John Roberts -- Head Coach/Rugby Club Advisor
John is a Level II certified coach by USA Rugby and played competitive rugby for 13 years. A native of Spartanburg, John began playing rugby in 1987 while a sophomore at the University of South Carolina. He was named to the All-South Select Collegian Squad (89-90) as a prop and hooker. A journalism major, John also served as president of the USC rugby team (1989-90).
After college, John played for the Augusta (Ga.) Rugby Football team, one of the top teams in the South at the time, from 1991-93. After leaving Augusta, John helped re-form the Greenville Griffins Rugby Club, which had disbanded two years earlier.
John served as president of the Griffins from 1994-96 and was a regular starter until nagging injuries and growing family commitments forced his retirement from the game in spring 1998. His last game time as a full-time player was logged against Huntington Beach, California during the Griffins' May, 1998 trip to the National Sweet 16 Tournament in Chicago.
John joined the Furman Marketing and Public Relations Department in 1997 where he is currently director of communications. He helped found the Paladins rugby teams in 1998 and has led the team to three national championships. His teams have appeared in the South Finals eight times.
In 2009, the Furman Board of Trustees voted to the name the rugby stadium -- John S. Roberts Rugby Field -- in his honor.
In addition to Furman, John founded and coached the Greer Spartans, a high school club. In 2011, the Spartans finished fourth in the South in just their second year of competition. John also founded the Southern Conference and currently serves as Commissioner of the league. He is a longtime officer with the Palmetto Rugby Union and an active member of the USC alumni rugby club -- The Carolina Olde Boys (C.O.B.)
John holds a B.S. from the University of South Carolina, and a Master's in Higher Education from Columbia College. He and his wife, Brandi (a Furman graduate), have five children - two sons and three daughters. Zach, the oldest, is a Furman student and rugby referee.
MIKE MILLER -- BACKLINE COACH, 7s HEAD COACH
Miller is a Level 200 certified coach by USA Rugby and is incredibly
passionate about teaching players the fundamentals of the game. His
playing career began in Singapore while he was attending the Singapore
American School for K-12. Over his 26 year playing career Miller was
chosen to play select side rugby for the following territories: Texas
Select (college & men’s), West ITT (college), Georgia Select (men’s
7s & 15s), South ITT (men’s 15s). And at the peak of his career
he was selected for The Singapore National team (7s & 15s) in 2000
Miller also has previous coaching experience with the
following clubs: Saint Andrews Men’s Club, South Greenville
High-school, Charlotte Rugby Club 7s, and The South 7s women’s team.
In addition to his playing and coaching experience, in 2012 Mike proudly
became only the 33rd player to be inducted into the Sam Houston State
rugby hall of fame.
Outside of rugby Miller is happily married to
his best friend (Kristen Poe Miller) whom he met while attending Sam
Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. The couple have two
children that are involved in a variety of different sports and they
have lived in Mauldin, SC since 2001. Miller earned degrees in
International Business and Economics from Sam Houston State University
and has been in the risk management business for the past 15 years.