by Ali Lee,
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby team will see a change in leadership starting in 2015 as head coach Mark Hall is stepping down. Hall led the Vikes women for three seasons, beginning in 2012, and capped off his coaching record with a Canada West bronze medal this past fall.
“Vikes Athletics is certainly appreciative of Mark’s commitment and dedication to our women’s rugby program,” said Clint Hamilton, Director of Vikes Athletics and Recreation. “Mark’s strong efforts led to a Canada West bronze performance this past season and with the strong recruiting that he has done, our program is ready to take the next step in contending for top Canada West and CIS honors.”
Hall came to the Vikes with over 38 years of coaching experience, having coached at Shawnigan Lake School since 1976, where he still coaches today. Hall was the sixth overall head coach for the Vikes women’s rugby program and was pivotal in the Vikes’ improvement over the past three seasons. Most notably, the Vikes won two key games, both over UBC, in their 2014 campaign to eventually finish with a Canada West bronze medal marking the first time the Vikes have medalled at the conference championship since 2001.
In addition, third-year fullback Kara Galbraith and fifth-year flanker Laura Crowe-Hutchon were named 2014 conference All-Stars and Crowe-Hutchon was further honoured at the national level as a CIS All-Canadian. In Hall’s time the Vikes have also recruited several key players to sustain and continue the progress of the women’s rugby program. Included in that mix are 2013 Province Newspaper Head of the Class feature athlete Jess Neilson, national team member Jamie Beck, as well as Abbotsford’s Lauren Kerr and Gurpreet Dhaliwal.
With strong recruiting classes over the past few seasons, the Vikes women’s rugby program is sure to continue improving on what Hall has built.
In the interim, current assistant coach Brittany Waters will assume head coach responsibilities. Waters, a former Vike and member of Canada’s 15s and 7s team, will continue to bring her international expertise to the fold.