Outstanding players, coaches, administrators, TRU pioneers, or those with a mix of all these traits make up the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
The late Ryche Parker was the driving force behind the storied state champions Houston Heathens of the late 70s and was perhaps one to the toughest players ever to take the field in Texas or anywhere. He captained the Western RFU selects, was a fixture on the TRU select side, was a trialist for the USA national team and played on several other all-star sides. In addition to leading the Heathens, he also played for the Houston RFC and English sides Northampton, Kettering and Midland Counties. His life was tragically cut short in 1980, but his tenacity on the field will not be forgotten.
David McPhail served the TRU as president for seven years and guided it through massive changes during a period of great growth. He also was a long-time member of the Western RFU Board of Directors and served on the USA Rugby Congress and as a Board Member of Rugby Texas. He frequently held leadership roles in these and other rugby organizations, mostly as Treasurer. He began his playing career at Southwest Texas State (making the TRU Collegiate Selects) before moving on to Austin RFC, and then to Houston RFC where he was instrumental in the transition during its merger with the Old Boys to create HARC. He has made a major mark in 7s, serving as the Western RFU Sevens Program Director for many years, and as a manager of the fabled Atlantis 7s side. He has also refereed and served as a coach.
Krista McFarren helped the USA win the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991 and as an Eagle has been capped numerous times, representing the USA in both 15s and 7s all over the globe and at three World Cups. While living in San Antonio before women’s rugby in Texas took off, she was a long distance commuter playing for the New Orleans Half Moons which played in Texas leagues at the time. She holds a Level 200 coaching certificate and served as an assistant coach on the USA Eagles staff and has served in several administrative roles on the national level.
Michael Engelbrecht has made his mark as a player and a coach. Michael was a key player for the dominant team of his era, the Dallas Harlequins, was a Texas and West All Star, and also played multiple times for the Classic Eagles competing in the World Rugby Classic in Bermuda. Retired from playing, Michael poured time and energy back into the game through continued development as a coach. Michael’s coaching credits include numerous USA High School All American and USA U-20s national team sides, the Dallas Harlequins, TRU Collegiate and High School All Stars, WRFU Selects and is currently the coach at the University of North Texas and defensive coach for the USA U20 national team. Michael is a founding member of the highly regarded Eagle Impact Rugby Academy with a mission to “identify and develop the best young rugby players in America”.
Ralph Corry defines the term “TRU Pioneer.” For over a decade, Ralph served as the Union’s secretary or treasurer (sometimes at the same time) during a period when the union had only two officers and keeping up with every team in the state pre-internet was an arduous task. He served with no less than five TRU presidents, providing the consistency, oversight and leadership the young Union required to survive. Ralph began his playing career in 1973 with the old Sportspage RFC before moving to the Houston Old Boys and then to what would become his “home” club, the Houston Strikers.
In addition to these new members, the 1984 Dallas Harlequins will honored at the Hall of Fame induction banquet late this summer (details to be announced very soon). The 84 ‘Quins were the first team from Texas to win a national championship and were the dominant club in Texas during this era.
We welcome all of these outstanding additions to the Hall of Fame. Congratulations!