Rugby is a team sport.
So is coaching. Nearly two dozen people comprise the coaching staff of the Glendale Raptors. The staff is led by the director of rugby, a position Mark Bullock has held since the Raptors’ founding. The director oversees the development of every branch of the Raptors organization and works to bring its long-term vision to life. Head coaches for each team, Dave Williams for the men and Kittery Ruiz for the women, are joined by assistant coaches and strength and conditioning experts. The robust coaching staff signifies the kind of professionally-run organization, on par with major sports teams, that the Raptors pride themselves on being. More importantly, the emphasis on cultivating leadership has led to big results: Both men’s and women’s teams are consistently among the best teams in the country, and both have brought multiple national championships back to Glendale.
Director of Rugby / D2 Head Coach
Mark originally played football for the University of Montana, followed by playing rugby for Davis City and Seattle Rugby clubs. Mark holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Stanford University. Following his playing career, Mark transitioned to coaching high school football and basketball starting in 1974, followed by rugby beginning in 1986. During his coaching career, Mark coached several high school football and rugby teams, including seven championship-winning teams. Mark’s national coaching career found him in several roles for the USA U19 teams including formation, management and several coaching positions including Head Coach from 1998-2002. During his tenure as a USA U19 coach, Mark’s 1998 and 2001 teams played in the rugby World Cup as well. Mark has coached several players who went on to either win a Super Bowl Championship or competed in the Rugby World Cup, the number three most watched sporting event in the world.
Mark started the Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club starting in 2005 and was responsible for the development and plans for the present Infinity Park. As Director of Rugby for the City of Glendale, Mark oversees multiple men’s and women’s teams including the 2015 Mens Elite Pacific Rugby Premiership Champions as well as the Raptors 2014 and 2015 Women’s Premier League National Champions.
Mark will oversee the new Glendale Youth Rugby Academy which is scheduled to launch in April, 2016 to include youth programs (K-12), High School Boys High Performance program which are held locally as well as nationally, various clinics and camps hosted at Infinity Park, and in local elementary and middle schools.
Mark has acted as a key figure in the development of the nationally recognized rugby programs in Glendale, including coordination of the Raptors in the Community volunteer program.
Men's Head Coach
Prior to being named head coach, Dave had been a part of the Glendale Raptors organization as Strength, Skills and Conditioning Coach since 2011. A native of England, Dave has also played on the USA Eagles 7s and 15s teams, as well as acted as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the USA Men’s National Team and most recently, as Assistant Coach of the PRO Rugby Denver Stampede team.
Women's Head Coach
- Morris Women’s Rugby 2000-2002
- Beantown RFC 2002-2011
- Glendale Women’s RFC 2011-2014
- Northeast Select Side 7s and 15s: 2001-2011
- West Select Side 15s 2012
- USA 15s 2007-2014
- USA 7s 2008-2009
- World Cup 7s Training Squad 2009
- World Cup 15s 2010 and 2014
- St Lawrence University Women’s Forwards Coach
- West Select Side 7s Head Coach
Kitt recently retired from both domestic and international rugby and is making the transition to coaching. She will be working along side Jamie Burke as one of the forwards coaches, as well as a lineout specialist.
Director of Rugby Development
U20 Head Coach
- Played age grade for Cambridge Rugby Club in England
- East of England age grade Representative Side
- Coached to two National NSCRO title victories with Wayne State College Women’s Team
- Head Coach of Rugby Nebraska All State 2013-2017
- Boys High School All Americans Camp Coach
- EIRA Coach Eagle Impact Rugby Academy
Men's Assistant Coach
Kieran “Ted” Browner, an orthopedic nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, was born in Nuneaton, England to Irish parents. He played hooker on four continents and came to the U.S. in 1999 to play for Defiance RFC in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Browner started as a player and coach in Glendale, but retired from playing in 2006.
Browner loves introducing the game into new players’ lives and feels that it’s imperative to pass on the ethos of good sportsmanship, on and off the field, to a new generation of athletes.
Women's Fowards Coach
- UVA Women’s Rugby 1998-2003
- D.C. Furies 2004-2005
- Berkeley All-Blues 2005-2008
- Beantown RFC 2008-2011
- Raleigh Venom 2011-2012
- Glendale Women’s RFC 2013-2014
- MARFU Select Side 2001-2005
- Pac Coast Select Side 2007-2008
- Northeast Select Side 15s 2009-2011
- USA 15s 2004-2014
- World Cup 15s 2006, 2010, and 2014
- University of Virginia Women’s Assistant Forwards Coach
- Northern California Select Side Head Coach
- Raleigh Venom Assistant Coach
Jamie recently retired from both domestic and international rugby and is making the transition to coaching and reffing after a decade on the pitch as a prop for USA Women’s National team. She will be bringing her years of experience in the tight five to bear as one of the forwards coaches, focusing specifically on the scrum and contact point.
Men's D3 Head Coach
Jackson has been playing and coaching with the Glendale Raptors since playing with the first-ever Raptors high school boys team in 2007. Since, 2010 he has coached at nearly every age level from ages 9 through 19. In 2016, he transitioned to serve as an assistant coach for the Men’s Division II and III teams, before becoming Head Coach of the Division III team in 2017. Alongside his coaching duties, he now serves the program as its Senior Coordinator and works with Professional Rugby Agency in Brand Strategy and Communications, outside of Glendale. He’s also currently studying Organizational Communications at Metropolitan State University of Denver and a partner for the Feed the Bear Youth Performance Tournament in Greeley, Northern Colorado. When it comes to rugby, he’s all in.
Men's D3 Assistant Coach
Men's Assistant Coach
Women's Assistant Coach
Women's D1 Backs Coach
Kandis recently retired from domestic rugby and is making the transition to coaching. She will be working along side Jon Mooney as the Backs coach and Kicking Specialist.
- Kansas City Dragons 2006-2009
- Austin Valkyries 2009-2011
- Texas A&M 2010
- Glendale Women’s RFC 2012-2015
- West Select Side 7s and 15s: 2008-2012
- USA 15s U20s 2007 & 2010
- USA 7s Developmental Side 2010
- Glendale Youth Program
- Glendale High School Summer Camps
- Glendale Women’s Assistant Coach
Men's Assistant Coach
John has represented the Glendale Raptors since 2009 as both a player and a coach. John first joined the club as a journeyman forward having played around the world with the majority of his 20 year playing career in St. Louis, MO for the Super League’s St. Louis Bombers. After winning the USA Rugby Men’s Division I Club Championship with Glendale in 2011, he hung up his boots and focused on coaching. John has served as the Head Coach and Forwards coach of the Raptors DII Development side, assisted with the Youth Development program camps, while also coaching the Vail Rugby Club to two Mountain League Championships and one coveted Triple Crown. With additional experience in coaching High School rugby in St. Louis and Australia, John utilizes a progressive, player-focused coaching style, with an emphasis on the ethos of good sportsmanship, both on and off the field.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., Dan played forward for London Welsh, the Old Blues of Christ’s Hospital and the Denver Harlequins. He represented the Eastern Rockies U23 and Men’s side. Dan graduated from Regis University in Denver.
Men's Assistant Coach
Nico Rithner founded USA Kettlebell Lifting in 2009 and started the kettlebell-lifting endurance sport of BOLT. By 2011 this sport was being practiced abroad and the organization became the International Kettlebell Lifting Federation. USAKL is the United States branch of IKLF. The IKLF provide educations courses and a certification process for kettlebell-lifting instructors and a kettlebell-lifting endurance competition league. Nico is the chief instructor of these certification courses.
Nico is Colorado Kettlebell Club’s head coach. Colorado Kettlebell Club is a gym located in Denver where coach Rithner training methods are taught.
Nico owns and coaches the Colorado Weightlifting Club, an Olympic weightlifting facility.
Nico has been the strength and conditioning coach for the Glendale Raptors First Team Men since 2007. During this period the Raptors made it to the DI Championship three times and won in 2011.
Nico authored the book “Essentials of Kettlebell Lifting” and has been presenting on kettlebell lifting for prestigious organizations such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association, U.S. Army, USA Men’s Eagles Sevens, law enforcement agencies, fire departments and University of Colorado Colorado Springs. In addition he has provided training and instruction on kettlebell lifting to SWAT teams, Army Special Forces, firefighters, and athletes of all levels.
USAKL-IKLF chief instructor; USAW; NSCA-CPT; RGSF instructor, IKFF-CKT; TRX fitness instructor; TRX FORCE instructor; CrossFit L1
Dr. Amy Valenta
Dr. Amy Valenta PT, DPT, OCS, MTC has been the Medical Coordinator for the Glendale Raptors since 2007 and is the owner of Denver Back Pain Specialists, Catalyst Athletic Performance and Infinity Physical Therapy and Sport Rehabilitation. She is a Colorado native and completed her doctorate at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center where she received the Mary Gosnell Award for Clinical Excellence.
Since 2002 Dr. Valenta has traveled extensively with rugby teams throughout the world and has been fortunate enough to work with athletes from USA Rugby, Select Side teams, as well as, many club and high school programs.
While Dr. Valenta specializes in the treatment of rugby athletes, she has also worked with professional football, hockey, lacrosse and soccer players. Amy brings a wealth of experience in treating rugby specific injuries to the team and is an invaluable resource for keeping players healthy and competitive.
Jeff Horgan (MS, NASM PES, and NASE) has been in athletic training for nearly eight years, and with the Raptors organization for three.
Whittney Findley MAT, LAT, ATC has been an athletic trainer for seven years. Before joining the Raptors organization, she worked with numerous athletic programs in both Kansas and Colorado. Much of her experience is with contact sports, including football, lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling. In addition to athletic training, Whittney has a background in education and has taught high school Health and Sports Medicine courses.
She completed her undergraduate degree in Athletic Training at the University of Central Missouri. She then received her master’s degree in Health Education from East Carolina University, where she was also a graduate assistant athletic trainer.
Whittney enjoys working with athletes of all ages and all sports. She appreciates the opportunity she has keeping athletes healthy and playing the game that they love. In her free time, Whittney enjoys good food, cycling, and photography.
Dr. Trainor is a team physician for the Glendale Raptors Rugby Program. He specializes in non-surgical intervention and is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Dr. Trainor currently practices at Denver Back Pain Specialists. He specializes in the treatment of the spine, as well as, evaluation and treatment of all musculoskeletal conditions including sprains/strains, tendonitis, bursitis and non-surgical fractures.
He did his residency and fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where he received world class training in the management of acute and chronic sports and musculoskeletal related injuries. He has a special interest in using ultrasound-guidance to precisely deliver regenerative therapies (including platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells) to treat both joint and tendon disorders.
Dr. Trainor finds working with athletes very rewarding and appreciates their drive and motivation to get back to competition after a sidelining injury. His primary goal in treating sports-related injuries is to methodically and safely return the athlete to play. In his free time, he enjoys weight training, cycling, running, and any other activity that allows him to be outside and active.
Dr. DaRosa is a team physician for the Glendale Raptors Men and Women’s Rugby teams. He is a non-surgical sports medicine physician at Denver Sports Medicine-SCL Physicians and cares for athletes and patients of all ages. He specializes in concussion management and the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions of all joints including sprains, strains, tendonitis, cartilage injury, bursitis, back/neck pain, and non-surgical fractures.
Dr. DaRosa loves caring for high school athletes as well and is a medical director for Denver Public School’s Sports Medicine Department. He has also served as team physician for the Indy Eleven professional soccer team, Indy Fuel professional hockey team, the Indianapolis Colts, as well as for multiple colleges and high schools since 2008.
Dr. DaRosa completed residency training at Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver. Dr. DaRosa completed a sports medicine fellowship at Indiana University in Indianapolis.
Dr. Joseph Vear DC, MS, CCEP is a sports chiropractor and owner of True Form Chiropractic here in south Denver. He completed his Doctorate of Chiropractic at Life University in Atlanta Ga, prior to moving to Denver with his wife Adrienne. While in Atlanta Dr. Vear worked with the medical staff at Life University treating all of their athletes while finishing his masters in Sports Health Science. He played college football for Hillsdale College prior to going to chiropractic college and has personal experience dealing with sports related injuries and what it takes to get athletes back on the field safe and effectively.