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Doug O'Donnell, C'22 in Hong Kong for Mount Rugby

Lives of Significance

Doug O'Donnell, C'22

Rugby on the International Pitch

“The rugby community across the world is one big family,” says Doug O’Donnell, C’22, a loose forward on the Mount St. Mary’s University men’s rugby team. He was one of 64 players from around the world who was chosen to travel to Hong Kong to try out for the Overseas Lions, a U19 15s international select team. “I decided I wanted to remember my experiences back in my homeland, China, playing rugby and spent all winter break preparing for this moment.”

Earning a National Championship in 2016 in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO), the team has become a family for Doug.

Men's Rugby at MSMU

Mount St. Mary’s University men’s rugby head coach Jay Myles consistently instills in his players a focus on performance under fatigue. “The training was tough,” O’Donnell says, “but with Myles’ words in mind, I was able to excel in a new environment under tough mental and physical strain while simultaneously doing something I love—playing rugby.” His focus and effort paid off, as O’Donnell was one of only 35 players to make the final selections.

Referencing experiences here at the Mount, he says the rugby team is one big, happy family and he’s met numerous lifelong friends. O’Donnell believes a place where his professors know him as a person, not a number, and he doesn’t get lost in a crowded lecture hall, has helped him succeed in the classroom and on the rugby field. “Professors and coaches want us to succeed not just academically—but in life. I’ve never met a coach who cares about his players on and off the pitch as much as coach Jay Myles. He is one of the best coaches, people and friends I could ask for.”

Keeping a Schedule

When asked what advice he would share with new students, he says a schedule will go the distance to help prioritize time for school work, but that this structure also can open up opportunities for extra-curricular and personal activities as well. “This year, a group of friends and I joined intramural dodgeball and had nothing but a great time.” O’Donnell says the Mount is a special place because of the sense of community and family.

“My path right now isn’t certain, but I have the chance to shape it and further my education, which I am forever grateful for,” he says. Once he graduates, O’Donnell hopes to stay within the rugby community. His main goal is to play professional rugby and use his sport management degree to one day coach young rugby players from all over the country—spreading not only the sport but its culture wherever he goes.