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By Liam "Poach" Madigan-Fried, 09/20/18, 2:45PM CDT


West Houston Lions Name Paul Emerick Their First Men’s D1 Head Coach

USA Rugby Legend Leads Its Future

Houston, TX, September 20, 2018– The West Houston Rugby Club is pleased to announce that Paul Emerick, Eagle No. 325 and former member of the London Wasps RFC of the English Premiership, has agreed to become the Head Coach of the West Houston Lions for their inaugural season of D1 Men’s rugby. With 53 Eagles XVs caps, three Rugby World Cup appearances, and a Barbarians F.C. selection, Paul brings a wealth of perspective and experience that is sure to lend itself to the Lion’s pursuit of greatness. Additionally, Coach Emerick will work with Major League Rugby’s Houston SaberCats as their Skills Coach, as this hiring is a joint venture between the Lions and the SaberCats.

"The concept of West Houston fielding a D1 team a few years ahead of its strategic plan to do so is about developing players, coaches, referees, and administrators who prepare to operate in the professional game. Paul is essential to that concept in developing players and himself. He is a coach we will be seeing at the professional and test match levels in years to come."   

- Grant Cole, D1 Men’s Team Manager

The excitement spurred as a result of this announcement spans well beyond the walls of the WHL organization.

When asked how he felt about the decision to bring on Paul, Coach Justin Fitzpatrick of the Houston SaberCats noted, “(Paul’s) had a storied playing career in a number of different environments, which is going to enable him to draw from different experiences...I think he’s going to be a great addition to the Lions’ program.”

With the atmosphere of American Rugby quickly heating up, Emerick realizes the need to create an environment that will benefit players at highest levels. “I want to continue to build a culture of professionalism, and help young men reach their aspirations, whether that be professional, international, or enjoyment of the game.”

The West Houston Lions are excited to have Paul aboard. He joins an already impressive Senior Men’s coaching staff featuring Neil Riley (DoR), Kenneth Hepburn, Neil Doherty, Dan O’Donnell, Hennie Volschenk, & Garry Owen. Paul's reputation in sport and connections to rugby all around the world will help with recruiting young players and coaches to the Houston-area. Paul is currently enrolled in USA Rugby’s Project SOAR and serves as a backs and attack coach for the Men’s Collegiate All-Americans. West Houston looks forward to a successful first season.

West Houston Rugby Club is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) registered organization in Texas. West Houston Rugby Club accepts players of all genders from the age of 3 to 18 and senior players post High School. Youth teams are grouped according to age, with girls competing at the same level as boys until age 13. The club has three competitive Senior Mens teams in Divisions 1, 2, and 4 in the Red River and Texas conferences and is actively forming a Senior Womens team. For more information on the West Houston Rugby Club please visit or contact

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Brooke Rubens at 713-906-3697 or email at