Bill Pulos’ coaching career came to a victorious finish.
In his final game as Alfred Rugby Club coach, Pulos guided his team to a 12-7 win over rival Rochester Institute of Technology on Hot Dog Day on Jericho Hill.
RIT had been looking for a measure of revenge, as Alfred knocked the Tigers out in an New York Rugby Conference Div. III quarterfinal with a 28-14 win in a driving rain. Alfred entered that game as the No. 4 seed, while RIT was the top seed.
For the second consecutive Hot Dog Day, the weather was gloomy, but Alfred’s size made the difference in the low-scoring affair.
Alfred’s scrum forward up front dominated the ball-in-play and time of possession.
Kevin Wright scored in the first half on an exciting breakaway run, followed by Alfred’s newest kicking phenom — Dawson Peckham, who is an ex-soccer player and national caliber soccer goal-kicking champion. With Wright’s run and Peckham’s kick, Alfred had the lead.
Early in the second half, RIT got on the board as Alfred was penalized for over-aggressive play. RIT was awarded a penalty try and enhanced point after placement — a first seen by Pulos in his 16 seasons.
However, Alfred bounced back quickly and Mike Robillard blasted through the line and scored the game-winning score in the final minutes.
The game concluded a shortened season for Alfred in which it took on much bigger schools like St. John Fisher, Rochester, Brockport, and Div. I Buffalo State. Alfred went toe-to-toe with Buffalo State before a narrow 21-19 loss.
In addition to Pulos, 11 of Alfred’s players have played their final game with the club.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys on this club,” said Pulos. “They play with unparalleled strength, pride, attitude, nerve and courage. No matter what conditions and no matter the odds, these guys show up and compete. More than that, these guys will take the lessons they’ve learned into the real world of overcoming hardship, facing down insurmountable odds, competing against larger, better organized competitors, standing up for themselves and their teammates in hostile environments against bigger numbers, with superior results.”
Pulos finishes his 16-season tenure (27 years overall with the club) on May 1 with 100 wins.
“There were many that said it couldn’t be done,” said Pulos. “I can’t give the players enough accolades.”
After six semesters, Pulos said he has accomplished what he was brought in to do — obtain objectively measured and positive results with good, clean power ball on the field.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to coach this club all these seasons in my hometown,” said Pulos. “I’ve had the support of so many people over the years to help bring the world’s second-most popular sport of rugby here to Alfred for the enjoyment of so many. It would be difficult to list them all, but I thank them now, particularly the Student Affairs department of Alfred University.
“Now it is time for a new coaching staff to pick up the rugby ball and carry the program forward. With new sports administration at both institutions, it’s possible the club might gain the essential support it deserves for medical and training facilities to help protect the athletes, which in turn would benefit the entire community. In today’s economy, college club sports are a bargain for both schools’ bottom line, there’s little reason not to promote them.”
Pulos said he would like to be remembered as having done his best and being an innovator, decent coach, and mentor.
“Most importantly, I hope both of my parents would be proud of the way I’ve honored the Alfred University lineage and heritage that I share with my brother Robert,” said Pulos. “I dedicate my 4,000 hours of donated time with Alfred University Rugby since 1985 to the memory of our parents and their time spent teaching at AU. Our dad, Dr. William L. Pulos (1949-1985) and our mom Juanita Whitaker Pulos (1966-1986).”
By Staff reports – EVENING TRIBUNE
Posted Apr 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM Updated Apr 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM