Tyke Nollman Inducted to Hall of fame

Tyke NollmanWe congratulate one of the great Lions, J Tyke Nollman, on his post-humous induction into the USA Rugby Hall of Fame.

Tyke would have been very honored and humbled to be recognized. He was a great leader and served as Lions President for six years in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. He was the Lowry Lion recipient in 1973.

In one of his last roles, Tyke led the Chicago Lions capital campaign to acquire the land where our new facility will sit. We look forward to this summer to the opening the J Tyke Nollman Field in his honor.

Jay “Tyke” Nollman was a catalyst for the development of rugby in the United States for nearly forty years. Nollman played football for the Northwestern University Wildcats from 1962-1966, prior to beginning his long rugby career with the Chicago Lions Rugby Football Club in 1969. He changed the game of rugby in the United States by establishing the inaugural USA Rugby Inter-Territorial Tournament (ITTs) and developed rugby’s national presence through the incorporation of business sponsorships and marketing strategies. Nollman was an active administrator in the rugby world and championed many philanthropic endeavors, including youth rugby in the State of Illinois. [source]

Lions Awards Banquet 2019

Lions Awards Banquet 2019

The Lions celebrated our 55th Anniversary last Saturday night, February 23rd with over 120 players, alumni and supporters in attendance. We honored our past, celebrated our present and we look forward to our future. Tony Rio was awarded the prestigious Lowry Lion (see full recipient list).

Thank you Tony for your dedication to the Lions.

We would like to thank our team sponsors – Athletico and Mark Kaufman, Fresh Wave and CPH. We would like to thank So-G, which is Tony Rio and Bo Gray, for sponsoring the cocktail hour. Larry Zeno and Jim Kearney for each sponsoring half a players table and Pat Bolger for sponsoring some of the high school players.

We had five past presidents, six past captains, and eight Lowry Lions in attendance as well as numerous alumni who have donated to the Lions for Hope Complex and the Lions Den recurring donation program.

2019 banquet women

We celebrated our teams’ successes. Last spring, our men’s D1 team made it to the Elite 8, they won their division in the Midwest in the fall and participated in a tightly fought game in the first ever Elite Cup. Our second team moved up to D2 and we increased the size of our depth chart.

On the women’s side, our 7’s team made it to Nationals and we began our women’s 15’s team this past fall. The women were like the original Lions 55 years ago where they had a dream of building their own team. They took a leap of faith and joined us. 14 women played in our first game up in Minneapolis and won.

With the hiring of Andy Rose as Director of youth rugby almost a year ago, we began our youth program. We fielded our first sevens side and hosted our first youth 7’s tournament. In the fall, we fielded our first ever Lions high school team and Andy has made inroads in some of the local schools.

We recognized all our coaches, our Athletico staff, Dr. Levin, and all our volunteers who have all contributed to the success of the Chicago Lions. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

Lastly, we have begun construction on our first field which we project to be ready by June. We still need some funds to complete this phase. Once this field is built, we will begin the major capital campaign for the building and second field

Congratulations to the 2018 Chicago Lions Player award winners!

  • 15s Player of the Year: Men: Andy Rose / Women: Brittany O’Dell
  • 15s New Lion: Men: Joe Van Zyl / Women: Rachel Grecky
  • 15s Most Improved: Men: Jeffery Steele / Women: Jennifer Kelliher
  • 15s Coaches Award: Men: Frikkie DeBeer / Women: Kelley Hirt
  • Men’s 7s Player of the Year: Alex Dorrier
  • Women’s 7s Player of the Year: Meg Loomis
  • Lame Lions: Frikkie DeBeer and Susan Riggs
Lions for Hope Sports Complex and Youth Rugby Update

Lions for Hope Sports Complex and Youth Rugby Update

For those of you who joined us at the Gage last Wednesday, we thank you. Jeff Simon and Lisa Quinn gave compelling speeches regarding the Lions for Hope Sports Complex as well as what it means to be a Chicago Lion.

With about 80 people in attendance, many of you asked how you can help with these unique projects. There are three ways to do so:

  1. Direct Donation;
  2. Taking the message to the public through word of mouth, social media sharing and being an ambassador of the project; and
  3. Volunteering for a role to help continue the positive momentum for the Lions for Hope Sports Complex Chicago Lions Rugby and the Chicago Lions Community Rugby Program (middle school).

We are currently compiling a fact sheet for easy reference that will have links to specific areas of the website.

Further, as many of you have requested, we will also provide the data shared at the Gage event as it is a powerful tool to engage those unfamiliar with the project.

Please keep an eye out for addition information regarding the LFHSC and the CLCRP.

Thank you.

OUR MISSION is to build athletic fields and develop programs for the children of Chicago’s North Lawndale and East Garfield Park communities. Through rugby and other sports, we will expand life opportunities for the area youth to increase their social capital. This project is to not only enhance the community but also to give children a safe haven in the neighborhood.

Annual Keith Brown Golf Outing 2018

Annual Keith Brown Golf Outing 2018

On Friday, July 13th, in a scorcher, we had the Keith Brown Presidents Cup Golf Outing at White Pines Golf Club in Bensenville. We had about 70 golfers from all generations of Lions.

Everyone came out for a great day of golf and to celebrate David Hall for all his accomplishments for rugby, the Chicago Lions, Rugby Illinois and Arlington Stallions.

The winning foursome was Ray Dempsey, Tim Ryan, BJ Dolan and Bill Holohan at 13 under par with several teams finishing a close second. Everyone in their foursome sponsored a hole so a well-deserved victory.

We would like to thank our hole sponsors and a special thanks to Rebate Wager (Tony and Bo) for being the Dinner sponsor; Taft Law as Beverage Sponsor and Bryant Legal Group for Prize Sponsor. The event would not have possible without the leadership of Jim Kearney and Tom Lynch with the assistance of Lisa Brown.

See you next year!

Summer 7s Update

Summer 7s Update

Chicago Lions 7s training will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 p.m. on the grass field. Men’s coach is David Fee, Captain is Matt Wagner. The women’s team trains from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Women’s coach is Jeremy Nash.

  • 6/16: Madtown 7s @ Madison, WI
  • 6/30: USA East Open Qualifier @ Leesburg, VA (2nd Side @ Lakefront 7s, Milwaukee, WI)
  • 7/7: Midwest Qualifier 2 @ Brighton, MI
  • 7/14: Midwest Qualifier 3 @ Rockford, IL
  • 7/28: Midwest Championship Tournament @ Cincinnati, OH
  • 8/11-12: National Championship Tournament @ TBA

Training sessions are held at Altgeld Park at 2640 West Harrison Street. Street parking is available.

High School 7s Report

High School 7s Report

On Sunday, June 24th, we hosted the first ever Chicago Lions High School 7s Tournament and fielded a Chicago Lions High School 7s team; it was a great day in the history of the Club.

There were seven teams that played and we lost to the Naperville Warriors that had Steve Taft as the assistant coach. Three of the seven teams there were coached by current or former Lions players.

We would like to thank the Lions players that volunteered to help for the day. Andy Rose, our Director of Youth Rugby, deserves special thanks for organizing the successful event where we received numerous compliments from the Chicagoland rugby community. Andy will be getting married this weekend and we wish him the best of luck!

From Paul Bergman, Head Coach, Arlington Stallions Rugby Club and Lions Alum:

“Jeff, a huge THANK YOU to Andy and the entire Lions staff who put on yesterday’s tournament.  It was carried out with the high standards which the club has applied to all its endeavors.  It is the Stallions’ hope that this event will become a regular part of the High School Olympic Rugby schedule within Rugby Illinois.”

From Steve Taft, Assistant Coach, Naperville Warriors and Lions Alum:

“Jeff, I wanted to pass on what a great job that Andy Rose and his team did for setting up and hosting the high school sevens tournament on Sunday. I thought the pace with regards to getting as many matches in one day while making sure the kids had plenty of rest without too much delay was perfect. I think is was also great for the Lions to host since in years past, most of the high school sevens has been hosted by the Blaze. I can only see this tournament grow from here.”

From David Hall, VP Rugby Development, Rugby Illinois and Lions Alum/Past President:

“Jeff: Thank you for the Chicago Lions organizing the 7s tournament for the HS teams yesterday.  It was a quality event and well run.”