Written by Ed Hagerty
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 00:00
In Memoriam: Dan Porter
Dan Porter, 64, former Ohio State Head Coach and former Assistant Coach for the University of California and US National Team, passed away at Stanford Medical Center on October 30, 2010 after a long illness.
Born on October 2, 1946 in Whittier, Calif. to Ralph and Virginia Porter, Dan grew up with his brother Dexter, sister Terry and a close knit clan of cousins, aunts and uncles. After graduating from Whittier HS, Dan attended newly opened UCSC in 1966, living in a trailer on the East Field.
As a freshman, Porter was a founding member of the first UCSC Rugby Club, recruiting players by posting flyers in the new dorms. A forward, Dan transitioned from player to coach and went on to become an innovative leader in US rugby coaching circles.
After his first coaching stint at UCSC, Porter expanded his skills in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1980s, coming back to coach UCSC in 1984. Dan subsequently developed a partnership with University of California Coach Jack Clark, forming the first Collegiate All American side in 1987, with Clark as Head Coach and Dan as Assistant.
In 1993, Clark became Head Coach of the US National Team, with Porter as Assistant Coach, focusing on backline play and technical analysis until 1997.
Concurrently, Clark and Porter coached the University of California to seven National Collegiate Championships.
Porter left California in 1998 to coach Harvard University and then shifted to Ohio State in 1999. He coached OSU in Columbus until 2004, taking the Buckeyes to consecutive Midwest RFU Championships.
Porter moved to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, using his construction skills to rebuild homes and coach the New Orleans Rugby Club. He returned to Ohio State to coach the Women’s Program in 2008 and assisted at San Jose State in 2009.
Porter frequently wrote for Rugby Magazine and USA Rugby coaching manuals.
When not absorbed in rugby, Porter was a talented builder, versed in all aspects of construction. He was also an avid player of miniature war games, spending hours painting whole armies of tiny, metal Napoleonic soldiers and staging battles over mini-fields of his own devising.
Porter touched the lives of many people, including the hundreds of young men and women whom he coached. He will be remembered for his quick laugh, intelligence, generous nature, creativity, fierce independence and inexhaustible store of rugby lore. His legacy will be his keen analysis of attack and defense strategies, which has factored greatly in the development of US rugby.
Dan Porter Rugby Endowment
A Dan Porter Rugby Endowment fund is being established to benefit the men’s and women’s rugby programs at Ohio State.
Contributions can be made to Ohio State University, designating:
1) Coach Dan Porter Rugby Endowment Fund, #482075
1480 W. Lane Ave,
Columbus, OH 43221
2) Or made online at www.giveto.osu.edu. Click “give now” and use gift #482075.
Memorial services will be held on December 12, 2010, 2-4 pm at the Fireside Lounge, Stevenson College, UCSC and January 16 in Columbus, Ohio.