The Chillicothe Rugby Football Club has a proud history dating back to 2008. Every member to ever wear a CRFC uniform on the pitch has contributed to the success of the club and has left a legacy of honor, dedication, and sportsmanship for the next generation. May this brief history bring back fond memories for past players, parents, and coaches and provide inspiration for current and future players, parents, coaches and fans.
The origin of the Chillicothe Rugby Football Club (CRFC) goes back to the Central Illinois High School Hockey League. The 2008 CIHSHL championship game pitted the Ice Hawks of Morton / Washington and the North Stars from the Peoria Metro high schools. Most of the players in this league grew up together playing hockey. After the game several players and their parents gathered to discus the game and say their farewells until the next season.
Jacob Switzer, a player for the North Stars and an IVC junior, had played hockey with Tyler Frank and Kenny Castleman for years. Tyler and Kenny of the Ice Hawks were also members of the Morton Pound high school rugby club. Kenny and Tyler invited Jacob to join the Pound. Living in Chillicothe and trying to play for a team in Morton wasn't something that appealed to Jacob but he was very interested in playing rugby.
After recruiting his best friend Luke Hall to join him Jacob and Luke, along with Jacob's father George, went to visit Mike Schubach of the Peoria Rugby Piggies. With Mikes encouragement it was agreed that if Jacob and Luke could come up with 23 players Jacob's father would help them form a club.
Jacob and Luke recruited five other boys interested in rugby to help get the fledgling club going. Chris Green, Cody Robertson, Luke Colwell, Tyler Smith, and Chris Oltman joined to make a nucleus of seven players, and the push was on to reach the goal of 23 players. They immediately began recruiting, adding Shane Hornibrook, Kolbe Weller, Trace Miller, Jordan Sarver and others to their growing number.
Mark Kosinski from IVC High School said he would assist the boys and was the first head coach. At their first practice they had 25 young men show up, and they passed a rugby ball around in the field in front of the high school.
Although Coach Kosinski was on board the new club needed to find a coach that had a rugby background. Schubach from the Peoria Side had promised to help find a coach. However, when the recruiting started the coaches came along with the players. Laurence Hornibrook, Bo Cox, Brian Weller, and Brad Naylor all stepped up to assist the club. The first official practice with the new coaches was held at Detweiller Park.
The Chillicothe Barbarians played a very limited season in 2008 that included several pick-up games but no wins. The flame burned bright, however, and would soon lead to bigger and better things thanks to the vision and determination of the original founders of the club.
The first Chillicothe Barbarians!
Front row Left to Right: Zach Murphy, Tyler Smith, Chris Oltman, Adam Rock, Kolby Weller, Jacob Switzer, Joe Norris, Garret Hurd
Back Row: Scott Hale, Shane Hornibrook, Cody Roberts, Andrew Repke, Trace Miller, Brandon Phelps, Kyle Doerr, Luke Hall, Jordan Sarver
In 2009, the Barbarians competed in its its first full season as a member of the Iowa / Illinois Rugby League.
St. Charles - L
Pearl City - W
Morton - W
Peoria - W
Metamora - L
Photos (by J. R. White Photography)
2009 Barbarians after the club's first ever win, over the Pearl City Colts in Muscatine, Iowa.