Ric is one of those larger than life guys that you see on the Women’s Sevens World Series tour, not just in physical size but also his prescence. Smiling, laughing and always having time to chat with people, not just fans but also coaches and players from other teams. It is interesting to observe Ric as he chats with people: his passion for women’s sport is so obvious, language doesn’t get in the way as he shares with those eager to understand how he has achieved what he has with the team.
Entering his fifth season with the USA women’s national setup, this Canadians CV spans more than 20 years of coaching and includes Canadian Men’s 15s, Canadian Men’s 7s, Canadian Women’s 15s, Canadian Women’s U-23 15s. This wealth of experience he brings allows him to look at things in a different way and it’s paying dividends. One of the stand-out things for me with Ric is his vision, starting with his decision to take the national coaching job in a ‘foreign’ country, as he explains the reasons why he took the role. “The belief that 7’s would be in the Olympics and secondly, I believed there were 12 women in the USA who can win a medal, these were the two things that drew me”. Ric has a balance as he talks between the here and now and looking ahead 2/4 years, as well as his desire to recruit and expand the game.
Ric’s view on bringing players through is a very interesting one and one that has brought good results. His view is that it’s about the player not their sport. Ric explains “what is relevant is not their body shape but their brain”. Ric’s vision and message is that it’s about ability, not about a specific sport, its about your brain and the aptitude for it to handle the 7’s game. This is a different approach to many but with gold medal Olympians and world champions in his ranks it is paying off.
But this is only half of it, Ric isn’t doing this just to get a few extra athletes in the team, for him it’s about getting this message out to athletes, sports and schools as well as athletes who do a winter sport. There is crossover firstly, secondly, you don’t have to choose in some cases it could be both as in the case of Elana Meyers Taylor. For Ric the message and vision is simple, there are no boundaries only those in your mind and that’s the bit he is interested in, the rest he can teach you.
Ric’s policy is an open door one, one that wants to be best without the boundaries and limitations that are so often put in place and it’s this that makes him so interesting, passionate and draws people to him.
The thing that I like is that he really believes it, it’s not spin, it’s genuine - and this makes it enjoyable to be in his company. Ric is a unsung hero in the truest sense: he is passionate about women’s sport, he has great vision outside of the box and a never-ending desire to see athletes grow and develop, whilst believing 100% in them. That is what it’s all about.