Thornley hired as new rugby coach
CWU Graduate Assistant replaces Tony Pacheco in top job
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The diaspora of professional and collegiate rugby players is a widespread net that stretches over multiple continents, countries and tiny islands scattered in the South Pacific. Since it is an international sport, the love for the game of rugby takes players all over the world to chase their dreams. The same goes for new head rugby coach Todd Thornley.
Thornley, a New Zealand native, has been playing rugby since he was four-years old and hasn’t missed a beat since. He spent time interning as a coach for the men’s rugby team in Samoa and before becoming an assistant coach here at CWU for the last two years, Thornely was an assistant coach for Dartmouth College.
After Tony Pacheco stepped down as the head coach in May, Thornley was named CWU’s head rugby coach in July. He is looking forward to the opportunity and is excited for the opportunity to focus on mentoring young men and students.
For Thornley, the opportunity to impact young men’s lives and watch them develop into better people are his favorite parts of coaching.
Flanker and junior Captain Vili Toluta’u attests to these attributes as he explained some of the new core values that Thornley has implemented since becoming head coach.
Thornley “set up core values which are brotherhood, growth and discipline,” Toluta’u said. “He has a motto which we are expected to live up to which is, ‘a great player when it’s rugby time, a great student when it’s academic time, a great person all the time.’”
Toluta’u, who was born and raised in Maui, is one of many players who have traveled a long way from home to play for CWU and believes Thornely has the ability to lead them to the long-time sought after Rugby College National Championship.
On the field, players agree that Thornely’s approach and ideologies set the tone for their upcoming season. Second-year flanker Simione Ratukalou, says the way Thornely has taught the players to represent themselves on and off the field will help them win games.
“It shows in our attitude. The way we represent ourselves outside of the field will automatically help us on the field,” Ratukalou said. “The kind of mentality Todd teaches will help us grow as a team, having one mind and unity to win nationals.”
As the offseason workouts and team meetings begin, there is no denying the feeling of excitement and optimism flowing around the future of the CWU men’s rugby team. Thornely’s approaches have influenced the team to learn and grow as a unit.
“At the end of the day, it is for our young men to become matured and better people,” Thornely said.