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Eastern’s Stephen Nelson Recognized for Excellence in Rugby Community

Published on February 15, 2017

Eastern’s Stephen Nelson Recognized for Excellence in Rugby Community

Stephen Nelson, director of information technology and IT planning at Eastern Connecticut State University, received the Dr. Robert L. Laurence Award for 2017 for his work as the advisor for the club rugby team.

Ray Aramini, assistant rugby coach, nominated Nelson for the award presented by the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU). Eastern was one of 53 NERFU teams to be eligible for the award, which is considered to be the highest recognition New England Rugby gives to an individual. “Stephen Nelson was chosen for this award because of his excellence,” said Aramini. “He goes above and beyond to help our program; he’s always running around to make sure everything is set and helping alongside the team. When we needed to build a playscape for students with disabilities, he was right there helping. This award is only a tiny reflection of all that he does.”

Eastern’s rugby program has formed a strong reputation on and off the field. “Receiving this award I am hopeful that the team’s reputation will continue to excel both locally as well as in the bigger rugby community,” said Nelson. “Our program is respected throughout the NERFU and the national small college rugby organization because of our coaching staff’s strong leadership and respect for the players.”

Nelson joined the rugby community as an advisor, but his involvement is must greater than that. Within the last couple of years, the program won the fall 2015 New England championships and represented the region at the national championships in Colorado in April 2016 as well as worked on several community service projects to raise money.  “It’s wonderful to have a winning season on the field,” said Nelson. “But, the club’s involvement in the local community off the field is what I am most honored to be a part of.”

The Dr. Robert L. Laurence Award was introduced to New England Football Union (NERFU) in 1999 by former Executive Director of Colleges Christopher Fauske. Fauske’s desire was to have the union acknowledge a college administrator for their support of rugby in New England and to help build relationships between the colleges and the union. Nelson received the award for outstanding excellence in the rugby community throughout New England.

Written by Christiana Rossomando