Durham College women’s rugby head coach Chris McKee was named head coach of the Ontario Blues Under-20 team for the 2018 championship season announced by Rugby Ontario.
McKee steps in to the head coach's role after serving as assistant coach to Pete Hurcus with the U20's over the last two seasons. McKee has been a fixture in Ontario Rugby at numerous levels for over 25 years.
McKee is the founding head coach of the Durham women’s rugby team, who played an exhibition season in 2017 and will join the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) league in 2018.
“It is amazing to see the growth of the sport in Ontario and Chris is at the forefront of it all,” said Durham College athletic director Ken Babcock. “A few years back students were asking to have rugby return as a varsity sport and Chris was the right person to lead that team. Now as head coach of team Ontario, it shows you the quality of a coach he is and how much respect he has earned in the rugby community.”
At the club level, Chris has been Director of Rugby with the Oshawa Vikings for 12 years. During this time period, Oshawa developed one of the top junior programs in the province, with Chris coaching numerous Viking age grade teams to no fewer than nine Ontario Club Championships.
At the high school level, Chris has developed the Uxbridge Tigers women's program into one of the top school programs in the province in both 15's and 7's.
Joining Chris this year in the Under-20 program are some of the top coaches in the country.
Dan Valley (Head Coach, Queen's University Women's Rugby/Head Coach, Rugby Canada U18 Women's 15's), Campbell MacNeill (Head Coach, University of Toronto Women's Rugby/Senior Women's Head Coach and Director of Junior Rugby, Toronto Nomads) and Blake Wilson (Assistant Coach, Queen's University Women's Rugby/Former U20 Provincial Coach) round out the staff.
"Pete has done an outstanding job with the Ontario women's provincial program and it has been a pleasure to work with him," stated Chris when asked about this year's program. "With the coaching staff that we have put together, I look forward to continuing to learn and develop as a coach, while providing a platform for our Ontario U20 athletes to maximize their potential."
The Under-20 team is set to travel to Saskatoon, Sask. for the Canadian Rugby Championship on July 17-22, 2018.
Tryouts for both the Durham College men’s and women’s rugby program will begin in August.