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KANSAS CITY BLUES RUGBY - HALL OF FAME




Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Kansas City Blues RFC
est. 1966
"45 Years of Excellence"

The KC Blues Hall of Fame was founded in order to recognize the importance of the history and heritage of the Blues style of play, and the support that should be recognized for those to come. The function of the voting members is to recognize those players, coaches, and administrators who had a significant impact on the Blues game in their era. Every year, the Kansas City Blues inducts a new batch of Rugby Greats in a prestigious ceremonial dinner.

The Hall of Fame boasts simply ‘the best of the best’ to have played for the Blues since 1966. To be inducted into The Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of recognition for Rugby players and supporters of the Blues.


2014 Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Inductees Scott Kram and Steve Robke

  Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Scott Kram
 

Scott Kram joined the Blues in 1994 following a 4-year collegiate career that began in 1989 at Kansas State University. Playing flyhalf and center for the Blues, Scott was a mainstay on some of the Blues’ most successful teams during his 10-year career from ’94-‘04. A member of the 1994 Final Four team, a number of Western Championship teams, and the starting flyhalf on the 2002 Super League Semifinalist team, Scottie was selected to the West Mustangs Representative side 3 times, played 7s for the Blues teams that made multiple trips to the National Championships including their 3rd place finish in 2000, and played for the Classic Eagles at the 2002 World Rugby Classic in Bermuda.

After retiring from competitive play, Scottie began coaching for the Blues in 2008. He took over as Head Coach of the 15s team for 1 season in 2012 after serving as an assistant since 2010, and has been a driving force behind the Blues resurgent 7s program, coaching the 7s team to a 98-37-1 record since 2008, with a winning percentage of .721. Under Scott Kram, the Blues qualified for the Las Vegas Invitational in 2010, and the 7s National Championships in 2012.

  Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Steve Robke
 

Steve Robke joined the Blues in 1997, in the middle of a decorated career that began in 1988 at Kansas State University. A 2-time Collegiate All-American at KSU in ’91 and ’92, Steve played for the Palmer Griffins from ‘93-‘96, helping lead the team to the Final Four in 1995 and earning selection as Palmer’s ‘Forward of the Decade’ for the ‘90s. As a Kansas City Blue from 1997-2003, Steve was a stand-out in both 7s and 15s, and was a member of the National Championships 3rd place team in 2000, and the 2002 Super League Semifinalist team. Steve represented the West Mustangs multiple times in 7s, helping lead them to the 7s ITT Championship in 2001. First selected to the United States Eagles in 1995, Steve was an uncapped member of the 15s side but represented the 7s side 4 times between ’95-’96. In 1999 Steve returned to the Eagles 7s team, where he earned more than 20 more caps on the IRB Series through 2001. During his 7 years with the Blues, Steve was chosen as Forward of the Year 3 times, and was a rare 2-time winner of the Bronc Award.
Previous Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Inductees
1998
1999
2000
Chris Stockard
Steve Wubbenhorst
Ken Coleman
Andy Brown
2001
2002
2003
Walter Finger
Charlie Nelson
Joe Wilcox
Jim Lyons
Wally Morgan
Mike Ryan
Gary Massey
Joe Waeckerle
2004
2005
2006
Jake Jacoby
Kelly Miller
Mike Mercer
Frank Kennedy
Chuck McKeon
2007
2008
2009
Liu Tali
Tom Bolin
Bob Willson
Carl Tripp
Ray Ritchey
Steve Terrill
2010
2011
2012
Tim Kluempers
John Franklin
Craig Smith
Scott Tripp
Paul Tripp
     
2013
2014
Scott Kram
Steve Robke

Frank Mirikitani - 1998 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1998
Date of Birth: 12/15/1941
Place of Birth: Stockton, CA

Career Stats
Position: Tight-head prop
Career: 1966-1977

Career Summary
In 1964, Frank Mirikitani was invited by Jim Lyons to join the UMKC rugby club, which changed it’s name to the Rockhurst College Rugby Club in 1965.  In 1966, 7 Rockhurst players met at Jimmy’s Jigger on 39th & State Line Rd (now Jazz Louisiana Kitchen) and decided to rename the club once more, calling themselves the Kansas City Blues.

Frank was a mainstay at tight-head prop for the next 11 years, being selected to the Kansas City All Metro team in 1971 that hosted the White Haven RFC (Holland) in 1971, and Captaining the All Metro team against the Sanyo RFC (Japan) in 1972.  Frank was also a member of the Heart of America Touring Side that toured Nassau, Bahamas in March 1972, and England in April 1973 where he served as Co-Captain.

Frank Mirikitani retired as a player in 1977, and went on to serve as Club President from 1977-1997, by far the longest and most successful executive tenure in the Club’s 41-year history.  Overseeing the Club in it’s rise to National prominence, including multiple Final Four appearances and inclusion as a founding member of the United States Super League, Frank stepped down from the Presidency after 20 years, and was inducted with the inaugural class into the Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame in 1998.

Greatest Momemt
As a player, winning the Falcon Invitational in October, 1974: the Blues were seeded last, and only invited because they were the reigning HOA RFU champions.  The Blues defeated the St. Louis Falcons (MRFU champs) in the early game 21-10, and then defeated Texas A&M (Collegiate National Champs) under the lights, 13-9.  In the championship game on Sunday, the Blues defeated the mighty Chicago Lions (Mid-America Cup Champs), 10-0, for what was widely considered at the time as the National Championship.

As an officer of the Blues, winning the Western RFU Championships in 1993 and 1994, and advancing to the National Championship Final Four.

Interesting Facts
Frank Mirikitani played his best rugby BEFORE the formation of the HOA and the WRFU Unions, and as a result was TOO OLD to be selected for any LAU or TU select sides…

Frank serves today as the Honorary Chairman of the Kansas City Blues, the only member to have ever held the position, and is our most well-known and respected member on a local, national, and international level.

Michael Thomas Gabhart - 1998 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1998
Date of Birth: 1941
Place of Birth: Kansas City, Missouri

Career Stats
Position: Flanker
Career: 1964-1974
Years as Blues Captain: 3

Career Summary
Mike Gabhart was a founding member of the Kansas City Blues in 1964, returning to his hometown after serving four years in the United States Air Force.  Gabhart is an alumnus of Rockhurst High School and Rockhurst College. 

Serving as Captain and Co-Captain in the early years of the Club, Mike played flanker and was the last man in the line-out.  In 1967, Gabhart was a member of the Blues side that won the first Aspen Ruggerfest, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the United States.  Mike was also a member of the Blues side that won the first Heart of America Tournament.

Mike ‘Gabby’ Gabhart hung up his boots in 1974, and remains a proud supporter of the Blues.  Gabhart was elected into the KC Blues Hall of Fame with the inaugural class in 1998. 

Greatest Momemt
Enjoyed playing regular matches in the early days against KCRFC, KU, and CMSU.

Interesting Facts
Mike’s motto remains “Once a Blue, always a Blue!”

John Patrick O’Neal - 1998 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1998
Date of Birth: n/a
Place of Birth: Kansas City, Missouri

Career Stats
Position: Lock
Career: 1967-1979
Years as Blues Captain: 3

Career Summary
Pat O’Neal joined the KC Blues in 1967, after a stellar career as a forward for the Shawnee Mission East High School basketball team.  At 6’5 and 235lbs, Pat was physical force to be reckoned with.  Pat, as athletic as he was, enjoyed flanker but was forced by his other 14 teammates to play lock – and he excelled.

A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, and a commercial artist by trade, Pat easily dispelled the theory about ‘gentle artists’.  Instead, O’Neal painted his hits on countless opponents.  Pat epitomized Blues rugby.  He played hard the whole game, every game, no matter what the score, and he never quit.  He fought cancer the same way, making his accomplishments on the rugby pitch pale in comparison. 

Upon Pat’s death from cancer in 1979, the entire Blues organization celebrated his life at Mike’s Tavern with stories, drinking, and crying.  The next morning after the celebrating Pat’s life, teammate Steve Terrill noted that he himself was “sure O’Neal felt better than he did”.

Pat was loved, and is missed by all of the Blues family who knew him.  Pat was inducted with the first class of Blues Hall of Fame members in 1998.

Greatest Momemt
Every moment he spent with the Kansas City Blues, and every second he spent with his beloved family and friends.

Interesting Facts
The Pat O’Neal Award is given annually at the Blues Awards Banquet for outstanding service to the Club by a former player.  It is the highest honor a current player can receive for service to the Club.

Tom Doyle - 1998 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1998
Date of Birth: 12/30/1949
Place of Birth: Kansas City, Missouri

Career Stats
Position:
Flanker
Career: 1979-1983
Years as Blues Captain: 1

Career Summary
Tom Doyle began playing for the Blues in 1969.  As a student at KU, Doyle was invited to join the Blues at the storied Mardi Gras Tournament in New Orleans, LA.  Then-captain Gary Massey thanked him for his commitment by playing a gentlemen named ‘Smelly’ instead of Doyle.  Un-phased, Tom Doyle began training with both the Blues and KU for the next year, before crossing over completely to the Blues in 1970

Doyle’s playing career included a 10-year run as Captain, one of the longest in Blues history, and he is still held in the highest regard by the men he captained on the field.  Doyle’s fitness was unmatched by virtually anyone (outside of the teammates who trained with him), and he is regarded today as one of the special players of a bygone era who if transplanted into the modern game, could still dominate play today.

Tom Doyle hung up his boots in 1983, and was elected into the KC Blues Hall of Fame in 2003.  Doyle resides is Houston, TX and still makes it up to KC for numerous matches a year.

Greatest Momemt
Repaying the Chicago Lions for a previous loss with an emphatic thumping in at Swope Park in the ‘70s.  Punching Charlie Nelson in the mouth at the Pebble Beach Tournament.  Seeing current Blues players getting their game together.

Interesting Facts
We learned early on that we could win most of our games if the Blues were in better condition than the opponent.  So we ran and then ran some more.  It’s a lot easier game to play when you are in great shape.”

Hal Edwards - 1999 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1999
Date of Birth: 4/1/1951
Place of Birth: Oklahoma City, OK

Career Stats
Position:
Flanker, 8-Man
Career: 1976-1983
Years as Blues Captain: 2
Heart of America Select: 2
West RFU Select: 2
USA Eagles: 2

Career Summary
After a three year career on the Kansas University football team, Hal Edwards took up rugby at KU in 1971.  After graduation, he joined KC RFC in 1974. 

Having been selected for the first US Eagles National Team Trial in 1976, and realizing that the Kansas City area had the athletes to compete, but lacked the experience at the highest levels, Hal along with Kirk Miles, Gary Shull, Steve “Hannibal” Hayes, Craig Gauthier, and Larry Chandler, decided to join forces with the Tommy Doyle and help lead the KC Blues to national contention.

Hal went on to star for the Blues, the Heart, the West, and the United States Eagles from 1976-1983.  Upon retirement from playing in 1983, Hal coached the Rockhurst College RFC until 1985. 

Greatest Momemt
The Chicago Lions came to Kansas City with a well publicized 77-game winning streak in 1976, and were hammered with the legendary Blues style of pain.  According to Edwards:

“The referee quit in the second half…  On the opening kick I got a good hit on the receiver and from the floor of the ruck looking up I saw Gary Wilson [Eagle captain, prop] get punched in the face simultaneously from two Blues, I believe Ray Ritchey and Gary Shull, from two sides of his face.  A lot of infamous dangerous rough stuff occurred, and another Lion – Eagle Nick Federenko, that I had played with, looked at me during a lull and asked ‘What is wrong with you guys?’  I answered, ‘having a little fun and pay back’… The prior year before the Blues had suffered some needless dangerous cheap shots in Chicago and then were treated rudely after the match.  Well we ended the streak, embarrassed the tough Eagle-laden Lions and lead by Joe (x-Lion) Wilcox treated them to a first class after match function.  When asked if we could schedule this as a yearly contest the answer was ‘no way’.

Blues v Occidental Old Boys (pretty much the Eagles) in Aspen (should have won); Blues v Old Blue in Aspen; Blues v the Welsh sunburned cigarette smoking team; Blues v St Louis Falcons every time; JR Blues Steamboat summer tournament; Blues v Minneapolis; Carl Tripp at Kelly’s beating up Santa on Christmas Eve; Andy and Wube doing anything; training (the terrible tens) with Miles and Paoli and Wilcox’s KO of a 240lb+ prop at full speed head to head in Aspen…

Interesting Facts
Hal coached Rockhurst College RFC and played a large part in recruiting the majority of the Blues who graduated from there in the 1980’s.  Hal was also the long-time owner of Charlie Hooper’s Bar in Brookside.

Playing statistics include 78 stitches, 1 too many tackles, 2 ruptured discs, 100’s of friends, 1 Drop Goal

Kirk Miles - 1999 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 1999
Date of Birth: 10/1/1950
Place of Birth: Winfield, KS

Career Stats
Position:
Hooker
Career: 1975-1985
Heart of America Select: 7
West RFU Select: 7
USA Eagle Caps: 2
USA Rugby CEO Years: 3

Career Summary
Kirk’s rugby career began at Pittsburg State University (KS), with his first match coming against the Kansas City Blues.  Short of players a friend on PSU physically dragged him from bed and “kidnapped” him to fill out the traveling side to Kansas City.  Kirk played 4 years of rugby for the Gorillas before his profession moved him to Kansas City.  His first 3 years in Kansas City were spent with the Kansas City Rugby Club, where he and teammates Gary Shull, Hannibal Hayes, and Hal Edwards competed fiercely against the Blues.  Wanting to be part of a national powerhouse, Kirk and the 3 others mentioned moved to the Blues in 1978.

Kirk played hooker for the Blues during a period of time when the Blues were just establishing their national reputation as one of the top clubs in the country with matches against many international touring sides, and continued with winning if not undefeated league seasons.

Kirk played for the Heart of America, Western Mustangs, and USA Eagles in representative rugby.  Kirk earned two international caps against Canada and England in 1982.  Kirk’s career was cut short by injury.

Greatest Momemt
Perhaps his greatest moment was as a first-time Eagle playing an exceptional game against Canada in Albany, NY where he was named man of the match and given the game ball. 
Another great moment was scoring a try for the Western Mustangs to help lead the territorial side to victory against the touring London Welsh, at the time one of the most highly regarded club sides in the world.

As a KC Blue the greatest moment was scoring two tries in a lopsided victory against then rival St. Louis Bombers at the Heart of America tournament, where the Blues demolished the Bombers to avenge an earlier controversial loss that kept the Blues from playing for a National Championship.

Interesting Facts
Kirk was the first Blues player to play for the Eagles and earn an international cap.  While playing with the Blues Kirk was instrumental in the incorporation and development of Kansas Special Olympics and has gone on to a career developing Special Olympics Programs globally.

During the only period of his professional life where he was not working with Special Olympics International Kirk served three years as the first CEO of USA Rugby at the newly developed headquarters in Colorado Springs.

Jim Lyons - 2001 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2001
Date of Birth: 1945
Place of Birth: Kansas City, Missouri

Career Stats
Position:
Prop, Hooker
Career: 1964-1974
Years as Blues Captain: 3

Career Summary
Jim Lyons was a founding member of the Kansas City Blues, having orchestrated funding for the Club’s first set of jerseys in 1964 from the Student Association at UMKC, where he received his undergraduate and Law degrees.

Jim served as Captain and Co-Captain in the early years of the Club, and moved between prop and hooker, playing wherever the Blues needed him.  In 1967, Lyons was a member of the Blues side that won the first Aspen Ruggerfest, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the United States.  Jim was also a member of the Blues side that won the first Heart of America Tournament.

Jim ‘Sundance’ Lyons hung up his boots in 1974, and remained within the Blues family a big emotional and financial sponsor of the Club before his passing at too young an age.  Jim Lyons is greatly missed by all who played with him, and he was elected into the KC Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. 

Greatest Momemt
Enjoyed playing regular matches in the early days against KCRFC, KU, and CMSU.

Interesting Facts
The Jim Lyons award is given annually for outstanding service to the Club by a non-player.  A prestigious award amongst former players and supports, it serves as a memorial for the outstanding contributions Jim Lyons made to the Kansas City Blues during his lifetime.

Jerry Rutherford- 2005 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

  Casey Cummings
 
Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2005
Date of Birth: 1946
Place of Birth: Des Moines, IA

Career Stats
Position:
Hooker
Career: 1970-1978
President, Coach,  Referee and A Side Player

Career Summary
Kansas University spring of 1965 to the spring of 1968. KCRFC fall of 1969 to the winter of 1970. The winter of 1970 a was asked by the Heart of America a Rugby Union to take the leadership role with the KC Blues RFC. Winter of 1970 to the Spring of 1978, Played, president, coach, secretary, manager, fundraiser, loan officer, bails bondsman, and sanitation engineer.  Coached (2 steps and out) Rockhurst College RFC fall of 1977 to the fall of 1979 and simultaneously coach Johnson County RFC to the spring 1981. Officiated league games and tournaments in Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnesota, California and Iowa. Went on tour to England with Kansas University twice in the  mid 70's. Was fortunate to play the game with the best players of my era, the men of the Kansas City Blues Rugby Football Club.

Greatest Momemt
Two: Winning the Heart of America Tournament 1973, Inducted into Blues H.O.F. 2005

Interesting Facts
Averaged 5:50 in the mile run from 1971 to 1978.

Co-chaired the Heart of America Tournament from 1969 to 1980. Produced a positive cash flow from the Heart of America Tournament concessions from 1969 to 1980. Consultant for Anheuser Busch in taking over the Monterey Tournament, Pebble Beach, CA. Co-chaired the first National Club Championships Avila College grounds 1979.

Spring 1973 contacted Eddie Ermorian, then branch Manager Anheuser Busch branch Kansas City, Mo. Arranged $15,000.00 to sponsor the Heart of America tournament hosting 32 sides from across the USA, for each year 1973 to 1980. The Heart tournament became the prototype Anheuser Busch used for a tournament packet for AB distributors to use in the USA for sponsoring rugby tournaments.

Eddies involvement continued by arranging a meeting In Kansas City, Mo.1975  with the president of Michelob Brands which started a multi -million dollar relationship with rugby football. Thank you Eddie.

Eddie Cummings- 2006 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2006
Date of Birth: 08/03/1956
Place of Birth: Kansas City, MO

Career Stats
Position:
Hooker
Career: 1980-1992
HOA Years Played: 6 Years
Western Select Years:
I got Screwed
Penalties: 100
Blues Captain
: My temper was too bad

Career Summary
His rugby career was inspired by Mark Switzer and his truck full of beer!

He started playing rugby for Rockhurst University in 1977 after finishing his tour with the U.S. Navy.  In 1980, Rockhurst merged with the Kansas City Blues RFC where he played hooker for the next 12 years. 

He was a part of the team that toured England, Scotland, and Wales.  The team was a regular finalist every year in Aspen, and a constant force in the Heart of America and Western Conference.

Greatest Momemt
Winning the Heart of America Tournament against the (previously undefeated) “Oriental Orangutans” from New Zealand. (Sometime in the late 1980’s)

Interesting Facts
Eddie is currently the head coach of the 2007 Western High School Region Champions, the Kansas City Junior Blues.  He has participated in coaching them to Nationals for the past four years.  He was on the Over 45 team, The Black and Blues, which won the 2007 Aspen Ruggerfest.  Both of Eddie’s sons (Martin and Casey) were invited to try out for the USA national team. One of which (Casey) was a member of the first ever USA U-17 rugby team.

Chuck Patterson - 2009 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

Player Profile
Country: United States
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2009
Date of Birth: 01/04/1941
Place of Birth: Rockford, IL

Career Stats
Position:
Fullback, Standoff, #8, #5, Wing and Spectator
Career: 1963 to 2012 (continues as Spectator)
HOA Select: 1981

Career Summary
Chuck Patterson got started in 1963 with the University of Michigan rugby club when in law school. Joined KCRFC in 1966. Played with USMC –Quantico in 1966-67. Played internationally for USMC vs. VC and NVA in 1967-68, Washington DC Rugby Club in 1968-69, back to KCRFC for a couple of years, then the Immortals, the Bulls and then talked to Frank Mirikitani at Billy Harling’s Bar and tried out for the Blues. Moved to Los Angeles in 1985. Played for LARC “Lunchtime Legends”, The Blues Brothers, and “The Old Breed” (USMC over 35s). Played for The USA Seniors in New Zealand in 1978, Olde Peculiar from 1980 to 2012, The USA Owls from 1987 to 2012 and the USA Cougars vs. House of Lords and House of Commons RFC in 2002.

Chuck was Secretary for the Blues until left for California. Had a position with USARFU I think I was a volunteerand planned the First National Club Championships in 1979 with Doc Coleman and Jerry Rutherford

Greatest Momemt
The first game between the Bulls (then the Kansas City Steers, a semi-pro football team) and the Blues in the 1970s. Twenty minutes into the first half a fight broke out, 15 on 15. The referee George _____ blew his whistle a couple of times and then walked off the field and sat in the bleachers and watched until he whistled the half. I have always loved that game.

Best off the field experience; Being inducted into the Blues HOF.

Phil Komoroski - 2013 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

  Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Phil Komoroski
 

Phil Komoroski: Phil played for the Blues from 1980 – 1993. Prior to joining the Blues, he got his start in rugby with Rockhurst College in 1977 alongside many Blues greats. With the Blues, Phil was known for his blazing speed and ability to finish, was voted Backline MVP in 1982 and 1983, and was a member of many great Blues 7s sides, including the 1988 team that advanced to the National Elite Eight. Phil was selected to play for the HOA Select Side in 1979, 1980, 1982, and 1983, and scored the lone Blues try in the National Quarterfinal against Oklahoma in 1983. He was a member of multiple HOA Championship teams in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Billy Lonergan - 2013 Kansas City Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame

  Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Billy Lonergan
 

Billy Lonergan: Billy began his rugby career at the University of Missouri in 1986, recruited to play by fellow Blues Hall of Fame member Bob Willson. A tireless worker with exceptional fitness, Billy joined the Blues 7s team in 1988, and finished his playing career with the Club 17 years later, in 2005. Billy was voted Backline MVP in 1989, Homecoming Queen in 1992, and lead the Club’s field committee for 16 years from 1990-2006. As a player, Billy was a member of the Blues 7s Final Four team in 1991, and the 1993 and 1994 15s Final Four teams. He was also selected to play for the HOA and West Select Sides multiple times in the 1990’s. Billy finished his career playing with the Blues Brothers, and was a member of multiple Blues Brothers Championship sides at the Aspen Ruggerfest.

Kansas City Blues Rugby Club
www.kcblues.org