History of Media Rugby
Media Rugby Football Club, Inc. was founded in 1978 and is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 corporation that exists to play, promote, and grow the sports of Rugby Union and sevens rugby in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan region, with a focus on its home base of Delaware County. We have been an active participant in the local community for over 35 years. The Media Rugby Club consists of over 120 athletes across the several teams, and over 300 alumni and supporters manyof whom are prominent citizens and business persons in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Media Rugby is proud to be involved in numerous local charitable activities and events, including Red Cross, Toys for Tots, Elwyn Institute, & Philabundance to name a few. Media Rugby has a Hall of Fame inducting its initial class into the hall at their 25th year banquet in 2003. In 2008 the Club was inducted in the Media Area Sports Hall of Fame.
Media Rugby Men’s Football Club played its first game in the spring of 1978. Three high school friends who were returning to the Media, PA area from college and had played collegiate rugby started the club. Gary Cummings, Perry Hartranft and Chip Alyankian were the founders of the Media Rugby Football Club. They contacted other local enthusiasts and the nucleus of the club was formed. The initial team consisted of a multitude of local families who supplied the heart of the club. Many of the original players had no experience playing rugby and some were still in high school and college. Media Rugby Men’s Club was young and aggressive and soon earned a reputation for hard-nosed play.
The initial club consisted of over 9 different brother combinations which fostered a unique brand of play with a special bond of brotherhood. The Alyankian (Chip & Pete), Breitmayer (Jerry & John), Clary (Andy, Jim, Brendan & Tim), Hartranft (Perry & Billy), Harahan (Jackie, Jimmy, Tommy & Dennis), Bonner (Jim & John), Todorow (Tom, Chris& Walt), Calabrese (Ron & Mark) and Heavens (Matt & Luke) brothers were just some the initial original Media area families to provide players to the club. Many of these families were childhood friends who played local sports growing up. Media Rugby Club was and is a true “band of brothers”.
Initially MRFC struggled to field two full sides and many of the original players went two games. Some games it was a challenge just to field one team. As Media Rugby battled to establish itself many so called local rugby “experts” suggested Media fold and some tried to recruit our better players. Nonetheless Media Rugby flourished and comprised a winning record and slowly gained respect throughout the EPRU. In the mid 1980’s Media assimilated Marple Rugby football club into its fold and continued to grow. Into the 1990’s and early 2000’s Media grew into a regional powerhouse. Even progeny from original players have become members of the fraternity.
Media Rugby grew from its humble beginnings into the premier Division 1 club in the EPRU. Media Rugby has toured Europe several times, moved from division 3 up to the top echelon of Division 1’s men rugby and has been nationally ranked in USA Power Rugby as one of the top 10 teams in the nation for several years.
In 2012 Media Rugby incorporated U13 sides and in 2013 U15 sides to join it’s High School Club Side. The youth program has competed and won championships in the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union and most recently won the Rugby Pennsylvania U13 State Championship in 2013 and 2015. In 2017 the youth program won the State Championships in the Junior (U15) division and the High School Club Boys division.
Rugby players around the world have a special bond from having played the sport. It is a fraternity shared by few. All levels of the club promote sportsmanship and work ethic that translates into all aspects of life. Current and former members of Media Rugby Football Club have received representative honors at the local, regional, national, and international levels of the sport. Media Rugby is a true brotherhood in every sense of the word and a special one at that. Anyone who has played for Media at any time understands the exclusivity of this special bond.