2019 Clan Coaching Spotlight - Stephen Saunders

This is the first in a series that will focus on introducing our coaching staff and some key players looking ahead into the 2019 season. First off I introduce to you a member of our coaching staff, Stephen Saunders.

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What are you coaching?

I am coaching the senior clanswomen this season


When did you start playing rugby?

Back in 2004, in my first year of high school. 


Brief playing/coaching history?

I started playing rugby for my highschool back in Oakville,Ontario, before joining the local rugby club, The Oakville Crusaders in 2005. I played for the CRU junior and senior programs until leaving for Alberta in 2013, winning a Provincial title in my final season with the Men's 1st XV team. In 2008-2012 I played for Queen's University along with my studies, during which Graeme Dibden was my Veteran when I was a rookie. Then after moving to Calgary in 2013, I played for the Calgary Irish for half a season, before joining the Clan after finding a job in Edmonton.

I started coaching in 2015, after being sidelined due to injury in 2014. I assisted coaching the senior men's program from 2015-2017, before transitioning to the women's head coach position in 2018.  


What brought you to the Clan?

As I mentioned before, Graeme Dibden was my Veteran when I was I rookie for Queen's Rugby Football Club. Shortly after being relocated from Calgary to Edmonton for work in 2013, I played a final game for the Irish vs the Clan at ERP, to which we lost 100-0. After the game, I caught up with Graeme, and showed up to Clan training the following Tuesday. 


What got you into coaching? 

After being sidelined due to injury in 2014, I still wanted to be involved with the Club, so I stepped up for the VP of Rugby role with the club. During which, we were very short on coaches, so I also helped out the Men's Head Coaches with their coaching duties.


What's your coaching philosophy?

My philosophy is player centered. I like challenging my players to think on their feet, work hard and make good decisions while playing the game at a high level. I am also a huge advocate of the social side of rugby. 


Do you have any special talents that people aren't aware of?

I can rap all the lyrics to Colt 45 by Afroman