Basil Nisbet,legendary rugby coach and administrator for The Richmond Rugby Football Club and The Virginia Rugby Union

circa mid 70s

"Back Row: Basil Nisbet, Dick Taylor, Artie McGurn, Jimmy Sowers, Tommy Tichacek, Carl Salera, Bill Grogan, Joby Klotz, W&M Guy Front Row: Sam Hall, West Holdren (??), Dave Harwood, Buster Alston (??), Doug Bloomfield, Carlton Crooks Location Byrd Park probably 1972.Best guess" Tom Rose

"I think the guy in front of Tommy Tichacek is Harry Morrow, another Benedictine cadet." Bill Tichacek

To: The Virginia Rugby Hall of Fame Panel,

Basil Nisbet had an early and massive influence on the advancement of rugby in The Virginia Rugby Union. His initiatives in the 60's,70's,80's,and 90's still bear fruit as a coach and administrator. Basil's rugby roots are traced back to his schoolboy days in Rhodesia in the 1950s. He immigrated to Richmond,Virginia in 1963 and joined the Richmond Rugby Football Club in 1964. Basil quickly rose to serve as their captain and several terms as Club President,was VRU select side coach,VRU Collegiate Select Side coach,lead several international tours,served as VRU President,and served as coach for the University of Richmond and served a two year stint as coach for Virginia Military Institude driving over two hours per training session. He quickly recognized that american rugby players were starved from even basic rugby coaching instruction so Basil began a long tradition of importing stellar international coaching talent as guests to our clubs in The Virginia Rugby Union. Notable in Basil's coaching initiative was his desire to see that all the players in our union were exposed to these internationals and not just his home club,Richmond RFC. Among the outstanding rugby coaching talent he attracted to Virginia were British coach,Dave Thomas,former New Zealand All Black coach,Fred Allen,and former South Aftrican Sprinkbok coach,Ian McIntosh. Many clubs enjoyed the company and wisdom of these coaches. This early coaching initiative still flows from coach to player in an unbroken chain to the present.

Basil was a relentless recruiter. Using his South African connections via Ian McIntosh,a young Dickie Muir played and lead Richmond RFC to the VRU championship. Dickie later served as a player and head coach for South Africa's national team,The Springboks.

Basil Nisbet in collaboration with Tom Rose started the "ground fund" in the late 70s that was the genesis of the non-profit 501c corporation, The Richmond Rugby Foundation, and the only private rugby ground in the Commonwealth of Virginia that is actually owned by a rugby organization.

Basil's service to The Virginia Rugby Union spans four decades; he was not only a great coach and administrator but a visionary for the future state of our rugby union. The future is now and Basil should be proud and gratified by all the initiatives he started and worked so hard to implement. Of all the coaches and administrators that served our Union in the last four decades of the 20th century. Basil Nisbet has no peer.

I ,respectfully, nominate Basil Nisbet for admission to the Virginia Rugby Hall of Fame.

Cary Kennedy


From Scott Coffield:

Basil Nisbet ALWAYS tried his best to further the game throughout the state. I can also remember when he would personally knead the blood/ water on my knees before games so I could play a little bit more quickly, or put balm on limbs to get players ready to play. And he'd have us over to his house to have Rhodesian ox-tail soup or some other foreign delicacy from the old country. There must have been a dozen of us at his "tree fort" at 7:00 A.M. to see his Springbocs win the Rugby World Cup. On occasion he would personalize conversations with a little philosophizing about life and love and the "trials and tribulations of outrageous fortune" because he had a deep personal interest in his rugby colleagues. He was unique.....

Rare shot of Basil Nisbet as a player in football jersey. Sam Hall in the foreground advancing in defense.

Basil Nisbet is standing all the way to the right with his mates 1959 in Livingston,Rhodesia.