Forever linked to the success of the University of Victoria men’s rugby program, Doug Tate is retiring after a distinguished coaching career.
Tate announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2020 season, but with the onset of the pandemic, decided to stay on for another year and lead the team through the competition-less season. Tate will officially hand over the reins at the end of June.
Retiring alongside him is manager and assistant coach of 26 seasons, Rick Farrally.
“UVic is incredibly grateful for all that Coach Tate has contributed to our institution and program. I have no doubt that he will continue to find ways to support the program and the new head coach. The relationships he has developed through leading a world-class university rugby program number in the hundreds, and his impact will be felt for years to come, said Vikes Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation, Clint Hamilton.
“We also appreciate the unbelievable service Rick Farrally has made in supporting Doug and our Vikes. Rick’s passion and commitment are second to none and exceeded only by the selfless and generous investment of time and energy he has brought to our programs.”
Tate’s last practice at the helm of the program is indicative of his previous 27 years; competitive and entertaining with an unwavering sense of care for his players. He organized a dash for cash—a race around Wallace Field that had players searching for hidden money, culminating in an end-of-year celebration and putting a cherry on top of an incredible career.
“Doug and Rick will be missed in many ways by all Vikes players. One of the greatest and most admirable things about how they conducted themselves as coaches and mentors is their ability to form personal, unique relationships with each player. As a whole, Vikes men’s rugby will miss their constant support, unwavering dedication to our development as rugby players and humans, and their presence under the posts on a Saturday at Wallace,” said 4th-year captain, Logan Martin-Feek.
Former Vike, James O’Neill echoed the same sentiments. “Through my four years playing for Doug, it was obvious that his number one concern was developing us into well-rounded individuals first and varsity student-athletes second. He always knew how to push us to get better but found a way to make it fun. Enjoyment was always one of the key foundations to Doug’s rugby philosophy.”
During his nearly three decades as head coach, Tate amassed back-to-back Canadian university titles in 1997 and ’98, the only two years the event was held. He led the Vikes to BC Rugby Premier Division Championships in 2003 and 2010, and in 2011 the Vikes captured their 12th Barnard Cup as Island champs.
He also boasts a tremendous track record of success against his alma mater, the UBC Thunderbirds. The two schools meet in an annual rivalry game to play for the Wightman Boot trophy. Tate led the Vikes to a 16-year winning streak in the series with an overall win-loss record of 39-26-1.
Within his Vikes coaching career, he guided many rugby treasures of this country as the head of Canada’s national rugby 7s team for five years (1997-02) and serving as the technical director for the Canadian national 7s team for another five (2005-10). Tate also coached Canada at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games and helped upwards of 75 Vikes go on to become national team players.
“The university was very generous in letting me coach with the national team simultaneously for many years, which had me travelling all over the world. I was lucky to have Rick and other amazing assistant coaches who could carry the program while I was away,” said Tate.
According to Farrally, “coaching alongside Doug all these years has been awesome; there is just no other way to put it. We share the same philosophy around rugby and how the game should be played, and we complement each other in the best way.”
Both Tate and Farrally agree that what they will miss most are the players and helping develop student-athletes that go on to become successful people and good citizens.
“Over the years, we’ve had very strong student leadership, an amazing culture and great captains who have made our lives easier,” said Farrally.
“I’m going to miss the players, their work capacity and their positive attitudes. I get a kick out of the athletes, how they interact with each other and grow over the years. It’s great to see them go on to give back to the program and the community,” added Tate.
With an illustrious coaching career under his belt, Tate is ready to pass the torch and stand on the sidelines, but this time as a fan.
Tate looks forward to slowing down and spending time working on his property at Shawinigan Lake. However, his days as a Vike are far from over, as his next venture will likely see him involved with the program on a philanthropic level.
The search for a new men’s rugby coach and program leader is currently underway, for more information visit UVic Careers.
Rounsfell Cup – B.C. PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS (3): 1971 • 2003 • 2010
Barnard Cup – Vancouver Island Elite Division Title (12): 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1984 • 1985 • 1987 • 2003 • 2006 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011
CANADIAN UNIVERSITY CHAMPIONSHIPS (2): 1997 • 1998
UNIVERSITY 7s RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIPS (5): 2011 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016