ANNAPOLIS, MD -- Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced Monday that Mike Flanagan is stepping down as the head rugby coach after 27 years on the job.
"Although a Club Sport, the Rugby program at Navy has always taken on the most formidable intercollegiate competition in the nation," Gladchuk said. "The Academy, alumni, and friends of the program could not be more appreciative of the leadership Mike has displayed for decades in accepting this rigorous challenge as our head coach. His success is well documented and the legacy he leaves set the benchmark for our future."
Flanagan was hired as the Navy coach in January 1991, after coaching the Loyola club team for five years. During Flanagan's tenure, Navy was a constant presence in the top echelon of college rugby, including one National Final in 1994, 13 semifinals, and 23 appearances in the national quarterfinals.
"It has been an absolute pleasure to lead this program for the past 27 years," Flanagan said. "I have been privileged to lead countless great Americans that have altered the course of our country, its allies, and our world for the better. The sport of rugby has proven, time and again, to be a solid foundation and developmental experience from which the world's most honorable, humble, and selfless leaders are generated. I am honored and incredibly grateful to have played a small role in teaching our Midshipmen how to succeed in this sport, but more importantly, how to succeed in life--no matter the conditions, no matter the circumstances.
As I step away, I hope that the legacy I leave is one that demands the very best individually, as a team, and as a member of this great country, institution, and a program that has set the standard of integrity, teamwork, and sportsmanship.As one of the founding members of the Varsity Cup, American Rugby's National Collegiate Championship, in 2013, Navy has reached the semifinals in four of the first five seasons.
Flanagan has developed 43 All-Americans at Navy in his tenure. He has also served as the All-American forwards coach from 1988 to 1999 and served on the selection panel from 2002 to 2006.
Navy Rugby is a Club Sport at the Naval Academy. Since its inception in 1963, Navy Rugby has fostered the warrior spirit and ethos that routinely produces young officers who go on to serve in the most demanding warfare communities in the Navy and Marine Corps.
"The Naval Academy will move forward by hiring a full-time person who will be the head coach and the Director of Rugby, with responsibility to oversee and administer all aspects of both the men's and women's programs," Gladchuk said. "In addition, Navy Women's Rugby will retain their current format where the head coach leads the team, but will now also work closely with the new Director to ensure a synchronized effort in advancing both programs."
A national search for Flanagan's replacement will begin immediately.