following newspaper extract from 2001 “Rugby Tradition”.

As Carrie had taken on the role as captain and coach from the spring of 2000 until she graduated in 2003, Adrienne “Inga” Goldsworth, Chanelle Raboteau, and Shannon (McElfresh) Hall took over Carrie’s role when she left. Ramsay Borthwick, who back then had worked at the brewery in Marina, started to help to coach the women’s team in 2005. Unfortunately, a few years later, the women’s team collapsed as well.

In 2009-2010, a number of students on campus began rebuilding the club, but only a men’s team initially. The team started playing a bit with the local men’s club, Central Coast Beachdogs RFC, to gain experience. It wasn’t until the following year that the team was officially in place, playing their first match against a Scottish team called Cowal Rugby Club on May 4, 2010. Their first legitimate tournament ‘Slugfest’ at UC Santa Cruz also took place the same year. The coaches were Alena “Leni” Porte and Lui Ma’aola. A number of women began practicing soon after that season, and in the fall of 2012, with the help of Alena “Leni” Porte and others, began to rebuild the women’s team. The women’s team struggled with low numbers the first three years and played only scrimmages. 12/08/12, a big day for the women’s team as they played their first match with a full squad as a rebuilt team against Fresno State.
In 2015-2016, the women’s team entered the USA Rugby League and has played in ‘West Coast Collegiate Women’s Division II’ since. Today, the men’s team plays in the league called NSCRO NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference. The club is always looking to recruit new members, regardless of experience. CSUMB Rugby is a club seeking to expand, grow, and learn and maintain a community of respect, motivation, and dedication.

Most images are gathered from the school’s online newspaper. Example, caption “1996 April” indicates that the image was retrieved from the Newspaper from April 1996 edition. They are available here: 
https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/otterrealm/ (1995-2004)
https://thelutrinae.com/otterrealm/ (2015-2017)

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Our practice and game field:

CSUMB's Student Recreation Field.The field is located at the SE part of the intersection between 4th Ave and 8th street.