KANSAS CITY, MO – Aseri Batiratu, a former Eagle 7s player and rising coach, has been named the new head coach of the Kansas City Blues entering the 2013-2014 season. The Blues, who reached the D1 National Quarterfinals in 2012 and have competed in the West Northern Conference since 2007, will join the re-aligned D1 Midwest Conference this fall.
Batiratu, age 36, has served for the past two years as head coach of the Sacramento Lions 7s team, and as an assistant coach of their 15s side. This will be his first head coaching position in 15s. He is relocating to Kansas City for the fall season and will succeed exiting head coach Scott Kram, who is stepping down for personal reasons.
“We are very excited to welcome Aseri into the Blues family,” said Blues president Derek Mannell. “I have found in my discussions with Aseri, the Sacramento Lions staff, and other friends and coaches, that he is a man of integrity, and is highly regarded as a father, a husband, and a man of God. He is a very knowledgeable, experienced rugby player and coach, and his rugby resume speaks for itself. The Blues look forward to a successful season under his leadership.”
A native of Fiji, Batiratu played lock, flanker, and 7s prop for the Sacramento Capitols from 1996-2001. During that time, he twice helped lead his Club to 7s National Championships semifinals (’98 & ’00), was a member of the Collegiate All-American team that won the men’s NASC 7s in 1998, was selected to the Pacific Coast All-Stars in 7s and 15s (’00 & ’01), played for the famous Atlantis 7s (’99), and was a member of the Eagle 7s team in 1999. Batiratu was fortunate to have played under some of the top coaches in the US, including Samisoni Viriviri, Arona Palamo, Emil Signes, and Al Caravelli.
Coach Batiratu holds a Level 100 Certification with USA Rugby, a Level 1 Certification with the Fijian Rugby Union, and an IRB Level 1 Strength & Conditioning certification. With the Lions, Batiratu has most recently coached under renowned head coach Ifereimi Tawake.
Scott Kram will remain with the Blues in a supportive role, and will assist Batiratu in the transition. Kram lead the 15s team this past season as head coach after serving as an assistant since 2010, and has been a driving force behind the Blues resurgent 7s program, coaching the 7s team to a 98-37-1 record since 2008. Under Kram, the Blues qualified for the 7s National Championships in 2012. "I would like to thank Coach Kram for stepping in last year and continuing the winning tradition that he worked so hard for as a player and now as a coach,” added Mannell. “We will miss him, but he will be easy to find on the supporters’ side of the pitch."