March 08, 2022 4 min read
August 5, 2020
Craig Wilson was born in England and is currently the men's and women's Head Coach at Yale University. Wilson was internationally capped for the Hong Kong National Team and has represented professional academies at Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints. He has played in both the Scottish and Hong Kong premiership and coached the India National Team at both XV’s and sevens.
Gary has coached professionally for over 20 years. At the club level, Gary has worked with English Premiership clubs London Irish, Newcastle Falcons, Bath, Sale Sharks, and Worcester Warriors. Internationally, Gary was the assistant coach for South Africa between 2008 - 2011 and is now the current USA men’s coach.
Rugby Wisdom Podcast
Craig Wilson:Welcome to Rugby Wisdom in 3, the impactful podcast that does not impact your time. My name is Craig Wilson and I’m your host. This show is all about sharing rugby wisdom and I would love it if you share this podcast with a friend. If you have not done so already, please subscribe now so you don’t miss a thing.
On today’s Rugby Wisdom in 3, I’m joined by Gary Gold. Gary’s been a professional coach for over 20 years. At the club level, Gary has coached English Premiership clubs London Irish, Newcastle, Bath, Sale, and Worcester. And internationally, Gary was the assistant coach for South Africa between 2008 and 2011 and is now the current U.S.A. men’s national coach. Gary, thanks for joining me on the show.
Gary Gold: Good to be here, Craig. Thank you.
Craig Wilson: Look, it’s wonderful to have someone of your experience on the show, and for you to share your wisdom with us. I would love to know, was there a particular environment or moment in time that has really influenced you and how you coach today?
Gary Gold: Craig, I think every environment you find yourself in as a professional coach will have some form of an influence on one as an individual, particularly if you’re somebody that is very passionate about continuing to learn, which I think is an essential attribute for coaches of today’s day and age. But I think there’s two particular environments that stand out for me as areas that have influenced me significantly.
The first one, and it often is the case like this with coaches who go into a professional environment, was my first environment, which ended up being a fantastic experience, which was at London Irish back in 2001, where I worked with a good friend of mine called Brendan Venter, and Brendan’s philosophy was so incredibly focused around the individuals, and we really… When I say we had a no-name band of players, we didn’t have any what were commonly known as world class players, and to see how he molded that group together that year to have an aligned vision and to be able to pull together in the same direction. Even though it’s a game of rugby we’re talking about, but how aligned we were as a group, just because of the values that we had in the group was absolutely incredible.
And you know, that led us to being able to be successful at the end of that year, winning the Powergen Cup final at Twickenham against a star-studded Northampton team. But that’s an example of how an environment has influenced me that’s been successful.
Ironically enough, the other environment that stands out was an environment I went into in 2012, which was Newcastle, who were looking for somebody for a short-term period of time when they were nine points clear, facing relegation in the Premiership, and it was almost inevitable, and I got a call and asked to go in there, and that was just an unbelievable experience even though that wasn’t an experience that ended up in winning trophies. In fact, it ended up in the club being relegated. But we closed a nine-point deficit over 12 games, and the alignment of the players in that environment and the lessons that I learned of… People think that coaching is just about the X’s and the O’s, and it’s so much more about the environment you create with the players to ensure that they’re aligned.
And really, Craig, I mean this sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, is that you really hope you can go away and have been part of an environment where you think that the players are gonna have learned lessons that are gonna go on and serve them well into the rest of their life, and that’s the beauty with rugby, and that’s what you can get out of those environments, and those have been two environments that have had a huge influence on my life.
Craig Wilson: Absolutely brilliant stuff, and the key message I keep hearing is get that alignment in whatever way you see fit in your environment. Gary, really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
Gary Gold: Thanks, Craig.
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