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Rosalind Chou hired as women’s rugby head coach

Chou follows Kathy Flores’ legacy, brings winning experience

<p>Rosalind Chou led Life University’s first varsity women’s rugby program to three national championships since being hired in 2014.</p>

Rosalind Chou led Life University’s first varsity women’s rugby program to three national championships since being hired in 2014.

Rosalind Chou was named the Kathleen Flores Women's Rugby Head Coach in a Jan. 14 statement by Vice President for Athletics and Recreation M. Grace Calhoun PhD ’92. After finishing the 2021-22 season as women’s rugby head coach at Life University in Marietta, GA, Chou will follow in the footsteps of Flores, who passed away in October, The Herald previously reported

In addition to coaching rugby, Chou is currently an associate professor of sociology at Georgia State University. Chou, who will also teach a course in sociology at Brown, said to The Herald that she looks forward to the “integration of several of (her) passions together.”

“Being able to do both of those things at one institution — and (at) an amazing institution like Brown University — and the chance to be able to continue to mentor student athletes and students in the classroom seemed like a dream come true,” Chou continued. 

Wing and fullback Morgan Cunningham ’24 said she was “really excited to hear that both of those things were going to be happening.” 

“It's awesome to know that she really cares about her students both athletically and academically,” Cunningham said. “She’ll understand there’s a really heavy balance for both because I know sometimes in a coach that’s hard to find.”

Chou led Life University’s first varsity women’s rugby program to a USA Rugby National 7s Rugby Championship, two Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s titles and three trips to the USA Rugby 15s D1 Elite National Championship since being hired in 2014. She said that “setting really clear expectations and standards” were key components of her coaching style.

“I think accountability is a huge principle of ours, and it has really strengthened our team, our culture and really contributed to our success,” Chou said. “You’ve got to have the ability to take in any kind of feedback  … and not just do anything just because you did it before.”

Chou will take the position Flores held for eight seasons. Early on in her coaching career, Chou reached out to Flores, a fellow Florida State University alum, and Flores “jumped right in to answer any questions,” Chou said. Flores became a regular at Chou’s annual rugby camp at Life University where they had the opportunity to coach together. 

“I have a great deal of empathy for losing someone so important and phenomenal,” Chou said. “She really was there for this young coach getting into coaching. She just was so formative for me that way.”

Cunningham acknowledged the transition to a new coach will be difficult but remains confident in Chou as Flores’ successor.

“Coach Chou looks so overqualified for this position,” Cunningham said. “I’m not super worried because she really understands rugby, she understands coaching a college women’s team and she understands the level of play that we’re at here. She knows what needs to be done, and she’s going to do it.”

Back Akilah Cathey ’25 had previous experience with Chou after attending her camp at Life University. Cathey said she “got to see how generous, passionate and attentive she was.”

“Coach Chou and Coach Kathy are very similar: stern and intentional regarding deliveries at practice with the ultimate goal of winning and growing,” Cathey said. “Right now, it's still hard to envision Brown's rugby team without Kathy, but I'm sure the strong team culture that Kathy left behind will still (define) the atmosphere.”

Chou hopes to grow and lead the women’s rugby program to its next chapter by “establishing a place where when (athletes) leave Brown University, they’ve had an experience that was life changing,” she said.

“If they make a mistake, it’s not failure,” Chou added. “It’s all part of this process. I would expect folks to see a team that’s having a lot of fun and (that is) able to be creative and play fun rugby.”

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