Bellingham, WA – Paul Horne has officially accepted a job at Western Washington University, as the Director of Rugby. With over 30 years of elite level coaching experience, he is a welcome addition to a program committed to success.
A graduate of Western Washington with a degree in Education, Horne's coaching career began at Semiahmoo High School in British Columbia in 1979. He catalyzed the growth and development of rugby on the White Rock Peninsula. Under his guidance at Semiahmoo, and later at Bayside RFC, he developed many elite rugby players who represented Canada in international matches.
Horne’s coaching and leadership skills earned him the position of head coach for the British Columbia U19 team for 8 years. His team won the National Championship every year.
He took over the Canada U19 and also coached the U21 and U23 programs until he was named assistant coach with the Canadian Senior Men’s National team.
In 2002, after 23 years Paul retired from teaching at Semiahmoo, and returned to teach in Bellingham, Wash. Chuckanut Bay RFC, based in Bellingham, welcomed him home with the job of Coaching Director for the club. A number of players from this program have gone on to play for the USA at various levels, including current Eagle prop Shawn Pittman.
In the fall of 2010 Horne joined Spence McTavish and David Johnston at the University of British Columbia rugby program. But he has now moved back to his Alma Mater to help their rugby program.
A statement released by WWU Rugby said: "The growth of the game at the US Collegiate level is very exciting. Western Washington University is extremely pleased to work with Horne and build a program that will reflect high standards on the playing field, in the classroom and on the sidelines. WWU rugby is looking forward to Horne’s coaching, management and guidance as the team looks to build on its recent successes."
Western Washington University decided in January of 2009 to discontinue its gridiron football program. Since then, the rugby program has struggled to gain the sort of foothold that rugby teams at St. Mary's, Davenport, and Lindenwood enjoy. With a strong in-state high school rugby environment and excellent high school rugby in neighboring states and in BC, WWU is uniquely positioned to make a big step forward in college rugby. Horne, with a history at WWU as a former student and as a teacher in the region, and one who is known for being energetic and tenacious, might well be the person to make it all happen.