Our Coaches

The PAC Youth program has a number of dedicated individuals and parents on the current coaching staff.  In addition, PAC regularly trains and develops high school and collegiate players as assistant coaches and referees.   We are always interested in additional volunteer coaches and happily train and educate new coaches.

All coaches are required to register with USARugby and submit to the USARugby youth coach background check.  The USARugby registration and coaching certification can be found at: www.usarugby.org/coaching


PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Thomas Lyons

Coach Lyons is a long-time rugby enthusiast.  Tom began playing rugby at the Catholic University of America (Washington DC) after he stopped playing football for CUA. He continued his rugby career as a long time player for the Potomac Athletic Club.  He was a member of the 1995 National Championship team, represented PAC in the USA Rugby Super League and dozens of national playoff games, including multiple appearances in the national championships for both sevens and fifteens. Tom also played for various all-star and invitational teams, including captaining the Potomac Rugby Union against the New Zealand Ambassador’s XV in the prestigious Ambassador’s Shield match.

Over the years Tom has held a number of coaching roles.  He is formerly an assistant coach with the Georgetown Prep Rugby team where he helped build one of the top ranked school teams in the country.  He was also one of the founding coaches of the Gonzaga High School rugby program.  Coach Lyons has engaged in ongoing education and certifications as a coach and in rugby, including: certified Rookie Rugby Instructor (USARugby), Level 200 certified coach (USARugby) and a certified Double-Goal Coach (I & II) thru the Positive Coaching Alliance.  He has also completed the World Rugby Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Certification.  In the past, Tom has been an assistant coach for the senior club and was player/coach for PAC sevens program for a number of years, including 1998 when PAC finished 8th in the nation.  He has also been an assistant coach with the Maryland State High School All Star teams as well as various invitational and select teams.

Coach Lyons holds the highest referee certification available from World Rugby and is also a certified Coach of Match Officials (Level 2).  He is a member of the Potomac Society of Rugby Football Referees.  In addition to his local referee duties Tom has officiated regional and national playoff events for high school, college and adult men and women.  From 2003 until 2014 Tom was a member of the USA Rugby National Referee Panel, a small group of the top rugby referees in the country.  As such, he has refereed in USA Rugby National Championship events, the Rugby Super League, Collegiate Sevens Invitational Championship and worked as an official at international matches and at international events such as the USA Sevens (a World Rugby Sevens Series event), the Churchill Cup and World Cup Qualifying matches.  Coach Lyons is also a certified World Rugby Educator.  Over the past twenty-five yeas he has been or is involved in the governance and administration of rugby at the local, regional and national level in the USA.

Tom is currently work as the Director of Information Management for an organization based in Washington DC.  Tom is married and has three children and lives in Montgomery County, Maryland.


COACHES

 

Tom McHale

Tom began playing rugby at Georgetown University where he played for 4 years and also played collegiate representative rugby for both the Potomac Rugby Union and the Eastern Rugby Union territorial all star teams.  Tom continued his rugby career for many years as a member of the Potomac Athletic Club.  In addition to numerous Super League and national playoff matches for PAC, Tom has played for various senior representative teams.

Tom is currently the Senior Vice President of Finance for American Capital, a private equity firm based in Bethesda.  He is married with 3 children and resides in Montgomery County, Maryland.


Josh Brady

Josh began playing rugby as one of the founding members of Gonzaga High School’s rugby team in 1988, where he played for Tom Lyons.  Josh continued his rugby career at Georgetown University where he played for 4 years with fellow coach Tom McHale.  Josh began coaching with PAC Youth Rugby in 2009, when his two sons began playing with PAC.  Josh is a Level 200 certified coach thru USARugby.  Josh resides in Montgomery County,  is a tax attorney in Washington, DC and is married with two children.


Graeme Thomson

Coach Thomson

Graeme started his rugby career in Scotland, learning the game at Fettes College in Edinburgh.  After high school, Graeme began his senior career in Scottish 1st Division rugby before immigrating to the USA in the early 90s where he played along side coaches Lyons and McHale.  Graeme had a distinguished playing career in Scotland and the USA, being selected to Scottish Schools, Potomac and Eastern Rugby Union All-Stars and being selected as a reserve for the USA in 1995.

Graeme has coached both tag and tackle rugby PAC Youth programs, is a Level II certified coach through USARugby, and firmly believes that strong rugby fundamentals will be an asset to any individual as they journey through life.

Graeme also coaches U9 Girls soccer, is married with 2 children and lives in Bethesda, MD.

 

Matt Hodgson

Matt Hodgson

Matt played rugby in his native country of England from a very young age until his crowning moments as Captain of his school 2nd XV in the late 80’s.  While his enthusiasm and love of the game never wavered, his move to the USA put a halt to his rugby involvement until a number of years ago when he met Tom and got involved with the PAC youth program.  Matt has completed the USA Rugby Level 1 coaching course. Matt was also the head coach of the Maryland Stingers women’s team for a number of season.  Coach Hodgson also spent sevens years as an assistant coach with the Georgetown Prep High School rugby team.

Matt is president of his own technology company and has been living in Maryland for 13 years.  Matt is married and has two boys.

 

Larry Mitchell

Larry did not find his favorite sport of rugby until after his college days at the George Washington University.

Larry Mitchell

In high school in Massachusetts, he was captain of his football team and crew team and was a four year varsity rower at GWU.  While Larry has enjoyed many sports including parachuting, hang-gliding, white-water canoeing and has been a ski instructor, rugby really brought out his enjoyment of a competitive team sport.

Larry began playing rugby after visiting a friend studying abroad at Oxford University (England) back in 1988.  He started playing for the Potomac Athletic Club in 1990 and continued playing throughout the 1990s. Since that time he has remained connected to the sport.  Larry has coached with the PAC Youth since it’s inception and has also coached with the Maryland Exiles High School Club program. Larry has also completed the USA Rugby Level 1 coaching course.

Larry resides in Montgomery County, Maryland along with his wife and 3 children.


Linda Simpson

Linda Simpson grew up in England watching rugby, but did not begin playing herself until her freshman year at Swarthmore College (PA).  Linda played predominantly at scrumhalf and captained and co-coached her team during her senior year.   Linda has been coaching with the PAC youth program since 2005 and has also coaching youth soccer for a number of years.  Linda has completed the Level 1 Refereeing Course and is a certified Double-Goal Coach thru the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Linda is in nurse and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, fellow coach Mike Simpson, and three boys, all of whom played for PAC youth.


Michael Simpson

Michael Simpson played football in high school and lacrosse during college, before switching to rugby during his sophomore year at Swarthmore College (PA).   He never looked back and played various positions in the scrum during college.   Mike has been coaching with the PAC youth program since 2005 and has also coaching youth soccer for a number of years.  Mike is a certified Double-Goal Coach thru the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Mike works as an economic analyst.  He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, fellow coach Linda Simpson, and three boys, all of whom played for PAC youth.