New Chief Rowing Coach arrives to take up 'dream role'
Published: 28th July 2017
Like many life-altering events, Richard Ruggieri stumbled across rowing in a most serendipitous fashion. “When I was studying at the University of Rhode Island I was out running one day and saw a group who were setting a serious pace. So I followed them and they ended up going back to the boat house. I got talking to them and they said ‘hey, why don’t you come out and join us on the water this weekend.’” And that, as they say, was that.
Richard has just joined Trinity Sport, where he’s taken up the role of Chief Rowing Coach at DUBC. He arrives in Trinity with an impressive CV, having primarily worked with colleges in the United States as well as the national U23 team.
“In the US, college rowing is really strong – it’s really our feeder system for the national team. The three colleges where I coached over the last decade are all elite programmes – University of Louisville, Clemson University and Tulsa University.”
Richard also arrives here with a coveted NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) title under his belt. “I won that with one of the teams I coached and it’s really hard to do – probably only 10 schools have won an NCAA in its history.”
Some might be tempted to rest on their laurels at such a stage in their career but not so Richard. “I was told early on that there’s a period of learning in your career, a period of knowing what you’re doing and then there’s a period of sitting and being stagnant.” But Richard didn’t want to settle for that.
“I think, when you’ve been coaching for a while, you kind of get set in your ways and a good way to regain that energy is to experience something different. So this move to Trinity, for me, is a dream.”
When he enrolled at the University of Rhode Island as a student, Richard planned on being an attorney. However his rendezvous with the college’s rowers led him to reimagine his future as a coach and he switched courses to physiology and exercise science instead. He was keen to learn all he could about his newly adopted sport.
“When I was starting on my career I used to seek out all these really successful coaches. So I spent that first 10 or 12 years learning from the very best the sport had to offer. I learned something from each one of them.
“It’s funny, none of them was perfect but all of them had a perfect trait, and I learned something different from each one.”
As he gets his bearings in his new home town, Richard is focused on getting to know his new charges, whom he has met a few times already. “What I really enjoyed about meeting the athletes was the comfort and ease of talking. The level of enjoyment they had around each other was obvious.”
Among those he’s met are outgoing DUBC captain Cian Flynn and captain elect Conor Ryan. Cian says: "We're delighted to welcome Richard to DUBC as the new chief coach. He brings with him a wealth of experience, which will help him build on the club's recent success and bring the club on to more and even greater success over the next few years. I've no doubt that 2018 will be a very exciting season for the club."
The cornerstones of Richard’s regime will be honesty and trust – “they mean a lot to me”. That, and to remain “hungry and humble at all times”.
Looks like it will be an interesting year ahead for DUBC.