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September 2021 Coach of the Month: Olivia Benzan-Daniel

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Where do you live?

Somerville, MA


IT Service Desk & Student Engagement Manager

Team(s) you coach and why it’s great to coach them:

Brandeis University Women - the team has an amazing attitude and growth mindset and constantly educate me on the best ways to interact with my players.

St. Mary's High School Girls - They are such a great group of people and an incredible group of quick learners across the board.

How did you get into coaching? What do you love about it? What’s most challenging for you as a young coach?

It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. My old college team needed a coach shortly after I accepted a full time job there, and I wanted to help out so I became their coach. I love seeing players progress whether it's honing a skill we've been working on for weeks or just learning the game for the first time and finally understanding how things are working and creating plays on their own. I also love sharing the fun of rugby with other people and introducing them to the game.

Folks who’ve had a big impact on your coaching career:

That's a tough question. Almost every coach I've had has impacted my coaching career in some way.

Other rugby involvement?

I'm a certified referee, but it's been a while since I officiated a match. I volunteer with Rookie Rugby as a youth coach at clinics whenever available, and just became a World Rugby Educator. Sometimes I feel like I've got a list of admin roles as long as my arm. I've listed them below.

  • President of CRAA Women

  • ACRA Administrator

  • Northeast D1 Commissioner

  • Rugby Northeast Vice Commissioner

  • College Council Women's D1 Representative

  • Senior Club Training & Development Committee Member

Areas of the game where you see advancement or concern?

Rugby's definitely advancing in visibility and access. High school teams are cropping up everywhere. Women's college teams are becoming varsity programs. When I was a college freshman about a decade ago now, I couldn't even really Google rugby on the internet.

My main area of concern is sustainability. Are we creating paths for people to continue to support the game when they leave the pitch? How are creating and molding the next generation of coaches, refs, admin and community supporters?

Your most sage coaching advice:

Remember why you coach, and put your coaching principles into words somehow. Let players remind you of all the joy there is in rugby.

Photo Credit: Melissa Barker

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