OSHAWA, Ont. – Director of Athletics Ken Babcock is pleased to announce the hiring of John Watkins as head coach of the men's rugby program at Durham College.

"After an extensive search, we are excited to welcome John as our men's rugby coach," said Babcock. "He has a lot of experience coaching club and high school rugby in the Durham region, making him a perfect candidate to reintroduce the sport on campus. We are looking forward to John leading our team starting with an exhibition schedule in 2017 and joining the OCAA circuit the following year."

Watkins is heavily involved in the rugby community having served as the president of the Oshawa Vikings since 2000 and president of Toronto Rugby since 2015. He also served on the Rugby Ontario board of directors from 2012 to 2014 and won a Rugby Ontario volunteer award in 2009.

"The recent growth of sport has been tremendous especially in the Durham Region," said Babcock. "John has been at the forefront of that movement with over 20 years of coaching players of all ages and abilities while serving a leadership role at the local and provincial level."

He joins Durham College after coaching with the Oshawa Vikings Rugby Club since 2007. He was head coach of the U14 boys team from 2012 to 2014 reaching the provincial finals in back-to-back seasons. From 2014 to 2015, he coached the U16 boys team where they won the 2015 provincial championship. In 2014 the Vikings won the Rugby Ontario Junior Boys Club Program of the Year award.

For his entire tenure at with the Vikings, Watkins has been the senior men's assistant coach, handling the forwards and set pieces. The team is no stranger to winning as they won the Toronto League championship in 2007 and Marshall Provincial League Championship in 2009. He was also an assistant coach on the U20 men's from 2010 to 2012 where they won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.

In additional to his club experience, he has coached at the high school level. From 2011 to 2012 he coached at Henry Street high school before making the move to Maxwell Heights where he has coached since 2013.

Rugby tryouts will take place from Aug.28-31 at Thompson Rugby Park in Raglan. For more information, visit www.durhamlords.com.

Source: Durham College