John Roberts (Head Coach, Forwards Coach)
A 1990 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications, John Roberts has compiled a successful 25-year career in higher education marketing and communications. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from Columbia College (Columbia, South Carolina) in 2016.
A gifted writer, administrator, storyteller and magazine editor, Roberts has won several national awards for his work in higher education marketing and communications. Before he was named AVP at Piedmont University, he worked at Furman University for 22 years, retiring from that institution as Communication Director in 2017.
While at Furman, Roberts founded the Furman rugby team in 1998 and developed it into one of the nation’s top small college rugby programs. He compiled a career record of 188-64-1 and guided the Paladins to three national Division III championships, five South championships and two Southern Rugby Conference titles. In 2016, his Paladins were Division II national finalists.
Roberts remains connected to the program as a special advisor to the team and as director emeritus of the Furman Rugby Foundation. The foundation was established in 2016 to support the program through scholarships and to enhance the Furman rugby experience. He is currently working with the Foundation to raise $225,000 for Furman Rugby. Roberts helped raise more than $500,000 for the program while serving as an unpaid volunteer coach throughout his 19-year career.
Tony Coggiola (player Development and Strategy)
A graduate of Wofford College where he played football, Tony has played international rugby and has taken to the pitch in several states. A widely decorated player, Tony also worked with Coach Roberts at Furman University where he served as coach of the women’s team.
A former Green Beret, Tony served as head coach of the Asheville Men’s Club and helped transform the team from mediocrity to one of the best men’s clubs in the nation in their division. Tony lives in Asheville where he is an entrepreneur and serves as consultant with the State Department and help developing countries develop sustainable farming practices.