Pittsburgh, PENNSYLVANIA – After a search of several months and having vetted several qualified candidates, the Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club is extremely pleased to announce the hiring of Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez as the new Head Coach of the Forge Women.
Alex has enjoyed an illustrious rugby career throughout Mexico and Texas, and brings a wealth of experience as a player, coach, and administrator to our talented and historic women’s program. His reputation precedes his arrival in Pittsburgh, as he is in the process of relocating to the area to join family nearby. Throughout his years in the sport, Alex has been selected to the Mexican National Team, voted the Mexican Rugby Union’s Most Valuable Player (1983), named an advisor for the Mexican National Team, voted Rugby Texas’ Coach of the Year (2012), and in Spring 2020 was named to the Texas Rugby Hall of Fame. Perhaps his most lasting contribution to the sport, however, has been his ability to foster grassroots rugby, founding and subsequently administering five separate collegiate and senior clubs throughout his career, many in areas with little to no prior rugby exposure.
Alex comes to Pittsburgh from McAllen, Texas, where he has most recently coached the McAllen Knights Women’s Team, a program which he founded in 2018 as a complement to the McAllen Knights Men’s program that he himself had established twenty-six years earlier in 1992. While Alex spent a number of his playing and coaching years in McAllen, his career carried him throughout the region.
Alex began his rugby career in 1976 with the Citibank Mexico Rugby Football Club, before joining the Reforma Athletic Club in Mexico City in 1977. Reforma consisted largely of European players living in the area and was one of the founding clubs of the Mexican Rugby Union. From 1977 through 1980, Alex developed tremendously and enjoyed success in Reforma’s back line, eventually becoming the club’s Captain and earning his first call-up to the Mexican Select Side.
In the summer of 1980, Alex reestablished a rugby program at the University of Americas in Puebla, where he simultaneously played and coached through 1983. During this time, Alex’s selections to the Mexican Select Side continued, he earned his way onto the Mexican National Team, and was elected as Vice President of the Mexican Rugby Union. At the conclusion of the 1983 season Alex was named the Mexican Rugby Union’s Most Valuable Player. In 1984, Alex moved to Houston, TX and played with the Houston Rugby Club until 1986 when he was forced to step away from the game due to injury and work commitments. In 1992, however, he moved to south Texas and formed the McAllen Knights RFC men’s program. Over a ten-year period there Alex played, coached, and served as Club President, and in 2002, even led an undefeated McAllen club to become Runners-Up of the Texas Championship.
Alex moved back to Cordoba, Veracruz, Mexico in 2002, and shortly thereafter in 2004 founded the rugby program at Tec de Monterrey University in 2004, where he again assumed playing and coaching responsibilities for the club. From 2004 to 2006, Alex was also appointed as an advisor for the Mexican National Team and was behind the establishment of the first Select Side Camp at the Tec de Monterrey Campus Central in Veracruz, the success of which has led several other Tec de Monterrey campuses to offer rugby programs today.
Alex returned to the United States in 2006 where he resumed his familiar player-coach role with the McAllen Knights. In 2008, he once again led the undefeated Knights to the Texas Championship and again finished Runner-Up. Alex continued to coach the Knights through the 2011-12 season before moving to northeast Houston and taking a job as the Head Coach of the Kingwood High School Boys Rugby Club. In his first season there, Alex led the club to the State Championship and finished as Runner-Up and was subsequently named the Coach of the Year by Rugby Texas. Alex coached the Kingwood HS Boys for another three years, finishing third in the state in 2015.
In the summer of 2015, Alex took on the challenge of forming a senior level men’s club in northeast Houston, something that had never been done before. Alex named the club the Kingwood Crusaders, and served as their President and Coach until 2017, even stepping on the field as a Scrumhalf as needed, despite being well into his sixties, when the program’s numbers were wavering in the early years.
In 2017, Alex returned to Mission, Texas and rejoined the McAllen Knights as their coach. In 2018, Alex founded the McAllen Maidens Women’s side where he’s coached since. In the spring of 2020, Alex was inducted into the Texas Rugby Union Hall of Fame for his lifetime of hard work and success in rugby.
For more information regarding playing or coaching opportunities with the Pittsburgh Forge, please contact us at PGHForgeRugby@gmail.com.