In 2023, we continued the tradition of presenting Distinguished Service Awards and the Alan Sharpley Memorial Award, while also celebrating the 2000 USA Rugby Men’s XVs National DII Championship team, Fort Worth.
Distinguished Service Awards
John Via, a rugby stalwart with over four decades of involvement, earns the Distinguished Service Award for his versatile contributions, including leadership roles with the Fort Worth Rugby Club and financial expertise as the Western RFU treasurer. Bob Macnab, renowned as both player and coach, played internationally before becoming the University of Dallas’s dedicated coach for 32 years and later establishing the Groundhog Rugby Alumni Association. The Marketos Family’s rugby legacy began in 2000 with Nick, who initiated the Plano Rugby Club and expanded it to include youth teams, with his son Mike continuing their service until his untimely passing, carrying on the family tradition of commitment to the sport.
Alan Sharpley Memorial Award
Robert P. “Bob” Latham embodies the spirit of The Alan Sharpley Award, which was created to recognize those with Texas connections who have made extraordinary and unique contributions to rugby. Just as Alan spearheaded a coalition to buy and develop Austin’s Burr Field, the first rugby complex in the state, Bob achieved many “firsts” of his own. And like Alan, Bob has devoted practically his entire adult life to moving the game forward. His impressive and too long resume includes serving as Chairman of USA Rugby, and he is completing his final term as the first American to serve on the Executive Board of World Rugby as arguably one of the top 4-5 leaders of the international game. A former tennis player, Bob migrated to rugby at Stanford University and continued to play while at the University of Virginia School of Law. Upon moving to Dallas, he soon became a fixture with the Harlequins, serving as president, and he also served on the Western USA Board. Ultimately, It was Bob’s leadership that gained USA Rugby membership in the US Olympic Committee, and he was a driving force globally in getting 7s Rugby into the Olympics, leveraging the contacts he developed over many years of leadership in both world rugby and the Olympic movement.