San Francisco Golden Gate Director of Rugby Paul Keeler is stepping down.
Keeler and the club both released announcements late Thursday.
In a statement the club said Keeler’s job had expanded to the point that it requires two people – a coaching director and an administrative director. Keeler told the club this as he was in the middle of applying for the USA National Team coaching job.
In addition, Keeler started coaching the Santa Clara University team this past season, and led the program to some success. In the end, he needed to choose. Keeler will remain involved with SFGG, coaching in some capacity and running the San Francisco Rugby Academy.
"After five years , it is with mixed emotion that I am stepping down as Director of Rugby with SFGG," Keeler said in a prepared statement. "While I am stepping down it is my intention to continue conducting the San Francisco Rugby Academy and coaching with the club but in a more limited capacity due to my coaching responsibilities with the Santa Clara University rugby program."
Added the club in its official statement:
SFGG has been fortunate that an individual of Paul Keeler’s caliber has provided so much to the Club over the last five years, and is looking forward to his continued relationship with the Club. If SFGG can stay on the track that Paul was instrumental in putting us on during his tenure as Rugby Director, our next five years look very promising."
Keeler joined SFGG from Old Blue in New York in 2008. That year his team opened with two close losses in the Super League, and then won five straight to make the playoffs. They bowed out to NYAC in the quarterfinals - all three of their 2008 losses were by less than a try.
In 2009, SFGG was 6-1 in the regular season and won the Super League Final over Life University. A year later, they lost the final in a close one to NYAC, and then edged Life in the championship game in 2011.
This past season, SFGG finished the season 3-4, losing three times to Old Puget Sound Beach. In his five years as Director of Rugby at SFGG, Keeler posted a 32-9 record in Super League games, including a 7-3 record in the playoffs and two championships.
"Coach Keeler has done a fantastic job, in fact so good that the position has now become more than one person can handle," said the club statement.
Added Keeler in conclusion:
"Over the past five years many of our members, supporters, fans, and loved ones have helped and supported the club to the levels of excellence we have attained. Excellence, however, is not a destination, and our competitors are not the measuring stick. As the club strives to raise the standard of excellence that it has set, there will be changes, improvements and the occasional setback. One thing certain to remain constant will be the hard work and dedication of all those who enjoy this great club and this truly wonderful game."