Rugby

Rugby at Princeton began with the founding of the Princeton Rugby Club in the spring of 1931 by a pair of British graduate students, H. Cooper and Monti Barak. Coaching was provided by Professor John Whitton, who actively supported the club throughout its first forty-five years. The initial season was highly successful, as both Harvard and Yale were defeated twice. In 1934 the team, captained by Ed Lee '34, lost only to a touring Cambridge University side.

Suspended during World War II, rugby was propitiously revived in the spring of 1948, when the club won the Bermuda Cup and the Missouri Cup, and was featured in an article in Life magazine. In the fall of 1959 and the spring of 1960, the club put together successive undefeated seasons. The team of 1962, led by Bill Swain, won the first Commonwealth Cup tournament. In 1969, captain Terry Larrimer's team won the first Ivy League Rugby tournament, the Easterns Championship, and the prestigious Washington 7's tournament.

In 1970, the Princeton Rugby Alumni Association was formed to support the undergraduate teams and to play an occasional ``Old Boys'' match. This created a new tradition at Reunions when the alumni take on the students for the Doc Whitton Cup -- a match remarkable for the quality of rugby played and for the fierce yet friendly rivalry that exists between students and alumni.

Thomas Pirelli


From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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