Bob Mathews has been an invaluable part of the coaching program ever since he attended a Bowdoin Women’s Rugby game in 1994. Realizing there were over 60 women at his wife’s first practice with the team, he gradually started coming and sharing his formidable knowledge with the forward pack.
In addition to coaching certifications from USA Rugby, Bob is also a certified referee, and stays current with the laws and coaching techniques as he’s an avid reader of any coaching material he can find. He has attended coaching clinics and learned from some of the best coaches worldwide, including David Shaw, (England RFU), Blair Larson (New Zealand RFU), Jonathan Griffin (Stanford) and Richard Ashfield (USAR).
Bob specializes in coaching the forwards, as well as the overall fitness protocol for the team. His many years of experience playing rugby, combined with his dedication to studying the ever-evolving game, makes him one of the foremost forwards coaches in collegiate rugby. “I’ve been watching the women’s game since 1978. The game has changed over time and is far more skillful and athletic than in the early days. The women who choose to play this sport are an amazing group of women, willing to take on the challenges and reap the many rewards of playing a women’s contact sport that requires both physical and mental toughness.”
Mathews began playing rugby at the University of Maine-Orono in 1975. After graduating in 1978 he joined the Portland RFC and played lock and #8 until 1990, captaining the team during several seasons, and five times winning the team’s MVP award. Bob retired from playing in 1990, excluding a brief comeback in 1994 and tour of Ireland, after which he joined MaryBeth coaching the Bowdoin Women. Some highlights of his playing days are a 1978 tour to Ireland, hosting several international teams, New England Div I Champion in 1979, New England Div II Champion in 1985 and ‘86 and winning the 1987 ERU (Eastern Rugby Union) Div II Championship.
Bob is a business owner in Portland, managing a bustling Italian bakery, is married to head coach MaryBeth, and has two daughters, Jessica and Katie. He is happy focusing all his time on his family, his business, and Bowdoin rugby.