In October 2001, Darrin Barner, a WSC alum and former football player for the Wildcats from 1985 to 1988, placed an ad in the Wayne Stater and set up a campus meeting in the upper level of the Student Center. More than 60 students attended the meeting and showed strong interest in having men's and women’s rugby teams in the spring of 2002.
Barner was the Intramural Sports Coordinator at WSC from 1988 to 1994 and played rugby in the Iowa Rugby Union after his football days were over in the fall of 1988. Barner, who moved to Texas for a sales position with Northwest Airlines in 1994, was now living in Fort Worth. He joined the Fort Worth Rugby Stampede in 1994 and won the 2000 National Championship. Barner had a guest speaker at the meeting, former Fort Worth Flyhalf, Henno Trablanche from South Africa, who flew to Wayne to help coordinate the meeting.
During the meeting only one out of the 60 students had ever played rugby before, Shane O’Conner. O’Conner was very motivated to encourage other meeting attendees, the benefits of playing rugby. When the meeting was concluded, O’Conner, Barner, and Trablanche went to the Wayne Bowling Alley to enjoy a game of pool and discuss the future of WSC Rugby knowing that Barner lived 700 miles away, and to draw out a game plan for being instated as an official WSC Organization and Sports Club.
After reviewing the Student Handbook, the only way to have the rugby team approved by the Dean of Students and the Student Senate was to have an actual faculty member of WSC to be the official sponsor of the club.
Barner had a meeting with Stacey Altman, the Co-Division Head for the Health, Human Performance, and Sports Administration Department. Altman jumped at the idea that she could hold the golden key to start up the WSC Rugby Football Club.
Ms. Altman presented an excellent speech to the Curt Frye, Dean of Students, and the Student Senate on the benefits of approving the official WSC recognition of the rugby club. Altman also mentioned that Wayne State should look at the Title IX possibilities and the thought of rugby becoming a varsity sport at WSC, would not take that much if the rugby club followed the same shadows on how the Women’s Soccer Club became a varsity sport after being a club sport on campus.
Entering the final stages for approval, an official list of by-laws had to be presented to the Student Senate. Brian Geltster drew up the by-laws, helped with all administrative organization, and assisted in final plans with Barner when he could not make the commute up to Wayne for the presentations.
Barner did mention that every strong foundation has four corner stones, and the WSC Rugby Football Club should honor Altman, O'Conner, and Gelster with just as much recognition as himself for starting this club in the fall of 2001 for a first-year team in the spring of 2002.
Barner also mentioned Frank Teach, Director of Student Activities, and Curt Frye, Dean of Students, helped tremendously in the preparation for the final presentation to the Student Senate for college recognition.