BYU rugby assistant coach to attend elite coaching clinic

By Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 21 2011 7:42 p.m. MDT

PROVO — BYU rugby assistant coach Kimball Kjar has been selected by USA Rugby to attend Talent Optimization Program (TOP) of the International Rugby Board (IRB), the international governing body of rugby in South Africa.

IRB's TOP is an elite-level coaching clinic designed to supplement the IRB's coaching development program. Participants will not only cover top level coaching education material, but also instruction on the business side of of the modern game of rugby.

Only 10 coaching participants are selected to attend, and applicants came from all over the world.

Coaches and instructors at IRB's TOP include some of the biggest names in the game of rugby, like Jake White, who coached South Africa to its 2007 Rugby World Cup championship. Others attending will be Rassie Erasmus, former star Springbok and current Western Province Stormers head coach, and Mark Harrington, IRB's head of training development.

Kjar and fellow TOP participants will work at the renowned Stellenbosch University, South Africa's Notre Dame of rugby.

USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville said supporting Kjar's nomination to the elite level coaching program was an easy one.

"We are delighted that Kimball has accepted this opportunity to work with some of the world's best coach educators and to work alongside a group of coaches from across the world," Melville commented."Kimball has international playing experience and he is now developing into a fine coach, and this course will help him to develop his own coaching style and practice for future contributions to the development of the game here in the USA."

Kjar's rugby track record started at BYU where he walked on as a freshman in 1996, only to make the team and start as a flanker for the entire season.

An LDS mission to Brisbane, Australia, saw Kjar's rugby appreciation grow. Upon returning in 1999, he was quickly moved to into the USA Men's National Team (known as the Eagles) in 2001 and was a three-time All-American from 2001-2003.

With more than 20 appearances over a six-year career with the USA Eagles, Kjar finished his playing career in 2007 where he joined his alma mater BYU as an assistant coach that same year.

Kjar helped the Cougars to their first national title in 2009 and has since moved on to work with the Collegiate All-Americans as an assistant coach since 2009.

BYU head coach David Smyth supported his assistant's selection to IRB's Talent Optimization Program, saying it speaks to Kjar's abilities and the growth of the BYU rugby program.

"Kimball's taken to coaching like he did to playing," Smyth said, "With his experience in South Africa, our players and program will only continue to improve."

Of his selection, Kjar said he was honored at the chance to attend IRB's TOP.

"I'm looking forward this experience," he said. "This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm grateful for the chance to learn from some of the best coaches and leaders of rugby in the world."

The IRB TOP schedule begins this weekend and runs for a week of intense classroom and practical development sessions.

For information on the IRB go to www.irb.com.

The BYU rugby program is one of the school's most winning sports teams with just 19 losses in over 20 years. BYU Rugby won the 2009 Collegiate National Championship and has promoted 28 players to All-American status. For more go to byurugby.com

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