John Roberts Furman RugbyJohn 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 coaches 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 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.


Connect with Admission

Furman University is one of the nation's premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges. We offer outstanding academics, opportunities for a broad range of talented students with a passion for learning, a robust arts program, and NCAA Division I athletics.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • 50th Anniversary of Desegregation at Furman
  • Furman University