GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - The Glenwood Defiance Rugby Club couldn't have found a more experienced coach than Ian "Spudsy" Skilton.
Spudsy, as all of his former teammates call him, has close to 25 years of background playing rugby in the area and was even one of the people who started the Glenwood club 20 years ago. So it was no wonder Defiance chose him to be the team's new coach for the 2013 season.
"It's going to be a fun ride," the new coach said.
Skilton takes over for Bob Herrell, who stepped down from his head coaching duties after five years at the helm. Herrell said he isn't completely walking away from the program, but the first "non-player coach" of the team is simply stepping away to do other things at this time.
Herrell and Skilton have a mutual, even humorous, respect for each other, having played each other on the rugby field as far back as a decade ago. But the overall respect the pair have for one another is the paralleled thought process on what the club is all about.
"It's about family, the team and brotherhood," Herrell said. "You can love the sport, but what you really end up loving the camaraderie and the family."
Skilton takes over in what turns out to be a big year for the club. It's the 20th anniversary of the team, which will host the Ski Town Classic tournament, scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 2 and 3, and will likely draw rugby teams from around Colorado and its surrounding states.
The club itself also plans on being a staple in the Glenwood Springs community. Instead of charging an admission price at each home game at Glenwood Park, the team asks for a canned food item to be brought so it can be donated to a local charity.
But before any of that can happen, a team has to be put together for the upcoming season. That said, Defiance is hosting a "Meet the Coach" session at the Eagle's Club in Glenwood Springs at 5 p.m. April 6, and will host rookie camp tryouts April 20 and 27 at Two Rivers Park.
Skilton's primary goal is to find players who are set on contributing to the team.
"If rugby is not fun for you, then it's not fun for me to teach it to you," the coach said. "That's the bottom line. If you have no respect for me, the players and especially the game, you have no need to be here.
"And that's regardless of the results," he continued. "Respect is earned and not meant to be given. If you show up to practice and I don't know you, do I respect you? Not yet."
Defiance had a season riddled with injuries in 2012, yet still managed a second-place finish at last year's Ski Town Classic in Steamboat Springs. Herrell said he was prouder of last year's team more than any he coached because of the effort it put out during the season, and Skilton is hoping for the same kind of players on his squad.
"No one is going to judge you for trying something," he said. "How do you know if you don't like something if you don't try it?"