Justin Hickey has been named the University of Notre Dame Program Director, Men’s and Women’s Rugby Club/Men’s Head Coach. Hickey departs his current position as Director of Athletics for Moon Area School District in the Pittsburgh area.
“Being considered for the position is a tremendous honor in and of itself, but to accept the position is incredibly humbling,” said Hickey, who will continue to serve as an Assistant Coach for the USA Rugby Collegiate All Americans in addition to his position at the University of Notre Dame. "Coach O’Leary did an outstanding job to build the program up to where it is today, and coaches Heeter and Fee have taken great care in the interim to provide an excellent foundation for me to lead the program into a bright future for collegiate rugby. The Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams at the University of Notre Dame are on the cusp of joining the elite collegiate rugby programs in the United States. The opportunity to serve the University of Notre Dame, and the students is a dream come true for me."
Prior to his position at Moon Area School District, Hickey served as the Men’s Rugby Head Coach at Clemson University for four and a half years while simultaneously working on his PhD in Athletic Administration. In his final year coaching at Clemson, he was unanimously voted the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Coach of the Year by his peers.
“We are thrilled to have Justin as a part of the Notre Dame family,” said Mark Williams, Director of RecSports. “The student development and coaching skills that Justin brings to the program will be an enormous asset to the program as we continue to develop our rugby players both on and off the field.”
Hickey’s prior experience beyond the rugby field includes serving as Managing Editor for Coach and Athlete in Education magazine, which is geared toward the development of athletic administrators and coaches. Hickey also held an adjunct faculty position in which he taught coaching courses, as well as an introductory rugby course for both men and women. With a variety of experiences off the field, Hickey will assist in establishing a well-rounded rugby experience for each student athlete that comes through the program.
“I want the students of the University of Notre Dame Rugby program to view our program as a resource for personal development, and an extension of their preparation for life after Notre Dame,” said Hickey.
Hickey will attend the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, June 4 - 5, as a representative of the University. Interim Head Coach Lonnie Heeter and his staff will coach the University of Dame on the field, with Hickey taking over day to day operations upon the completion of Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.