Sandy Frazier arrived at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 1967, joining ranks with the Fort Jackson Rugby team as their captain for the fall season. Frazier realized his player pool was being deployed to Vietnam, so in November of 1967 he met USC’s administration requirements to recruit and gain signatures of 20 founding players in order to establish the USC Men’s Rugby Football Club, USC’s first sports club.
In the spring of 1968, Frazier lead USC as its first captain and player coach in 10 matches. A year later at the Duke 7’s tournament, Frazier met Dr. James Wynn who was moving from Richmond, VA to Columbia, SC in the fall. Wynn was a seasoned rugger schooled by Rhodesian coach, Basil Nesbitt, who grounded him in the fundamentals and finer nuances of Rugby.
With the arrival of Coach Wynn, USC came into national prominence, as he brought coaching expertise that taught the basic fundamentals while incorporating rugby finesse. After an average first year, 7-7 in 1969-70, USC went on a 3 year run of 18-5, 18-3, and 20-3-1 while enjoying a 37 home game winning streak, playing twice in the National Collegiate Rugby Championships and placing 5th both times. Carolina Rugby's foundation had been set by Sandy Frazier and Dr. James Wynn.
Sandy Frazier was the original player coach, though Frazier recruited Dr. James Wynn in 1969 as the new head coach, unknowingly setting the bar of excellence to which all future teams would aspire to and measure themselves against.
When Coach Wynn’s family came along, he stepped down, and Rich Trauger recruited Jean Pierre Chambas in 1975 to coach the team. Coach Pierre’s teams were fierce and played with a tenacious competiveness taught by their acclaimed French coach. The team enjoyed many years of success until Coach Pierre stepped down in 1982.
With Jean Pierre’s departure, Carolina Rugby turned to an era of players, alumni, and Columbia Olde Grey Rugby retirees that would help coach:
1982–1985: Geoff Mason, Mark Rockefeller
1985-1987: Tony Ferguson
1987-1988: Kenny Poerstel, Jeff Smolka
1988-1989: Chris Murphy, Kim Pipkin, Rob Balmer
After 1990, Carolina Rugby was coached by a number of USC and Columbia Olde Grey alumni that obtained USA Rugby coaching accreditation and training whiling giving back to the game:
1989-1992, 1995, 2001-2003: Howard Hunt
1992-1994, 2003-2011: Geoff Mason
1996-1999: Mark Miltner
1999-2002, 2008: Jeff Smolka
2011-2018: Mark Morris (15’s)
2013-2018: Steve Darnell (7’s)
2018: Steve Darnell (15's & 7’s)
Carolina Rugby has a legacy of strong leadership and captains that have led USC to numerous state championships, regional playoffs and championships, tournament victories, and National Collegiate Championship Playoffs. These Captains inspired greatness on the pitch and, as a result, numerous players have gone on to play select side for the state, Rugby South, Southeastern Collegiate Rugby, East Coast, Junior Eagles, and National Team: