Dan Payne Named New USA Rugby CEO

Dan Payne
Please Share.
Dan Payne
Dan Payne

Former Eagle and Athletics Director for Life University to lead national governing body of Rugby Union

For Immediate Release
Submitted by USA Rugby
July 5, 2016

LAFAYETTE, Colo.  – USA Rugby today announced the hiring of Dan Payne as its new Chief Executive Officer. Payne, 43, most recently served as the Athletics Director for rugby powerhouse Life University, adding 10 varsity sports programs and growing to over 300 student athletes. In 2009, Payne joined Life University as Director of Rugby and reintroduced their Men’s and Women’s undergraduate programs as varsity sports. Payne has seen both programs win a total of seven National Championships in both 15s and 7s.

“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Dan Payne as the new CEO of USA Rugby,” said USA Rugby Chairman of the Board Bob Latham. “Dan brings an attractive range of experience and skills to the position. He has experience in many levels of the game as a national team player and coach, as a university coach and now athletic director, and as a club player and administrator.

“He has built and managed programs in multiple sports at Life University, both for men and women. He is a well-known and respected member of the USA Rugby family, and we look forward to his leadership.”

New USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne with wife Kelly and newborn son Wesley.
New USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne with wife Kelly and newborn son Wesley.

Payne was born in Victor, New York and majored in Finance at Clarion University in Pennsylvania where he was also an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler. Payne later earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Following time wrestling internationally, Payne began his rugby playing career with Old Blue of New York before moving to San Diego, CA and joining Old Mission Beach Athletic Club.

Payne would go on to play Flanker and Number 8 for the USA Rugby Eagles during the 2007 Rugby World Cup and later served as an Assistant Coach for the Eagles under Eddie O’Sullivan and as Forwards Coach under Mike Tolkin. He became the Head Coach of the San Diego State Men’s Rugby program in 2006, holding that position until his hiring at Life University.

“These are exciting times for our great game, in our great country,” said Payne. “I’m honored and privileged for the opportunity that has been presented.  That being said, I’m eager to get to work and shoulder the responsibility that this position requires and our membership, fans and supporters deserve. I want to thank [former USA Rugby CEO] Nigel Melville for the service and leadership he provided over the past nine years and the USA Rugby board for this opportunity. There’s a strong group of individuals in Lafayette, CO that I’m looking forward to working alongside as there is plenty to be done. As the game expands and evolves in our country, it’s important we continue to work to unify our efforts amongst all groups and stakeholders in our country.

“I’ve had a tremendous seven years and made many lifelong friendships and relationships during my time at Life University. It’s important that I thank our executive leadership, our great coaches, staff and the 300+ student-athletes that have all been a part of our amazing growth.”

Payne’s hiring as CEO came after a several-month hiring process, assisted by Korn Ferry, that saw over 150 applications from around the world. Payne will begin his tenure as CEO effective August 1, 2016.


Further Information:
Nick Sero | Manager, Communications and Digital Media | USA Rugby | nsero@usarugby.org

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at MeetTheMatts.com.