Coach Tom Waqa recently accepted new employment as the IT Network Infrastructure Engineer within the CES Network Center OIT, BYU. With these added responsibilities, Waqa is resigning effective October 10, 2022. Coach Sia Gomez will serve as interim Head Coach for the remainder of fall semester.
Sometimes in our lives we are faced with difficult decisions, this significantly marks one of those times for me. Today I announce that I’ll be stepping down as Head Coach of the BYU Women’s Rugby team; effective Monday October 10, 2022. This is bittersweet for me. Although I love BYU Women’s Rugby, my heart is saying that it is time for me to focus on what’s most important– my family. I would like to thank my wife Cameron, and our children Joe, Sam, Eli and Lili for their support and supreme sacrifices for me. I’m excited to spend more time with each of them. Most importantly, I wish to thank my Heavenly Father for the many blessings, and the many windows of opportunity that He has opened for me and my family.
Coaching women’s rugby has been a huge part of my life for nearly two decades. I began coaching women’s rugby in 2004 when asked by then coach and BYU Rugby founder, John Seggar, along with captain Adrienne (Smith) Pittson to “come help out” with “Women’s Cougar Rugby Club (WCR)” -- a student-run rugby club. Coach Seggar retired at the end of that year, and I continued with WCR for the next 11 years. Then, in October 2015, the team’s dream came true when BYU sanctioned women’s rugby as an official BYU extramural sport and “Women’s Cougar Rugby Club” became “BYU Women’s Rugby.” I have continued coaching them for the seven years since then. Professionally, this led to opportunities for me to coach for the USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans (2010) and to participate in the selection process for USA Rugby Women’s National and Age-grade teams.
I'm proud of what we have achieved. Notably, BYU Women’s Rugby has a winning percentage of 0.8827 ~ 88.27% which includes two Division 1 National Championships (2019, 2022), and 2016 D1 National Championship Runner-up, multiple Final 4 appearances, and numerous conference titles. The BYU Women’s Rugby program has been featured in USA Rugby Union and College Rugby Association of America’s playoffs, sweet 16, round of 8, and final 4 since 2008. Personally, I was honored to be nominated and receive the 2011-2012 United States Olympic Committee’s National Volunteer Coach of The Year Award.
My heartfelt appreciation goes out to so many; the players, Assistant Coaches, Athletic Trainers, support staff, and BYU Administration, who have given so much of their time and talents to the program. To our fans- past and present, we couldn’t have done it without you- particularly our parents, and financial donors who have contributed so much to our success! Please continue to support the wonderful women that play for this program. To say this program changes lives is an understatement. I truly believe this program is built to prepare student-athletes for life beyond the pitch.
To the current team, I’m sorry our time here is short. Just know that I have so much respect and love for you. I hope you continue to love The Lord, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, your families, and your teammates. One of the many lessons of life that I have learned during my time here, can be summed up in the words of President Thomas S. Monson which is to, “never let a problem to be solved, become more important than a person to be loved.” May you find joy in the journey and continue to strive to be the best you can be, while living our team’s core values: “Be believing, be committed, take ownership and responsibility, be accountable and endure to the end.”
—Coach Tom Waqa, Women's Rugby Head Coach 2004-2022