The Wake Forest University men's rugby team has hired Justin Goonan to be the team’s new head coach. Goonan joins the Demon Deacons with an impressive resume, having played college rugby at Texas A&M and then in the US Rugby Super League with Old Blue and Boston. While in Boston, he served as an assistant coach with Boston College and in 2012 he was a member of the coaching staff for the USA U-20 men's team that won the IRB Junior Rugby World Trophy. For the last year, Coach Goonan has lived in London pursuing a Masters degree in Strength & Conditioning at the University of Greenwich and interning with the famed London Scottish.
Inheriting a team that struggled last spring, going winless in ACRL conference play, Coach Goonan is eager to build a successful program along with the large number of returning players in key positions.
Wake Forest Rugby Foundation President Andrew Gentles, who led the coaching search committee, had this to say, "We had dozens of solid candidates apply for the position, but Coach Goonan really stood out. From our first interview with him I knew he was the right man for the job and I'm thrilled that he has accepted the challenge of leading Wake Forest rugby as we rebound from last year and continue to raise the level of the program."
For his part, Goonan said, "This is a fantastic opportunity to coach college rugby at a high level. Wake Forest University is very well known as an academic institution and their rugby program has a talented and committed group of returning players along with strong administrative and alumni support. I'm looking forward to getting back to the States and plan to hit the ground running. Right now, my focus in on learning more about the players and establishing a platform for our pre-season camp."
Goonan will be assisted by Trent Justice, who has been an assistant coach with the team since 2010 and will stay on in that capacity. Former head coach Patrick Kane is also expected to remain with the program as an assistant. Wake Forest begins the ACRL season onSeptember 14 when they host the Virginia Cavaliers at Poteat Field.