An Afternoon with Andy Dauser

Andy Dauser (right) with his niece, Josephine Jones, after the Sparta Rock State Championship game last spring

By KATY ANDREINI

These days, Andy Dauser is wearing even more hats, if that is possible. The owner of Michigan Home Appraisal Co. also coaches both the Rockford Boys’ and the Sparta-Rock Girls’ Rugby Teams. In addition, he is an active player for the Detroit Tradesmen as a Tight Head Prop for the past fifteen years. As if this wasn’t enough, this busy father of two has recently taken on the role of President for Rugby Michigan. I was lucky enough to grab a few hours of this Renaissance man’s time on Friday afternoon at Ramona’s Table to talk to him about his latest endeavor.

So, what is the proper prefix with which to address you, now that you are President of Rugby Michigan? President? Sir? King?

You can just call me Dauser. There are always coaches and presidents around, but there are not too many Dausers. What precipitated your decision to take on this new role? Were you bored?

A few other coaches nominated me, because they know I’m not as scary as I look, and it takes a certain level of understanding to successfully carry out this position. Even though I come across as a tough guy, I’m actually pretty understanding, because I am the only coach in the state to coach both boys and girls rugby teams. We’re all just working together trying to grow the sport.

What is your job description, in a nutshell?

Grow, Educate, Develop, and Delegate.

How has rugby impacted your life, personally?

Rugby is the biggest passion of my life, outside of my family. Rugby, itself, is a family – it’s a niche group. Its not like football, where, if you’re wearing an Ohio State shirt in Michigan, people might hate you. No matter where you are, if you are wearing a rugby shirt, other rugby people will just come up and start talking to you. We might beat the crap out of each other on the field, but we have a party together after each game. You don’t see too many other sports where teams share an after match social.

It sounds like rugby is great for you, but sometimes outside activities can affect a person’s family. How does your family feel about your new role as president?

They like it, because it gives me a hobby that I’m passionate about, and they support that. Also, it gets me out of the house more, and they really like that.

On a serious note, many parents are rightfully concerned for their children’s safety if they choose to play rugby. What is your position on rugby and safety issues?

Even though we play a longer game (60 minutes, with about 35 minutes of action) and have more players on the field (15 at a time) than most sports, our rate of injury falls right in line with that of any other sport such as lacrosse, football, wrestling, water polo, basketball and soccer.

We teach safety every day and that is the number one focus at every practice, besides having fun. If you look at the average length of a professional rugby player (about 7 years) and compare that to other major sports you will see that the career length is longer than most due to teaching safety and overall technique. That kind of says it all.

I want you to go with your gut on this question: If you could give the youth of Michigan any message right now, what would it be? (You have three seconds to think about it).

Play as many sports as you can. Don’t feel the pressure to specialize in one sport until you are good enough to get paid to play that sport. Every sport can help contribute to a child’s overall athleticism which will help make them a better overall athlete. Don’t just limit yourself to one thing. Experience as much as you can, because you never know what you’re going to like until you try it.

Thank you so much for spending the time with me, Dauser. Before we’re done, I just have one more question, but it’s a two-part question designed to help us get to know you on a more personal level. What is your favorite color, and how much do you weigh?

If I had to pick one color, I’d say green, because it looks good on me. As far as my weight goes, anywhere from 250-280, depending on the day and time of year.

The answer to the last question proved to me that, while Andy Dauser is an outstanding coach and leader, he is an even better sport. He is committed to growing the rugby family in the state of Michigan. He will be starting a Youth Flag Rugby Program in West Michigan, either through Community Education or the YMCA, both in Grand Rapids and Belmont. More information about this will come forth as the details are finalized, but those interested can expect the program to be up and running by April, 2018. Just a reminder that rugby is a club sport, and students can come out for a team at a nearby school if their own school does not have a program. Feel free to email Andy at President@rugbyMichigan.com.