If not Al Caravelli, then who? That’s the question USA Rugby has to answer now, in the wake of Caravelli stepping down from the men’s 7s head coaching position.
The 7s Eagles are scheduled to take off for Hong Kong on March 17th and begin their training camp more than a week prior. So time is of the essence. According to the USA Rugby press release on Caravelli's exit, news about his immediate successor should be expected prior to Thursday.
As is common with mid-season coaching vacancies in other sports, it would make sense if USA Rugby tabbed someone already working with the team as an interim head coach to finish the season. It would make sense if strength and conditioning coach Dave Williams, a former 7s Eagle himself, stepped into that role for continuity’s sake.
Ric Suggitt is already at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista as the women’s head coach and could help out in some capacity, but probably not as a head coach. Suggitt has coached the Canadian men’s 7s and 15s teams.
Who takes over long term? Williams could certainly be in the mix, and maybe even Suggitt. Andy Katoa, another 7s assistant, is a close friend of Caravelli’s, so he may not be willing to step into the role if given the chance.
As far as potential coaching candidates that aren’t currently working within the program, there are a few names that seem likely.
At the top of the list is Alex Magleby, the 7s All American and Dartmouth coach and former 7s Eagle. Highly regarded, Mags won the 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship with what could be classified as an underdog Dartmouth squad. USA is nothing if not an underdog on the IRB circuit.
Another is Wasaile Serevi. He’s invested in American rugby now and has consulted with numerous 7s teams over the last year and a half. He’s also had National Team coaching experience with Chinese Taipei, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, though none of those stints were particularly successful.
Then there are other domestic candidates, including James Walker Aaron Manheimer, Paul Holmes and Jone Naqica, who are long shots. Walker coached Belmont Shore to two of the last three club 7s National Championships and serves as the head coach of Tiger Rugby, which has become a veritable USA second side. Walker has his hand on the pulse of many of the current, former and potential 7s Eagles.