Women's Rugby Adds Assistants Whitwell, Seary '01

Sue Whitwell and Kelly Seary '01 will join the Harvard rugby coaching staff for the team's first season as a varsity program. Women's rugby will be the 21st varsity sport for women and 42nd overall at Harvard, making it the nation's leader in both areas.

Whitwell and Seary both bring a host of coaching and playing experience to Cambridge.

Whitwell, a native of Chicago, Ill., began playing rugby at the University of Illinois. She helped her team qualify for the finals of the National Women's Collegiate Championship in 1996 and moved to New Zealand to play for the Provincial Side team shortly after her graduation.

Over the years, Whitwell has served as a coach in the Chicago Women's Rugby Football Club as well as on the coaching staff at Loyola from 1997-99 and at Northwestern from 2001-08. She also served as an assistant coach for the USA National under-23 team in 2007 and 2008. Most recently, Whitwell has been an assistant coach for the forwards for the Midwest under-23 team at the CWRFC.

Seary returns to her alma mater to join the women's rugby staff for its inaugural season as a varsity sport.  A member of the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club during her four years in Cambridge, Seary helped her team to a Division I National Championship in 1998 and was a four-time USA Rugby All-America selection.

Seary has held a number of coaching positions since graduating.  Her most recent position was as an assistant coach and attack specialist for the USA Rugby AIG Women's Junior All-Americans where she helped to identify, evaluate and select players for the 2013 U-20 Nations Cup in England. She is currently serving as the club president as well as playing for Beantown Rugby Football Club, which is a nationally ranked senior women's club team. She has been named the club's "Most Valuable Person Both On and Off the Field" four times.

The Chatham, Quebec native played for the Northeast Rugby Union U23 and senior all-star teams, the Canadian U-23 15s team, the USA U-23 7s team and the USA 7s Developmental squad.  She was also a USA national team pool player at various points during her playing career.

Seary is a USA Rugby level 300 certified coach as well as a USA Rugby level one certified referee. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental science and public policy.

Harvard joins Eastern Illinois, West Chester, Bowdoin, Norwich, Quinnipiac and Davenport as the only other colleges in the country to offer women's rugby as a varsity sport.