Delta, BC - Our latest BC Rugby First XV Volunteer has been giving back to the sport since the 1980's when he first volunteered at the Brit Lions Rugby Club. Don Brown played up until 1999 when he was forced to hang up his boots due to injury but has since been instrumental in growing youth rugby in the province both at the club and representative levels.
Don is currently the U14 Lower Mainland league coordinator, a school coach at Seaquam Secondary, grade five Brit Lions mini coach and tries to referee a few games a week. During the summer Don is the BC U14 provincial team manager, a role he has had for several years.
"Don has been an integral part of the BC U14 provincial program since it was established six years ago," said Dave Brown, BC Rugby Provincial Coach and Development Manager. "He has managed every squad and provided great leadership in the position, working well with coaches, parents and the athletes."
"His volunteerism has extended to a regional level with his involvement in the organization of the Fraser Valley River Delta U14 teams at four successive BC Summer Games events," Brown added.
After weeks of trying to lock down our latest First XV Volunteer, he has humbly accepted the recognition and told us a bit about how he began volunteering in rugby…
BC Rugby: How long have you been involved as a volunteer with rugby?
Don Brown: First role was strip manager for the club (Ex-Brits) in the 1980s and was President in the '90s. Coaching started in 1999 after i suffered a compression fracture in my neck and could not play anymore. My son was in kindergarten and we formed Delta Mini Rugby.
BC: What roles do you currently have?
DB: Coaching seniors and juniors at Seaquam Secondary, Mini Rugby grade 5s, field manager at John Oliver park, occasional ref
BC: Why is volunteering important to you and why have you dedicated so many hours to the Brit Lions, Minis & BC programs?
DB: Keeps me out trouble.
BC: What is the secret to balancing so many hours of rugby with your professional life?
DB: Don't let my boss read this please. If they ever found out how much rugby photo copying went on i would be fired…
BC: Can you tell us a bit about your playing career?
DB: Started out playing fourth division in high school (1975) and worked my way up to first division (before they called it premier and you banged heads with all the canada players every saturday) and back down to thirds when forced to stop at 39.
BC: How did you first get involved with Brit Lions?
DB: My PE teacher at Windermere said if I wanted to pass PE i had to play junior rugby for the EX-Brits
BC: What positions have you played and which one is your strongest?
DB: Second row from grade 8 on. Strongest position was 8th man but no one else believed me.
BC: Have you ever played/coached/volunteered at another rugby club other than Brit Lions?
DB: Only at the opposition club house after a game.
BC: Who is your favourite Canadian rugby player (ever) ?
DB: Gord McKinnon and Gary Hirayama (played club rugby with both) and Paul Szabo
BC: Who is your current favourite rugby player and why?
DB: Hilliard Carson on the mini team, likes to make monkey faces at the opposition when scoring tries and doesn't complain for being benched for it
BC: Do you see yourself leaving the game of rugby any time soon?
DB: Swear I am going to do it daily.
BC: What is your greatest rugby memory either as a player or as a volunteer?
DB: Winning BC Provincials in 1984 and watching my son play for Saint George's
The First XV Volunteer Appreciation program is an initiative designed to recognize the valuable pillars of our membership that help keep our sport afloat. Each recognized volunteer will be presented with a "thank you" item, a customized BC Rugby Umbrella. Each individual will then receive another 10 thank you BC Rugby travel mugs to show their appreciation to the top 10 volunteers that work alongside them in their club.