DR. RICHARD VINCENT, KNOWN AS “DOC VINNY” IN RUGBY CIRCLES, PASSED AWAY AT HIS HOME THE MORNING OF AUGUST 5TH AT AGE 55 AFTER A LONG ILLNESS.
Doc Vinny’s roots in Minnesota rugby goes back decades, as a founding member of Metro Rugby Football Club in the 1970’s, where he predominantly played hooker. He was instrumental in the merger of the Metro and Minneapolis RFC clubs which resulted in the creation of Metropolis RFC in 1992.
Vinny continued to impact Minnesota rugby long after he retired from active play. Shortly after the creation of Metropolis RFC, Vinny began working toward his vision of a permanent field for the club based in Northeast Minneapolis. He strongly believed that a permanent home would allow the club to focus on player and team development and compete with the best teams in the country.
After four years of negotiations, Vinny and the Metro Old Boys Rugby Club formalized a partnership with the Minneapolis Park Board, the Columbia Park Neighborhood Association, and the State of Minnesota on August 22nd, 1998. The result would be a $300,000 development allowing for the construction of a rugby-dedicated facility at Columbia Park. The pitch became available for play the following year, and has been home to the Metropolis Rugby Club ever since.
The permanent rugby dedicated facility- now known as SAOS Field at Columbia Park- has staged numerous events that have been held at the pitch over the past ten years, including national playoff games, USA Eagle youth tryouts and exhibitions, Premier USA Women’s matches, and countless Minnesota college and high school rugby events.
With a home for Metropolis realized, the club began to thrive as Vinny had hoped. Metropolis reached the National 7’s Championships three times in a five-year stretch, won the Division III National Championship in 2011, and reached the Division I National Championship final four this past June.
This past spring, Doc and his wife JoAnn were awarded the inaugural “Founding Father” designation, as the first donors to commit a total of $10,000 to The Metropolis Foundation. The Foundation will continue to support the growth of Minnesota rugby in Vinny’s spirit, contributing to the facilities, coaching, and development of both senior and youth rugby in the state.