USA Rugby’s Executive Committee has changed, as Kevin Roberts steps down as Chairman of USA Rugby. Born in England but a self-proclaimed Kiwi, Roberts came onto the scene back in 2006 when he became Chairman with grand plans.His public pronouncements about his plans for the Eagles to reach the Rugby World Cup Quarterfinals by 2011 as well as launching a professional competition were heard and applauded by many.
How, Roberts was noticeably more quiet a few years into his role as none of those aspirations bore fruit; unless you’re talking about his love for the All Blacks however. Roberts regularly wrote and spoke frequently on the subject of NZ rugby.
Bob Latham has stepped in to fill the role, a job that he held prior to Roberts taking the position. A member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors as well as the IRB’s Rugby Board Council, IRB Executive Committee, Latham is also the chair of the IRB Regulations Committee.
In Layman’s terms, if you were looking for change, you won’t find it. The IRB has always been heavy-handed when dealing with USA Rugby and their influence, both politically and monetarily will continue well into the future.
Along with Latham, the committee underwent a reshuffle, but the names will be familiar to most. Rob King will return for another term on the Board of Directors while Robert Kimmit will fill Latham’s vacated position.
Will Chang has been appointed as Chairman of the Executive Committee. The most impressive member of the USA Rugby governance in my eyes, Chang has been tasked with coordinating USA Rugby’s bid to host the 2018 Rugby 7s World Cup.
Pam Kosanke returns to the fold in the International Athlete position on the board, a surprising turn given the terms under which she resigned from her position as Chief Marketing Officer last year. She was instrumental in building a number of well received campaigns for the organisation and her resignation was a blow to the organisation. Kosanke initially accepted the position of CMO with the understanding that she would eventually be allowed to eventually work remotely from home, but the deal was reportedly taken off the table by Nigel Melville, lead to the surprise resignation.
Kosanke, a highly regarded member in the rugby community due to her previous international representation for the US, is making a welcome return to the committee.
With the Rugby World Cup, Olympic qualifiers, a huge public relations event in Chicago and an incoming RWC 7s bid all imminent, as well as a rapidly expanding registered player base, the Board will need to step up their game to ensure that all members of the community, from executives to players to fans, USA Rugby has come under fire a number of times in recent years and whispers of groups considering separating from USA Rugby are very real.
The next year or so will be pivotal for USA Rugby and more changes may be on the horizon.