BYU Rugby Head Coach David Smyth: Interview of the Week

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BYU Rugby Head Coach David Smyth: Interview of the Week

BYU Rugby Forever's 'Interview of the Week' series continues with a few words from an extra special guest and household name among BYU Rugby fans, Head Coach David Smyth. After the hype and hectics settled following the spectacular National Title win last month, Coach Smyth agreed to answer a few questions to appease the curiosity of BYU Rugby Fans everywhere. (Photo courtesy of Paul Meyers)


BYU Rugby Forever:
Looking back on the BYU-Cal national championship meetings of the past few years, how has the consistent match-up affected your playoff approach? your team preparation and goals?

David Smyth:
In all honesty, we have kept our preparation very simple but focused. We never look past our opponent. We identify the things that we need to do well against the team we are playing against and then let the boys go to work. What we try to do throughout the course of the season is identify different options available to the players through good decision making as things unfold on the field. Very rarely do you go through a game where you are not tested to the point where you need to change things on the fly. The players themselves need to be able to identify these situations and make the changes. Our input during the course of a game is limited.

The playoffs do bring a different set of challenges through travel and the high level of competition, so on and so forth; we have a certain routine that we follow, but as I said, keeping things simple and focused is usually the order of the day.

BYU Rugby Forever:
In your view, what factors enabled BYU to come out on top in this year's championship bout?

David Smyth:
A number of things played a role in this year's result. Firstly, we were relatively healthy compared to past years. Our strength and conditioning program supervised by coaches McClure and Omer had a massive impact; our boys were fitter than they have been in past years. There was a sense of belief amongst the boys that if they worked hard and together and trusted each other that they could win. For them to trust each other, it required that every player needed to know his role within the team and perform to the best of his ability. I think they all did that!

BYU Rugby Forever:
With several teams "raising the bar" (especially this year) in college rugby, what is your outlook for the future? How will the BYU Rugby team maintain a competitive edge in the long run?

David Smyth:
I think the future looks bright! We are excited but not under any illusions when it comes to what lies ahead. There will be no shortage of challengers out there in the foreseeable future; we've just got to look 40 miles up the freeway to remind ourselves of that fact. We will continue to foster an environment where we test ourselves as coaches and players so that we can perform well.

We need to continue to bring athletes and rugby players into our program: these young men are the ones that make things happen on the field and without them we couldn't do it.

BYU Rugby Forever:
What will it take to establish the BYU Rugby team as the top program in the nation, even to the point of overshadowing the Cal mystique?

David Smyth:
I don't think you can overshadow the Cal mystique. To do what they have done has been nothing short of amazing! No one will ever come close to their level of success as college rugby continues to get better across the country. In saying that, however, we want to maintain our own identity at BYU by doing things in a way that works for us. Continually striving to get the best results and placing young men in the world who know what they have to do to succeed in their professions and within their families. Does that mean we will win a national championship every year? I don't think so...but if we are not close to it, we would all be disappointed.

BYU Rugby Forever:
You were recently named the "2008/09 ARN College Coach of the Year" as BYU claimed its first National Title. What does this honor, and especially the National Title, mean to you? your career? your family?

David Smyth:
I'm never really comfortable focusing on individual honors. It was a great honor for the program. It really reflects on the effort put forth by all the coaches and especially the players. The national championship was very special for everyone associated with the program. As far as my family, I should say how very grateful I am to my wife and children for all of their support through the years; they have been fantastic!

BYU Rugby Forever:
If you could send a message to all BYU Rugby alumni and fans, what would it say?

David Smyth:
Without the enthusiastic support of alumni, it would be impossible to contend for a national championship. In these difficult times, it sometimes requires a bit of a stretch for alumni to put forth even more support. Truly, there is a direct relationship between alumni support and our success on the field. Without their increased support, we will fail. Together, we can accomplish great things.

BYU Rugby Forever:
Thank you for your time and consideration, Coach Smyth. On behalf of BYU Rugby fans everywhere, I offer many congratulations on an amazing season and well-deserved National Title. Here's looking forward to next year!

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