PAST DOLPHINS

YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN IN OUR HEARTS AS

"FOREVER GREEN"

 

 

 

Thomas
Craig Sweeney
1943-1977

Position Played: Second Row
Craig was an original member of the Santa Monica Rugby Club
and one of its finest Players and a Club stalwart.

He toured New Zealand and Australia with the California Universities team
which had a winning record and toured England with the USA Eagles
as their captain and spokesperson.

He lived in Newport Beach and attended practices in Santa Monica
twice a week, a 120 mile round trip drive.

Craig is enshrined in the UCLA Rugby Hall of Fame and the
Santa Monica Rugby Hall of Fame. His name is on a trophy presented by
the USA Rugby Union to outstanding contributors to USA Rugby.
Ron Nisbet

He was a great team mate and wonderful player. He was willing to stop
practice to correct your grammar. He was also a lot of fun on trips and
tours because he had a habit of talking in his sleep. Some time it was
random. Some time he would actually carry on a conversation with
the TV if it was still on. Taken way too early.
Gordon Bosserman

Braek

Sweeney
Bobby Johnstone
0000-1989
Position Played:
Second Row
In it's inaugural year Santa Monica played two games against Cal State
Los Angeles. They were a very big (football big) squad And gave Santa Monica
big problems. One of the largest and fastest was Bobby Johnstone who played
second row. The following year Bobby joined Santa Monica and helped make
up a squad which at least two deep at every position and where sometimes
the toughest scrums were at practice.

Bobby played on the winning SMRC teams at San Diego and Santa Barbara.
The following year he moved to San Francisco where we encountered him
again while he was playing for the BATS. In 1989 the big San Francisco
earthquake struck. Bobby's basement was flooded and while trying to
assess damage Bobby was electrocuted and died.

Bobby had a big physique and a big heart.
He is now playing in the Green Elysian Fields.

Ron Nisbet


Braek

Jaynes
Hanley Thomas
1916-1993
Position Played: Scrum Half
Hanley Thomas a passionate Welsh rugby supporter who was the
President of the Santa Monica Soccer and Social Club, who were the
original sponsors of the Club.
Hanley was a founding member of the
Santa Monica Rugby Club.

Braek

Moir
Allan Jaynes

1913-1996
Position Played:
Loyal Supporter
Al was born in Tucson Arizona where he resided until graduation from
high school. Looking for a bit of adventure, he moved to Pasadena and
attended Pasadena City College until he enlisted in the Army during
World War II. He served in the 45th infantry division which saw action
in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. After his discharge, he met
his future wife Jeane who was visiting from Wisconsin at the Ship Room
in the old Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. He became a partner in the
local newspaper, the Arcadia Tribune, and had two sons, Brown and Peter.

Al, always the interested parent, closely followed the exploits of his sons.
Brown happened to take up rugby while attending USC, and Al became
the team’s biggest fan. When Brown began playing for the Santa Monica
Rugby Club in 1973, Al adopted the Dolphins as his new favorite team.
From 1973 until 1988 Al and Jeane Jaynes supported the Santa Monica
Rugby Club teams and its players by attending most home and many
away games. They were at the Monterrey Tournaments, hosting parties
and players. They were known to everyone on the Club and became good
friends with many of the players, especially supporting the foreign players
who could always use a surrogate parent.

Having spent more time on the sidelines of Santa Monica Rugby Club
games than most players over the years, Al’s and Jeane’s contribution to the
Family that was the Santa Monica Rugby Club of the ‘70’s and 80’s was
greatly appreciated and acknowledged by Allan Jaynes’s inclusion
in the “Forever Green”.
Brownie Jaynes

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McLean
Frazier McLean
0000-2004
Position Played:
Loyal Supporter
We were all gathered in the bar after a UCLA game. Truly a motley
crew. Tricky little English bastards; big, powerful All-American football
players ... flush with success and full of ourselves. I remember watching
an older guy shuffle across the bar towards us. He had a larger-than-normal
shoe on one foot and walked with a slight limp. He looked very out of place.
He approached a bunch of us, who were sitting around a large table.
He introduced himself as Frazier McClean. He was so forthright and
unassuming in his approach that we listened. He explained that he was a
photographer and he enjoyed photographing rugby in particular. He pulled
out a dozen or so 8x10, black and white prints, showing us in action on the
pitch. In the days before cell phones and selfies, this was quite remarkable.
He offered the photos to whoever wanted them. He asked if he could hang
out at games. From the beginning, he fit right in.

Action photography was very difficult back then ... All manual focus,
hand-process film, print in a dark room full of chemicals .... I don't
recall Frazier ever asking for money for his work. He was happy to be
included. Most of the presentation about Dennis Storer's career, as well as
the history of our own club, is documented by Frazier. Personally, when
I started taking action pictures, I wanted to be like him.

I know that most of the player's from Santa Monica's early days treasure
memories that were captured for them by Frazier McClean. As far as
I can see, there can be no finer legacy.

Dave Stephenson

Braek

Master Frame
Dean Sweeney II
1945-2006
Position Played: Prop
Dean graduated from Stanford University where he began his rugby
career, then obtained his Master in Business Administration from USC.
He played for Eagle Rock Rugby Club, along with Bill McEnteer and
Frank Digennaro in 1970 prior to the formation of the Santa Monica Club.
He joined his brother Craig as founding members of the club.

Dean played in the front row with a distinguished group of props
which included Kent Stevens, Dennis Murphy and Bill Eakland.
They formed a hilarious act on the SMRC tour to England and Wales,
which performed at the post game parties, known as “The Four Props”.

Santa Monica’s scrum was so formidable during this period that the
props maintained that the scrums at practice were tougher than those in
the game. This team’s front row players were equally adept at running
and passing as they were dominating in the scrum and lineout.
Dean played on the undefeated first year SMRC team and on the
championship teams in San Diego and Monterey.

I went on tour to Mexico City with Dean and a San Francisco team.
Dean owned a concrete cutting company. Returning to our hotel after a
rugby game and post game party, Dean spotted a group of men using
jackhammers to break up an area of roadway marked out with yellow paint.
Dean told the crew (in words they did not understand), “This is what my
company does in LA”. He grabbed one of the jackhammers and completed
the entire area marked out for that night’s work. The astonished crew
looked at the completed task and thanked Dean profusely
for giving then the rest of the night off.

Dean joined me in San Diego to witness Santa Monica’s Nation
Championship victory in 2005. Little did I know that it would the
last chance I got to see and socialize with my great friend. Gone but never
forgotten, you are now part of the “Forever Green” Machine.
Ron Nisbet

A great person. A founding member of the "four props." A strong
supporter of the team even through adversity. his first wife, Sheila,
hated his involvement with rugby so much, she refused to allow him to go
to Kent Steven's (a team mate) wedding. And actually made him leave his
wedding gift on the door step of his house so we could pick it up. We saw
him through the window. Those were the days.
Gordon Bosserman

Braek

Johnstone
Christian McKeel
1979-2007
Position Played:
Wing
I first met Christian at rugby practice one evening during our last
semester at Truman State University, MO in 2002. It didn’t take very
many practice sessions to realize that Christian was highly competitive.
Christian was originally from LA. After University we both ended up in
LA and joined SMRC in 2002 largely thanks to Doug Bratcher.

Christian was a club man through and through. He played outside center
or on the wing for the first team. He was a true team player who played
through pain, never complained and was known for "fighting above his
weight". He always gave 110% and never hesitated to face off against the
opposition if one of his teammates was getting abused.

Christian was the caliber of friend and teammate that would stand by you even
if you were wrong and would deal with it later. He was always happy, his energy
was contagious and he was always so patient with the people around him.
Matthew Strangeway

Christian McKeel had a small frame but he played like a power player,
especially on defense. You could count on Christian to put his body on the
line for the team. For that reason he sustained injuries, but he was trying
to make come backs and was never far from the club. The place I see
Christian is with his elfin grin at the On the Waterfront pool table after a
game of summer touch. He loved being around his friends. He was
winning games and making jokes, teasing, talking smack, all in good
nature and in his element. Christian was fun to be around. I miss Christian.
Stuart Krohn

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Moir
Gordon Moir
1944-2008
Position Played:
Hooker
Gordon James Moir, was born April 28th 1944 in Pietermaritzburg,
South Africa. He grew up in Cape Town where he learned his rugby.

He moved out to California to complete his Ph.D in Geology with a
scholarship at UCLA. There he joined the rugby team as a hooker and
played with the core old guard of Santa Monica Rugby Club, Nisbet,
Murphy, Bosserman, Sweeney, Stevens, Lepisto, Desmond, Stephenson.
Thrussell O’Connor.et al. He was not a large physical specimen but made
up in technique and skill for his lack of size.

Once playing in Stanford Sevens, he dislocated his shoulder but continued
playing, caught the ball one-handed and scored the winning try!

At Santa Monica he shared hooking duties with Fred Khasigian, as Freddie
could play back row equally well and was a member of the championship
winning teams at San Diego and Monterey. Gordon returned to
South Africa where he continued to work for EXXON and died on his
beloved Table Mountain during a weekend hike.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir
Ron Nisbet

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Otter
Daniel Otter
1961-2011
Position Played:
Second Row
Dan exemplified why we all loved playing rugby for Santa Monica RFC
together. He was the consummate teammate there in support, usually the
first one to put his head in the ruck to push the pile (and did he have the
lumps and scars on that noggin' to prove it). He was positive and uplifting
and you knew he really cared about the club and its members. Dan
loved the post game festivities and was always there to share a beer
and a story. When he and his family moved to Las Vegas, he reveled in
hosting his former teammates at the Rugby 7s and opened his suite to
all of us. He was a good man, a good husband and a good father, and
I am proud to have known and played with him.
Andrew Hunter

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Schwartz
Zachary Schwartz
1975-2012
Position Played:
Wing
Zach joined SMRC in 2006. Typically hyper-critical on his own game and
how he should have done this or that for the better of the team, he had the
speed to break away and the stamina to finish long tries.

Zach was not only respected and loved for his personal qualities, but for
the intensity of those characteristics. He was fiercely loyal to his friends and
teammates, refreshingly honest, genuinely good-hearted, and amazingly fearless.
Zach was that rare friend who was notably focused and undistracted when
he was listening to you about your own personal life.

Zach often mentioned that his passion for rugby was mainly due to the
generation of guys he met when he first joined SMRC.
Matthew Strangeway

Zach - what a class act, he never had a bad word to say about anyone and
to be honest I don't think I ever heard anyone say anything bad about the
guy either and in this crowd that's an accomplishment ! A good friend
to everyone and always ready to lend a helping hand in any way he could.
RIP buddy you are missed but not forgotten.
Robert Knox

Zach was a gentle and kind soul with the heart of a champion. I vividly
remember being with him for a game in Vegas. He was one of those
underrated guys on the pitch, for reasons I am not to sure. Maybe it was
because he wasn't a huge man and kept quiet often times, but hell was had
when he had the ball in hand. He ran sick lines and was an absolute chore
to bring down, often needing to be double tackled on the outside. On defense
it was as if he aimed for the spine of his opposition. He would hit through
through them, putting his body on the line and wrecking havoc. Most of all
though, Zach was a good man. When with him, he gave you 100% of his
attention and you could tell he genuinely cared what you were up to. He
listened and he looked you in the eyes. I miss him, but I know he's making
others smile and feel welcome where ever he is.
Aaron Davis

Braek

Master Frame
Frank DiGennaro
1941-2013
Position Played:
Wing
Frankie DiGennaro played for Santa Monica Rugby Club from
1973 to 1983. He embodied the spirit of Rugby and the Santa Monica
Rugby Club. He was a fierce competitor, a leader and a dear friend.
His enthusiasm was contagious on and off the pitch. He was buried with
a Hall Of Fame pin on his lapel.

The Santa Monica Rugby Club and the Hall of Fame Committe have
dedicated an award in memory of "Frankie D."

The "Frank DiGennaro Exuberant Youth Award" is given annually
to the youth player from the Santa Monica Rugby Club who has consistently
shown the level of commitment, sportsmanship and enthusiasm
exemplified by Frankie.

Here’s what his teammates have to say about "Frankie D."

During my 6 years with the Club, no one loved hanging around and
chatting with SMRC guys like Frankie D. Friendly with everyone, he had
more stories than Guss and knew guys from rugby clubs all over LA county.
A most inspirational award could be given in his name--awardee would
exemplify a positive, team-first guy who never had a bad word !
The guy that helped you get over a tough loss!
Michael Pavich

As a Freshman at Oxy, I was working out running around the track and
I saw this older guy, probably 25 who was there when I started and said,
"Let's do another 2 laps and a few more sprints. He was the kindest and
most helpful person. He always said, let's do a little more. He loved working
out, being in the best shape possible, and ways very supportive. He was my
personal trainer before they were invented. He also would give a real critique
of your performance which helped technique. A natural born coach.
Great Guy - He was a true big brother!
Steve Auerbach

Frankie D had so much spirit and vitality – hard to hear of his passing.
I believe that Frankie D above all else was a fierce competitor.
Dave Briley

"Frankie D." one of the most positive people i have ever known. he was
a joy to be around. always a good word to say. Toured with him to Europe
with the Bats. He was like a child in that he had never been away from
home before and was constantly losing things.
Gordon Bosserman

Frankie D was one of the best people I’ve ever met and one of the reasons
why playing rugby was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I first met
Frankie when we were both playing for Santa Monica and he and I struck up
an immediate friendship, which was normal for Frankie. He was good
friends with everyone, never judging, never saying anything negative about
anyone. We had some great conversations about rugby, work and life that
were just so darn enjoyable. He was such a great example of someone who
truly enjoyed life and all those around him. I miss him tremendously, but
he made such a great impression on me that I feel he isn’t really gone.
His memory is so vivid still. Indeed, he’s making me smile in a bittersweet
way as I write this. Such a good man.
Mike Fenerin

Frankie was a player who was known for a great attitude during the
season. Frankie was a very positive person and was a guy who loved to
battle back when we were behind on the scoreboard (which wasn't that
often back in those days) Frankie gave 100% all the time.
Mitchell Morrison

He was so full of his usual energy when I saw him for the first time in
so long at the HOF. So long Frankie D.
Timothy J. Desmond

Honor THE MAN we shed our tears for. He was buried with a HOF pin
on his lapel, thanks to Danny Benjamin. We remember the PLAYER in
many ways, the one from toid and thirty toid in New York.
One of the most famous moments winning the Kent County Plate with
SMRC on tour in England approaching coach Ron, “let me in coach, I feel a
try coming on.” He was never selfish, being one, in the group of wings of
Fenerin, Fast Eddie O’Connor, Auerbach, Loco D…Danny Scott.
Realize the pleasure from the front row after a contested scrum in
seeing the ball pass through a myriad of hands and ending up in
Frankie’s grip and running through many a’ tacklers attempts to upend
the unstoppable. His body was not his, but ours on defense, as he put it
on the line in every situation when needed. The reward for the nings, sweat
and blood from the pack was Frankie touching down under the posts.
Ron Guss

I got to spend a lot of time with Frankie post rugby at the LAAC.
His enthusiasm for life was boundless. he will be missed.
John Carroll

I loved Frankie and thought he exemplified everything wonderful
about the game and athletics.
Russ Goodman

Frankie was a very special guy... Loved all of his team mates and
was loved by all of us.
Dave Morrison

Braek

Wilbur
John Wilbur
1943-2013
Position Played: Second Row
I first met John Wilbur in 1963 on the sidelines of a rugby match at
Loyola University. The Universities Rugby Club was playing against
Fullerton. I was new to the Club and Los Angeles, John was taking a year
off from Stanford for undisclosed reasons. When he returned to Stanford
the following year, I used John and some of his fellow football players
as day laborers,. when I was conducting material evaluations at the
Northern California refineries. I often stayed with John at the
Beta House in Stanford University.

John tried out with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted lineman.
He literally fought his way onto the team by cold cocking his opposite
number in a scrimmage which so impressed Tom Landry that he gave him
a contract John played for Dallas in the “Ice Bowl” against Green Bay,
the LA Rams and the Washington Redskins. He returned to UCLA
for his graduate degree in Business and took up Rugby again.

He toured with Santa Monica in Scotland and Ireland in 1983 and
accompanied David Stephenson and Dennis Jablonski to Belfast for the
Willie John McBride match with international players from all over
the world. Rumor has it that he walked through the most security-
conscious immigration screening in Belfast Airport with a money belt
containing several ounces of cannabis!

John moved to Hawaii and kept up his rugby association with the
Hawaii Harlequins Rugby Club. He counted Hunter J. Thompson
amongst his intimate friends.

John was truly an American original who lived life to the fullest and is
fondly remembered by his fellow rugby comrades. John, you were a
good friend and an unforgettable companion.
Ron Nisbet

A terrific athlete. He played on the offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys.
He moved to Hawaii and I once called him when I was on the island but
was not allowed to speak to him until I first convinced his wife I was
not looking for a place to sleep.
Gordon Bosserman

Braek

Frame
John Brown, M.D.

1934-2014
Position Played:
Wing
John Brown was a founder member of the Santa Monica Rugby Club. He
moved to Southern California from San Francisco where he played with
the San Francisco Rugby Club from 1967 to 1970. He played for Santa Monica
from 1973-1976, on the wing although he had played almost every position in
the backs at S.F.R.C. and in England.

John was born in England, went to Medical School at Westminster Hospital
and played for British Army, London Hospitals, Surrey and Hampshire
(county rep teams) and London Irish. After he hung up his boots, he
started running long distances and completed the Western States 100 mile
in fewer than 24 hours to earn the silver belt buckle!

John had an understated sense of humor and was always a great companion
whether on the field or leaning on the bar at Ye Olde Kings Head in
Santa Monica. We last saw John three years ago at the Beach Club
in Santa Monica for an Old Boys Reunion.
Ron Nisbet

Braek

McDonald
Bruce McDonald
1953-2014
Position Played:
Second Row
Bruce McDonald and I have been friends near on 30 years. I met Bruce at a
SMRC practice in the mid 1980's. He had just moved out from back east and
was looking for a club to play for. He was soon a regular first team player at
2nd row and we paired in many matches. As you all know, there is a close
connection between all rugby players but in my opinion even a greater
connection in the "tight five". Bruce always had my back. He even let me
yell and scream at him to get in the scrum, full well knowing he had
arrived seconds before me, just to let me vent. These years were the best
times of my life and I KNOW they were the best times of his.

After we stopped playing and started our families, we remained close friends.
About 10 years ago he casually mentioned to me while sharing a beer that
he had a blood disorder that would probably do him in. About 16 months ago
he called to tell me that the worst had happened and that his time was short.
I really couldn't believe how noble and dignified he has been over these
last several months. We talked a lot and it was always about family,
friends, rugby and "the good old days".

He never once acted sorry for himself or even desperate about the final
outcome. He even kept his sense of humor! He reminded me of many of
the games we all have played where the score was out of hand against us,
yet many (but not all) continued to play the game as if it still could be won.
I was proud to be his teammate and even prouder to be his friend.
Rick Lemmens

Break

McDonald

Vic Mayer
1957-2014
Position Played:
Second Row
We've all heard the poem "The Dash", about that little dash from one's first
day on Earth to the last. Well, Vic had a pretty big dash. He lived a very full life,
and left this World feeling good about his time here.

Vic came to the club from UCLA, where he was a scholarship athlete who
played football and rugby. A born leader, he was eventually elected captain.
We bonded immediately, as many in the tight-five will, but that bond was
cemented when he moved in to our (very large 4-bedroom townhouse) apartment
which he re-named Camp College. On the field, a fierce competitor, with
tree-trunk legs. Off the field, a sensitive, caring soul. An artist, his main
medium was wood. He created pieces which he called "Antiques of the Future".
Truly beautiful works of art. He followed this passion for over 30 years.

He was a World-traveler, model (!), husband, not-so-good parrot trainer,
and father of three. If you were his friend, it was for life. He was my
teammate, my friend, my roommate, my brother. We shared many
adventures and thoughts. A great Dolphin, and Bruin, for life. We lost Vic to
"Steve Jobs" cancer, after a short, 3 1/2 month period. Through all of the
radiation, and other treatments, as his body was giving up, he never wavered
in his faith that either way, win or lose, he was going to be fine. He leaves
his family in good shape, intact, with no regrets. All are well. He is missed.
Norm Allendorph

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McMillan
Tom McMillian (The King)
0000-0000
Position Played:
Prop
Tom McMillan started his rugby career with Eagle Rock Athletic Club.
He originally played football with this group, which included John Curry,
the late Frankie Digennaro, and the Mazolla brothers. They were a semi-pro
football team scrimmaged with the Lain pre-season. Tom joined the
rugby club which was the same group who needed someone to hit after
the football season was over! Tom played rugby at ERAC from 1953 until
1977 when he joined Santa Monica Rugby Club until 1989.

Tom was a great goal kicker with the old square toed boot. In common
with Danny Benjamin, he longed for a change in rules to include a designated
kicker. Although his best days were behind him when he joined SMRC, he
turned out regularly for the Grunions and the Kelp. Each year he would
add knee braces, shoulder harnesses and miscellaneous medical devices and
kept on playing. His famous war cry was “Pour the Pork”, which although
no one knew what it meant, inspired additional ferocity on the field.

In 1956, Tom qualified for the USA Olympic Trials in race walking by
placing 4th in a national AAU event. He was unable to make the trials and
we are left to ponder the spectacle of Tom “heel and toeing” to the tune of
“Pour the pork, pour the pork…”.

We lost contact with the “King” in his latter days although there were
almost as many sightings of Tom as there were of Elvis. Tom you were
the “King” and you are sorely missed.
Ron Nisbet

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