From flanker to bench boss

Mary-Kim Schriver was once on the pitch wearing green and gold. Now, she will get another opportunity to be a Tommie, this time from the sidelines.

Schriver played as a flanker when she attended St. Thomas University, now she is the new coach at the helm of the STU womens’ rugby program

“It’s a humbling opportunity,” she said.

“I felt like I was in a position to challenge myself … I decided to go for it.”

Schriver, a 44-year-old Nackawic resident, will take on the new role after the departure of previous coaches, Meghan Meghan Morrison and Stephanie Carey. She coached at the high school level in Nackawic and Hartland before accepting the new role.

Schriver graduated from STU in ’97 with a Bachelor of Arts and then a Bachelor of Education in ’98.

STU Athletic Director Mike Eagles said he was pleased to bring Schriver into the program.

“She’s super engaged in everything, in leading the team,” Eagles said.

“My communication with [Schriver] has been really good. I’m excited to have her on board.”

With the foundation built by Morrison and Carey after the Tommies made four consecutive finals appearances, Schriver knows the goals will be tough to meet.

“I will admit that yes, there is a feeling of expectation to reach the finals and win the coveted banner,” Schriver said.

“[Morrison] and [Carey], along with coaches before them, have set the bar high, and their record has proven that they are a strong team of determined players.”

Shriver said there’s a difference between coaching at a university level compared to a high school level. 

“Coaching at the high school level involves more grassroots learning. Many have never played before, or if they did, there was very little contact,” she said.

“University rugby is exciting because it’s taking learning to another level of competition. Being focused, intentional and strategic. The fun stuff.”

After a week of training camp and an exhibition game, Schriver was able to identify areas that need improvement.

“Endurance … quicker offensive moves and stronger defensive plays to regain position,” she said.

“That being said, I am extremely excited about the potential on this team. It is a highly motivated team … our forwards are strong but want to get stronger and our backs are fast and agile but want to get more fast and agile. They are moving forward and want to be the team to beat.”

Despite the Tommies being unable to conquer the mighty UNB Ironmaidens in their past four match ups in the league finals, Schriver remains confident and said there shouldn’t be any drastic changes to her squad.

“The team has demonstrated that they can overcome challenges and reach goals, so we will keep identifying those obstacles and conquer the next one,” she said.

“That’s just life. Never stop learning and making improvements.”

 

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