May 10, 2016 – University of Minnesota Men’s Rugby has announced the appointment of Jimmy Hanson as head coach. Hanson had been serving in an interim role, but a contract negotiated with the Men’s Rugby club and Alumni Association will see him formally assume the head coaching position.
“I took this job because I believe in what these guys have done, and what they will be able to do in the future” said Hanson. “They have something that their supporters should be proud of and excited about, and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Hanson, who graduated of the University of Minnesota Rugby program himself in 2008, was able to utilize his experience as both an athlete and coach to forge a strong connection with his players. Club president David Sannerud noted that "when Jimmy started coaching things just kind of clicked and the team really started to work together.”
After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2008, Hanson continued to play for a number of years but began to focus heavily on coaching in 2009.
Hanson was an assistant coach for the U19 select side prior to becoming the head coach of Armstrong in 2010 where he won six consecutive Minnesota state championships. In addition to coaching high school athletes, he has coached local women's clubs including the Minneapolis Menagerie and the Minnesota Valkyries.
Outside of Minnesota, Hanson has been selected to assist with coaching at multiple regional and national all-star events, including the Midwest Thunderbirds and the 2013 Girls High School Stars and Stripes program.
Hanson is also the co-founder of the Minnesota Tundra, a high-performance rugby program dedicated to providing high school athletes year round opportunities to train and play high level rugby.
Hanson will be joined by Tundra co-founder Mikayla Miller who will volunteer as an assistant coach. The two have coached both together and against each other over the last few years as co-founders of the Minnesota Tundra, co-coaches of the Minnesota Select Side and as head coaches of rival high school powerhouses Armstrong and North Suburban. In addition to Miller's coaching roles, she still actively plays for the Twin Cities Amazons.
The entire University of Minnesota Men’s Rugby family welcomes Coach Hanson and Miller, and is excited for the next era of Gopher Rugby.