Rugby United New York Signs Head Coach Mike Tolkin




NEW YORK (August 6, 2018)- Rugby United New York, New York City’s first professional rugby franchise, is excited to announce that Mike Tolkin has been appointed Head Coach of the organization, after successfully leading the team throughout the 2018 exhibition season.


Tolkin graduated Xavier High School, Manhattan, in 1985, before attending St. John’s University. Upon college graduation, Tolkin returned to Xavier as an English teacher, and a coach for the rugby program. In 25 years as the Head Coach, Tolkin guided the team to 3 High School National Championships and 17 National Semi-Final appearances.


In 2000, Tolkin took the Head Coaching role for the New York Athletic Club, simultaneously teaching and coaching at Xavier. Over the span of 10 years, he led the team to 3 Rugby Super League Championships, the highest level of competition in American rugby at that time.


2010 was a particularly special year for the coach, as he won a High School National Championship with Xavier, and a Super League championship leading the New York Athletic Club. Those feats, coupled with his strong showing as the USA National Team Defense Coach in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, propelled him into becoming a candidate for the USA National Team Head Coaching role.


In 2012, Tolkin became the Eagles Head Coach, and guided them throughout the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In 2014, Tolkin coached the Eagles to their first win over Canada since 2009. He led the team against the New Zealand All Blacks in front of a sold-out Solder Field, home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears. The Tolkin-led Eagles attained the most World Rugby ranking points out of any Eagles team during his tenure.


Tolkin returned to coach the New York Athletic Club in 2016, and led the team to an undefeated campaign. In the spring of 2018, he led Rugby United New York through their exhibition season as Head Coach, going undefeated. That successful season was hopefully just a glimpse of what is to come in 2019 for the native New Yorker.


“It’s an exciting time to come into the league," Tolkin said. "We are looking to compete, we are looking to work hard, we have a lot of talent- but that all has to come together in a hard-working group that is ready to succeed. I know we have a thriving rugby community that will support our endeavors in all aspects of the game. There are so many hard working, knowledgeable, and passionate men and women in the New York area that I look forward to working with.We know it won’t be easy, but we will be prepared.”


“We’re very excited to welcome on board Mike Tolkin as our Head Coach,” General Manager James English said. “Mike comes with a wealth of experience at every level of the game in New York. He is New York rugby.There’s not a better guy to have at the helm of this organization as we take on the 2019 season.”


Rugby United New York looks forward to working with Coach Tolkin for the 2019 Major League Rugby Season.


About Rugby United New York

Rugby United New York is a professional rugby team who joined Major League Rugby as an associate member in 2018, playing a brief, but successful exhibition season. Their first full MLR schedule will take place in 2019. When they officially join the league, RUNY's vision is to bring the excitement of professional rugby to the New York sports landscape. The use of rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, and discipline will help to educate, inspire and connect with the New York Community. Rugby United New York, the city’s first professional rugby franchise, strives to unite the entire rugby community and enrich it at every level throughout the region. The team was founded by James Kennedy of the Murphy Kennedy Group, who is an active supporter of grassroots rugby.

About MLR

MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of the American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. For more information, visit


Andrew Newman,

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RUNY, Andrew Newman