In 2012 Stewart’s son wanted to play rugby, but they couldn’t find a local league. So Stewart, the 1% of dads, started his own! As President of AYR from 2012 – 2016, he has worked tirelessly to serve all parents and players. As the continuing voice of AYR, he works with the Board to develop the game in Atlanta. Check out the history of AYR by visiting the blog: http://atlantayouthrugby.blogspot.com/
The 501(c) Board plans and executes AYR’s Strategic Plan, assisted by the Advisory Board, Team Parents and various position Chairs.
Accountable to all AYR stakeholders, the Board should provide a world class youth rugby program, working together as one to bring forth and implement best practices.
President & Board Chairman
Anton played rugby as a youth, his modest efforts as a back helping his Carson Graham Eagles win Vancouver’s district championships two consecutive years. Anton’s wife Tori played in the front row at McGill University and now their two boys Alex (12) and Dylan (10) play for AYR. The Forbes-Roberts family loves the overall athleticism and confidence the game instills.
As previous Chair of the AYR Advisory Board, Anton instituted an operational framework to run AYR, introduced sponsorships, implemented age groups, and organized regular use of Atlanta city fields. As elected President of the new, expanded 501(c)3 Board he will carry out AYR’s 2016-2018 Strategic Plan. His key goals are implementing an age-based Life coaching curriculum, a SafePlay Program, a longer term fields solution, and growing AYR’s number of players from all areas of Atlanta through broader partnerships and scholarships.
Anton holds an MBA and his corporate experience spans over 15 years in loyalty marketing and CRM for F500 companies. He has also advised many smaller businesses on operational, sales, and marketing strategy. His current CRM focus is building technology-based platforms that drive societally beneficial goals.
Active in the Boy Scouts of America and a longtime InterAtlantaFC soccer coach, his other interests include commercial property, investing, skiing, cars, travel, and playing/coaching as many sports as possible with his boys.
Anton is also USAR 200-level certified, and a roving assistant coach at AYR.
Director of Coaching
Like most American kids, Paul played football as far as he could take it and was eventually exposed to Rugby at Longwood College. Following graduation, while in the US Army, Paul played for Frankfurt am Main, which competed in both the military and German men’s B leagues from 1989-1993. After a stint at Fort Benning, Paul played for a couple of seasons on the Atlanta Renegade B side in 1995-1996 and some Sevens, then hung it up as a player.
Paul stumbled upon AYR while taking his dog for a walk in Inman Park and hasn’t missed a season since. It has been fantastic to rediscover rugby and more importantly to share it with his son and the other boys in the club. There is no other sport like Rugby in the world and no better place for young men to have fun, be included in all aspects of the game, get a great run in, form that bond that only exists in rugby and learn what sportsmanship and teamwork really mean. If kids are taught to play the right way at an early age, there is no limit to where rugby can take them.
Director of Finance
Steve brings a robust background to AYR. No stranger to athletics, he was captain of his college lacrosse team and was honored as a member of USILA and conference All-Star teams. He brings a strong sense of integrity to club operations in his position as Director of Finance for AYR.
Steve also helps AYR with the tricky business of securing grants, something he has started to pioneer since joining the Board.
During the day Steve’s primary focus as a business lawyer is on resolving business disputes. He has represented large and small businesses, as well as individuals, bringing and defending against claims for breach of contract, business torts, fraud and misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and in the context of employment disputes. His clients work in a wide variety of industries, including commercial property management and development, construction, insurance, banking (borrowers and lenders), business equipment sales and service, information technology, health care, and legal services. He has won jury trials and appeals in such diverse areas as accountant malpractice, securities fraud, antitrust, contract and partnership disputes, employment, and construction.
Steve has two sons, one active in the AYR program.
Glenn brings great skills to AYR’s table, as a former adult rugby player for local club teams and a lawyer with an international practice and perspective.
As Director of Compliance, he advises AYR on the correct posture to minimize risk for all our stakeholders.
Founder of the Fogle Law Firm, Glenn is a member of the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals of the Second Circuit, the Fourth Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, the Sixth Circuit, the Ninth Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit. He is a longtime member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), has spoken at AILA conferences and seminars, and has served as a AILA Mentor. Chambers and Partners, the prestigious British legal research firm, and U.S. News and World Reports Best Lawyers have ranked Mr. Fogle among the top immigration lawyers in Georgia for the past eight years and seven years respectively. As a premiere authority on asylum law and deportation/removal defense, Mr. Fogle has successfully represented clients from a multitude of countries encompassing the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
Glen has two boys active in AYR.
Director, Life University
Dan Payne recently took the position of CEO at USA Rugby! Congratulations.
As AD of Life, Dan’s tenure saw unprecedented expansion, both in terms of teams, student-athletes and facilities, as well as the department’s scope within the university.
With a growth mindset, Payne has overseen a massive increase in the number of opportunities offered to student-athletes by expanding from 7 to 16 intercollegiate teams, including nine for women, six for men, and one co-ed opportunity. Athletics has been a boost for Life University’s growing undergraduate student population, increasing the number of student-athletes to more than 300. The excitement and buzz generated by this surge has led to increased engagement and fundraising from donations by alumni, fans and parents. These funds made it possible for new projects such as a dedicated volleyball court, locker room expansion and refurbishing, and the Lupo Family Field, grandstand and VIP suites that will serve as the host venue to multiple Life U teams. The field also hosts Life U summer sports camps and local organizations for practices, games and tournaments.
Payne earned his Bachelor’s degree from Clarion University, where he was also an NCAA Division I All-American in wrestling. He received his Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, while also serving as an assistant coach. It was here that he discovered his passion for coaching and mentoring young men and women.
Payne places a premium on graduation rate, academic performance, and teaching and mentoring student-athletes to be responsible, accountable, develop good habits and make good decisions. He believes that these traits contribute to the success of the whole person, and align with the Life University mission. He expects every coach at Life University to follow this mission, and believes sports are a great vehicle in which to instill these traits.
Dan has been invaluable to AYR with strategic advice and resources.
The mission of the Advisory Board is to continue to promote the teamwork, safety and character of AYR within the new structure. The Advisory Board Chair will meet as needed to provide strategic guidance to the 501(c)3 Board and members of the AYR community.
Advisory Board Chair
Brittany is a Creative Director in Atlanta with over 24 years experience. She, along with her husband own Fenning Marketing Group, Inc. and brings a broad range of marketing expertise to the table including strategic planning, positioning/branding, tactical implementation and design. Together they are excited about generating momentum in Atlanta for this growing sport.
Brittany has served as team Mom/Photographer on all of her son’s sports teams and gets a real kick out of watching kids having fun on the field. Her son Ethan has played a variety of sports and has declared this his “all-time” sport. He, along with his teammates, will be the first AYR high school team and are excited to be taking it up a notch.
Gib is a marketing leader with 27 years marketing experience. Gib founded several well-known marketing firms, including Interweb (Atlanta), and Think New Ideas (NY/global). He, along with his wife Brittany, owns Fenning Marketing Group, Inc. and brings a broad range of marketing expertise to the table including strategic planning, positioning/branding, tactical implementation and design. Together they are excited about generating momentum in Atlanta for this growing sport. Their son is an active AYR rugby player.
Known as Dr. “X” by his staff and patients, he is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University as well as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State and Mercer University. Dr. X has been the Head Orthopaedist and Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA since 2001. He specializes in ACL and ACL revision surgery performing over 200 of these operations each year. He is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and has his sub-specialty certification in orthopaedic sports medicine. Dr X has helped AYR for several years with advice and guidelines on safety protocols. His son is an avid rugby player.
Member / Director of AYR Curriculum Development
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Coach Cariaga attended Life University where he earned degrees in Business Administration and Coaching Psychology. In addition, Cariaga was a member of the LIFE rugby team and served as a three year captain, leading his team to two national championship victories and earning All American status twice. Upon graduation, Cariaga accepted a position to coach rugby at the highly esteemed Blackrock College in Dublin, Ireland. Both of Cariaga’s Blackrock teams were successful in winning their respective provincial cup championships. Cariaga currently serves as an assistant on Life University’s coaching staff, working primarily with the Junior Varsity development team. Coach has previously served as an assistant for Walton High Rugby Club (2011-2012) and as a coach at the Life Rugby High School Camps (2011-2014).
Colton’s commitment to developing youth rugby has been essential to AYR. As a former All-American and Life University champion player, Colton was AYR’s first ‘professional ‘Head Coach and now develops our skills and training curriculum for all our age groups. In his positions as Coach and Program Coordinator at Life, he is invaluable to us as the source of Life player-coaches for AYR; tournament scheduling and field usage; and opportunities for our young players to experience the next level of rugby through camps and Life home games.
Former UGA Rugby player Warren Mullis keeps his skills fresh with High Country Rugby Club, and as AYR’s U10 Head Coach brings a magic touch to the field with our younger players. Warren is also very involved in the larger rugby universe — keeping a blog, Twitter account and podcast all devoted to rugby. He has recently announced several Division I games, into the bargain. Look for his updates on AYR’s Facebook page.
A onetime Army Ranger and Rifle Company Executive Officer, Russ has practiced commercial law for more than twenty years. His expertise includes litigating complex commercial disputes, drafting and reviewing critical commercial documents, designing and implementing compliance programs, and counseling on regulatory issues. He is also General Counsel for an international non-profit.
Russ is also an International Rugby Board-certified referee (Level Two). His guidance on safe tackling is a key input into AYR’s multi-dimensional SafePlay program that focuses on Education, Prevention, and Training. A key component is our Laws of Rugby video series on key safe tackling elements, which all referees must view before our matches. Russ also puts on seminars to explain the game to AYR parents, and Laws to coaches and players. His son Richard is an active rugby player with AYR.
Rosalind Chou became the head coach of Life University Varsity Women’s Rugby team in January 2014. She was chosen based on her 20 years as a top-tier player at the collegiate and club level, as well as her management and operations expertise as the former president of the Atlanta Harlequins Women’s Rugby Club, winners of the 2012 national club championship.
Says Chou, “Any time you are building a new program, it starts with the basics. My goals is to have these young ladies learn something new every day, and strive for continuous improvement.”
She did not have to wait long for those good habits to take effect, as the first-ever Life U varsity women’s rugby team finished with a 10-1 record and made it all the way to the USA Rugby Spring Final Four, eventually finishing third. In 2016, the team built on the success making it to the D1 Elite semi-final falling to eventual champions, Penn State. The team earned their first USA Rugby National 7s Rugby Championship and followed that up with the university’s first Collegiate Rugby Championship title. The 7s team finished the season with a 18-0 record.
Through Chou’s initiative, the Women’s Rugby program has adopted the USA Rugby model of individual development through intense training and strength and conditioning. Through the new identification process, sixteen Life U players were invited to National All-Star Competitions, and six have been named Collegiate All-Americans, and one has been capped for the Women’s Senior Side National Team.
Ros provides inspiration, guidance and coaching recommendations for our growing AYR girls rugby sides.