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Rugby Head Coach to Leave to Pursue Another Degree


JONESBORO – Shaun Potgieter, Arkansas State University’s head rugby coach, will leave that post effective July 31, to return to school and further his education. He will return to the classroom to pursue a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree.

Potgieter led the Red Wolves for two seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 after serving as an assistant coach one year. Prior to his coaching duties, he played for A-State, earning All-America honors five times and serving as team captain.

“Becoming a physical therapist has been in the back of my mind since I was a sophomore in college,” said Potgieter, who will work on his degree at A-State. “I have been playing sports since the age of six, so I would enjoy working with injured athletes to get them back onto the playing field.”

During Potgieter’s coaching tenure, Arkansas State played for a Varsity Cup 15s national championship in May. The program also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Penn Mutual 7s Collegiate Championship both years. In June, the Red Wolves won pool play by defeating Notre Dame (22-7), Wisconsin (21-12) and tied 19-19 with longtime foe Life University.

Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness Matt Huckaby said a search is underway for a new coach and hopes to have someone in place by Aug. 21.

“Shaun has done a great job as both a player and now coach for A-State rugby,” said Huckaby. “Arkansas State University greatly appreciates his contributions.  Accordingly, Shaun has built a solid foundation through the recruitment of outstanding student-athletes and through the implementation of high performance best practices with the team.  Moving forward, the team is excited to build on this success and represent the university.”

As a player at Arkansas State for five seasons, Potgieter racked up numerous awards and achievements, including a USA 7s training camp call up and two USA Rugby D-1A 7s National Championships for Arkansas State in 2012 and 2013. 

As a Red Wolf, Potgieter received all-America honors while playing with the 2011 15s team against visiting universities from New Zealand, the 15s team in 2012 that toured Ireland, twice in 2013 with the 15s team that toured New Zealand, and the 7s team that won the Serevi Rugbytown tournament at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. He also represented Arkansas State on the 2014 all-America team, and was an honorable mention selection for the all-America 15s team in 2010.

Originally from South Africa, Potgieter graduated from Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, where he was also an outstanding basketball player.

Rugby Coach Shaun Potgieter
Shaun Potgieter