Rugby Scholarships

The Rugby Alumni of Sam Houston was established in April, 2000 in an effort to more effectively support the current Sam Houston State University Rugby Club. Some of the best plays in sports are the ones drawn on napkins and this inception was no different. On Alumni weekend of 2000, two Alums, Jeff Talley and Gary Holub, along with the Sam Houston rugby coach, Johnny Smith, laid the groundwork for this organization on the front porch of a local Huntsville eatery.

The main focus of the group was to support a $1,000.00 scholarship to a current player and use this tool as an effort to recruit future players.  Since that date, the Alumni have honored the Mike Mahon Memorial Rugby Scholarship each year and have since added two other scholarships honoring fallen Sam Houston ruggers, Omar “Chavez” Sanchez and Jay Shepard.  The scholarships are supported fully by the donations of the Alumni.

Please use the links below to apply or donate to a scholarship.

Please make sure to include the corresponding account number for any scholarship donations.

Omar Sanchez Memorial Scholarship

chavezOmar was devoted to Sam Houston Rugby and to the players themselves. He gave his all in both his sport and his academic life, working hard to better himself. Unfortunately his life was cut short due to an injury he sustained while filming his class project. It was not surprising that Omar was trying to film the scene until he got it right. That was just the way he was. He was never satisfied with “okay” or “that’s good enough”; it had to be done right. We hope to keep his memory alive with this scholarship and help other Sam Houston Rugby players be able to pursue their dreams both on and off the field. Omar made an impact on so many people’s lives and we feel that through this scholarship in his name he will once again get to make an impact on someone’s life and future.

Jay Shepard Memorial Scholarship

jayshepJay was born July 15, 1976, in Fort Huachuca, Ariz., the second son of Buddy and Jean Shepard. In 1982, the family moved to Killeen, Texas, where Jay attended Killeen schools and graduated from Killeen High School in 1995. He attended Sam Houston State University, where rugby became a significant part of his life. He graduated from SHSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He was highly respected and successfully employed by Fort Worth Weekly, Mooring Recovery, Blackmon Mooring and Gulf Coast Steamatic. Jay was a rugby legend and played with many teams, including the Sam Houston Rugby Team, The Woodlands, Fort Worth Rugby Club, The Dallas Harlequins, The Austin Blacks and the Elite 7’s. Through all of this, he bravely survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of the great joys of his life was his son, Cody. He enjoyed life to the fullest. He was a great friend to all who knew him and had a wonderful sense of humor and a free spirit that no one will forget. All who knew him have proclaimed that they are better persons for having known him. His warm and beautiful smile will be greatly missed.

Mike Mahon Memorial Scholarship

Michael Patrick Mahon attended SHSU and received his BA in Philosophy with a minor in psychology in 1978. He died Dec. 25, 1997. Mike was in many ways larger than life! When he entered a room, everyone knew it. He exuded bonhomie with his “hail fellow, well met” personality. The booming laugh, the knowing chuckle, Mike aspired to be a “character”, he once confided, and succeeded spectacularly. He was a maker of friends, life-long friends. A stout fellow at tight head prop, he covered the ground he stood upon. Mike played the game hard, with intelligence, and had great fun while doing so. He would have liked knowing that a SHSU rugby scholarship is established in his memory.