To honor one of the most prolific players to ever pull on a United States Eagles jersey, the United States Rugby Football Foundation is pleased to announce the Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Program.
In early 2020, the USRF awarded 10 $1,000 Kevin Higgins College Scholarships to deserving high school seniors who went on to play rugby in college, bringing the total number of Higgins Scholarships awarded to 122 since the program was created in 2008. This year, the USRF will provide up to 10 Higgins Scholarships. These independent scholarships are open to all graduating high school rugby players in the US who will be pursuing their rugby careers while continuing their education at the collegiate level.
A dashing number 13 who could play a rugged 12 and also outpace most on the wing, "Higgy" was a three-time Collegiate All-American at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Kevin was still a student when he made the first of 28 test match appearances against Japan in 1985. He represented the United States at the first two Rugby World Cups, in 1987 (Australia) and 1991 (England), and captained the team three times, a testament to his overall skill and leadership. Kevin also earned 16 'caps' with the USA 7s team, making three trips to the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens Tournament.
Kevin's skills were recognized internationally. He was selected to play for the Barbarians, an international all-star team, on their annual Easter Tour. Higgy was also selected for the Teljoy World XV, teaming with the likes of Alan and Gary Whetton, Grant Fox, Bernie Fraser, Stan Pilecki, Buck Shelford and fellow American, Mike Purcell. On the domestic scene, Kevin helped OMBAC to three national club championships.
Kevin touched the lives of his teammates, friends and opponents in so many ways, that he was as cherished off the field as he was on. Those who had the honor of playing alongside him, against him, touring with him and working with him still smile as classic Higgy stories are shared. He lifted the spirits and work ethic of every squad he joined. He played with a passion second to none. Such zest for the game sadly led to frequent concussions, prematurely ending his playing career and perhaps contributing to his untimely passing in 1996.
"The Rugby Foundation is proud to be a part of keeping the Kevin Higgins' legacy alive," said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard, himself a teammate of Higgins with OMBAC and the U.S. National Team. "It never ceases to amaze me the impressive qualifications that each year's Higgins Scholarship applicants have. Every year it gets harder and harder for the selection committee. But that's a good problem to have."