The McMaster women’s rugby team has reached into the recent past to name Shaun Allen as the program’s new head coach, replacing his former Marauder teammate Cam Mitchell.
The position came open when Mitchell accepting a professional opportunity that meant relocating to New Zealand so McMaster reached out to Allen, who brings an impressive resumé as a player and coach.
A former provincial team member, Allen played for McMaster from 2002-06 and was a member of three Ontario University Athletics championship squads. He joined the staff of the Marauder men’s team as an assistant coach and served in that role for two seasons. In 2010 he filled in as McMaster head coach while Phil White was on sabbatical, and he guided the Marauders to their most recent OUA title, while being honoured as the conference Coach of the Year.
“I am very excited to move into this role and to work with assistants Tim Doucette and Amber Purins,” Allen said. “The McMaster women’s program has made a number of massive strides over the past few years and we will be looking to build off of the work of (previous coaches) Sandro Fiorino and most recently Cam Mitchell, who have built the program into a perennial contender in the OUA.”
McMaster associate athletic director Mark Alfano says the program is very fortunate to have such a qualified coach take over the women’s rugby team. “We are extremely excited to welcome Shaun back to our Marauder coaching staff,” said Alfano. “His professionalism, experience and passion for the game are outstanding and will benefit our program. Shaun along with assistant coaches, Tim Doucette and Amber Purins, will keep our team moving towards the goal of OUA and (Canadian) championships.”
Allen has been heavily involved in various teams for both men and women through both Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada, and served as an assistant with the 2012 men’s U20 national team and as head coach and high performance manager for Ontario’s provincial team in 2012 and 2013.
“We will be setting some lofty goals with the players about where we want to take the program,” said Allen. “It’s very clear from the players that I have spoken with and the work that has already been done since the beginning of January, that we have the right group together to have some remarkable achievements.”