Head Coach and Founder: Darrin Barner (2002-present)
Darrin Barner, a Wayne native, founded both the women and men’s programs in 2002. Winning seasons started early as both the women and the men won the conference championship and advanced into the national playoffs.
A unique program where both women and men practice together has also carry the motto “2 Teams/ 1 Program/ All Dedicated to The Program” mentality.
This has carried over to 13 national championships for the program in both 7 on 7 rugby and 15 on 15 rugby.
Barner a 4-year defensive back 1985-1988 for Wayne State Football, was coached by Rich Basaccia and Dennis Danielson; both who moved forward in their coaching careers to coach in the NFL. Barner started his rugby playing career after college and played for Ft. Worth, Texas, and played until 2002. As a member of the 1999-2000 Ft. Worth Rugby Club, they won the National Championship.
Barner was awarded the 2015 Program Development of North America by USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez and Scott Harland from Rugby Canada, with a large presentation during the rugby homecoming game. He earned the 2017 USA Rugby Coach of The Year and has been a guest on two occasions with the USA rugby 7’s women’s team at the Olympic Training Center, along being a guest with the USA men’s 15’s program in 2019 just before team USA went to the World Cup in Japan. Barner also was part of a coaching scholarship program with the British Council and traveled to the Premiership Professional teams in England as part of a coaching advancement program that spent practice time with the London Wasps, Northampton Saints and the Leicester Tigers.
Off the field Barner was awarded “Nebraska Admiral”. This is the state of Nebraska’s highest honor; approved and awarded by the Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts.
Level 3 World Rugby Coaching Certificate
USA Rugby Referee Certificate
Barner is supported by his bride Brenda, his college school sweetheart from Berry Hall dorms at WSC.