Photo: Paul Meyers
BYU assistant coach Kimball Kjar (right) alongside head coach David Smyth (left).

OREM — Former BYU rugby coaches David Smyth and Wayne Tarawhiti have decided to join the Utah Valley University rugby program, according to a press release.

Smyth and Tarawhiti guided the Cougars to five national championships before resigning earlier this month. Now, they will be helping the Wolverine team.

“This was a great opportunity to work with a team that has been on the rise the past couple of years," Tarawhiti said in a statement sent out Friday. "The coaching staff and administration has already set some good groundwork. Now we want to continue that and build on it! We firmly believe that the potential is there for the UVU rugby program to excel and become very competitive at a national level. Obviously we're excited to get back on the field and do what we love to do.”

Smyth wrote on Facebook earlier this month an explanation for why he decided to resign at BYU after three decades.

"In 2011 the extramural sports program, of which the rugby team is a part of, was moved into the Student Life department. That change made it difficult to run the rugby program with the standards we were used to. Simply put, our vision, strategies and goals for the rugby program do not align with those of the Student Life department. So, after thirty plus years of being a part of the BYU rugby program, I have decided to step aside and move on."

In Friday's announcement, Smyth expressed his desire to help young rugby players.

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"I think the colleges need to work harder at providing the opportunities for these youngsters to continue playing after high school. We're excited as we look at the youth rugby landscape to see where the UVU program can go with these young players. Being able to play rugby whilst getting an education can be a powerful thing in the lives of these young men. It helps them in becoming well-rounded individuals with developed skills that will enable them to gain professional employment. It will only be a benefit to them. In the proper program environment, there's no reason why these boys can't excel in both areas."