The premier American Rugby Pro Training Center (ARPTC) closed its doors in December after seven years of fulfilling a critical need of supporting grassroots girls and women’s rugby while developing world class sevens athletes and coaches. The American-built training center, developed by co-owners Tania Hahn and Dr. Julie McCoy, and staffed largely by female coaching teams, played a key role in expanding pathways for women players looking for elite development, touring opportunities and visibility to national coaches.
It’s difficult to convey the tremendous impact Julie and Tania have had on U.S. women’s rugby, particularly the growth of 7s. Julie’s combined playing, coaching, and administrative careers span over 30 years. She has twice served as head coach of the Women’s 7s National Team, served on the USA Rugby Board, is a founder of ARPTC, and has coached women’s and men’s rugby at the local and select-side level for over 25 years - all while being a mom and managing a career as a physician and neurologist.
Many of the players and coaches who participated in summer residency camps at the Little Rock Arkansas training facility and international tours have gone on to secure professional coaching jobs and represent the United States at World Cups and Olympics.
Both players themselves, Hahn (New Orleans Halfmoons and West All Stars) and McCoy (New Orleans Half Moons, Little Rock Women’s Rugby, Atlantis, West All Stars, and US WNT 7’s) made sure that their training center also focused on grassroots rugby by offering summer residency programs for high school players and coaching development.
“Tania and I did our best to provide Female rugby players 15-30 years of age with an understanding of ‘what it takes’ to move from recreational to professional rugby, on and off the field. We are certain that the players from ARPTC are not only enjoying the game to its fullest as they now have Olympic 7s, Premier 7s and Overseas Pro leagues to showcase their skills, but are currently growing the type of playing environment they want to see in those places with an understanding of mutual respect for all as humans.”
(Dr. Julie McCoy, co-founder, ARPTC)
A true visionary, Julie understands the value of diversifying developmental structures for players and, by extension, coaches.
“Julie McCoy took a chance on me in 2006 when she added me to her USA coaching staff. She taught me how to coach within the confines of my emotions and personality. I learned the value of being my authentic self when coaching because ‘who I was' was an important element of team building. Julie always had a vision for the team, and for women’s rugby in general. She was, and still is, confident and persistent, not easily swayed by naysayers. She ran arguably the most successful US national 7’s program. Working with her was a highlight. Jules made me not just a better coach but a better person.”
(Christopher Ryan, former Assistant Coach, US WNT 7's and former Head Coach, Princeton University)
Her keen eye, rugby IQ, determination and steady leadership made ARPTC a destination for players and coaches. Julie and her staff not only expanded existing opportunities, but built entirely new pathways, allowing many young players to achieve their national team dreams or pursue international careers. In addition, Julie has served as a mentor for a generation of coaches.
“While I have only known her a few years, Jules has been such an important figure in my rugby world. She has been a mentor and a colleague, and I have benefitted from her introspection and reflections. Her honest feedback, openness to new perspectives, adaptability, and her ability to command the absolute best from players shaped my coaching practice. I appreciate having that stubborn southerner in my life. WOOOO PIG!”
(Hannah Stolba, USWNT player, international player, and Head Coach, Berkeley All Blues)
There is nothing quite like ARPTC. Its contribution to women’s rugby cannot be understated and it will be sorely missed.
“Jules brings the same intense level of energy and commitment to everything she does. She believes in playing better by playing smarter. She has a gift for team building and uses storytelling as she coaches – it’s a style that is engaging, functional, memorable, and tends to bring out the best in her athletes. She shares her passion for and knowledge of the game with players, colleagues, and fans at every opportunity--and not just about rugby, but also life.”
(Krista McFarren, USWNT player and coach)
Our sincere hope is that, after a much-needed hiatus, Julie will return to serve in a leadership capacity.
“The 'Jules Way' of teaching includes lessons that transcend rugby careers – integrity, self-reliance, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit. Julie has been a selfless servant in our sport who has always found a way to turn needs or gaps into opportunities that pull others along with her.”
(Danita Knox, Board Chair and President USWRF)
We at the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation (USWRF) would like to express our gratitude to Jules for her leadership, loyalty, and example. In a year that has seen the passing of Kathy Flores, we must reflect as a community on those individuals who are indispensable to women’s rugby. While we cannot repay them for their years of sacrifice, we owe them our gratitude and thanks.
Julie McCoy’s Career Accomplishments:
1990-1994: New Orleans Half Moons, 7s and 15s
1991: 3rd at USA Nationals
1994-2004: Little Rock Women’s, 7s and 15s
1991-1997: West Territory All-Star 15s Team
1992-2001: West Territory All-Star 7s Team
1998: USA 7s Eagle
1998: Captain Atlantis 7’s (Kinsale and Madrid 7s)
1994-2004: Little Rock Women’s 7s Team Head Coach
2009-2017: Little Rock Men’s 7s Team Head Coach
1998: West 15s Assistant Coach
1999-2002: West 15s Head Coach
2000-2004: West 7s Head Coach
2002-2004: USA 15s Assistant Coach
2005: USA 7s Assistant Coach
2006-2009: USA 7s Head Coach
2006: Started USA 7s for Women, hosting two Canadian sides, Team USA Winner
2006: Dubai International Cup, Team USA Winner
2008: USA 7s International Cup, Team USA Winner
2008: USA 7s International Hong Kong 7s Cup, Team USA Winner
2008: Qualified for First ever Women’s 7s World Cup, Bahamas, Team USA Semifinal loss to NZ 14-12
2010-2013: South Men’s 7s Head Coach
2012: USA 7s Development and Crossover Recruiting Coach
2014: Developed American Rugby Pro Training Center
2014: 2021 ARPTC Head Coach
2015-2016: USA 7s Head Coach
2015: Team USA Women’s 7s National Champions
2016: Team USA Top 4 finish in Sao Paulo, Brazil
2021: Tournament Startup, Falcon 7s, Little Rock AR
USAR Administrative Roles
2010-2013: USA Rugby Board of Directors and Representative to Congress
2010-2011: USA Rugby’s Medical and Safety Committee