It is with great sadness that Villanova Rugby announces that our longtime coach and director of rugby, Patrick Maher, passed away earlier this week at the age of 47 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. The prayers of all of Rugby Pennsylvania and the rugby community are with his wife and family in their time of mourning. Pat was a significant force developing and promoting Youth and High School Rugby in the Pennsylvania area.
Villanova University released the following;
"Coach Maher was, in many respects, the heart and soul of Villanova Rugby. A member of the Class of 1990, he played rugby all 4 years at Villanova and then for various men's clubs. He joined the Villanova coaching staff in 2010 as the club was officially recognized by the university for the first time in decades. His influence and hard work in the years prior were integral to that achievement. During his time on the coaching staff, his passion for Villanova Rugby knew no bounds and he repeatedly sacrificed his time to teach this great game to so many young men. He would often been seen joining in team scrimmages, laying out hits harder than anyone on the team. He was always willing to teach the game to new players and would always make time for individual coaching sessions before and after practice. Working as the referee at all of our annual alumni games, he would often ignore the rules of the game he was tasked with administering and make plays for the alumni when no one else was in a position to. In 2014, Coach Maher stepped up yet again for the club and became the Director of Rugby, taking on all the hard work of managing the club. Under his leadership, the club joined Division I collegiate rugby and the Keystone Conference, finally achieving again the heights that Villanova Rugby experienced in his time in college. Besides all of the dedication he showed to Villanova Rugby, he also spent countless hours coaching at both Malvern Prep and Saint Joe's Prep.
Without a doubt, these and more contributions to Villanova Rugby will be sorely missed. But, even more so, we will miss the man. He was more than a coach, but a brother and a friend to so many generations of Villanova Rugby. He will not be forgotten by those men he played with and coached for so long. In the words of current head coach and close friend Jack Foley to the current members of the team:
He is my friend, our friend, and our coach. He is one of us as an alumni and is the man who fought to bring Villanova Rugby back onto campus. We are one of his passions, and without him this program wouldn't exist. Rugby, when stripped to its core, is about our relationships with each other. We make a choice to join this school, this team, this club. And when done right, we come together as a Villanova Rugby community and experience a passion for each other, our club, and our school. That's what Pat experienced, and because of this he made the choice to ensure we not only exist, but thrive.
Coach Maher's obituary can be found at the following link: http://hosting-21919.tributes.com/obituary/read/Patrick-Joseph-Maher-103687917. A visitation will take place this Friday, June 24, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Donahue Funeral Home in Newtown Square (3300 West Chester Pike). A funeral mass will take place the following day, Saturday, June 25 at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church at 10:00 AM on Villanova's campus (800 Lancaster Avenue).
The Villanova University Rugby Football Club