The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 27, 2013

College rugby: Valley native Mathias part of Penn State juggernaut

Penn State women won fourth title in five seasons

By Eric Shultz

For The Daily Item

Jim Mathias had plenty to smile about on May 4.

An assistant coach on the Penn State women's rugby team, Mathias just saw his team win the 2013 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women's Collegiate Division I National Championship, defeating Norwich University, 65-10.

But as the Lewisburg native looked back on the national title, the Lady Ruggers' eighth overall and fourth in the last five seasons, he said the most memorable part of the experience was not the victory, but what happened after it.

Sophomore Hope Rogers, who works up to two jobs to help pay for school, was given the tournament's Most Valuable Player honors. That moment stands out the most for Mathias.

"She's had a tough background, and to see her get that trophy as the Most Valuable Player and to see the other players react to that was the most special moment of the tournament," he said.

That players-first attitude, paired with his dedication to the team, is what makes Lady Ruggers head coach Pete Steinberg call Mathias "one of the people that embodies sort of what's really great about the Penn State women's program."

The satisfaction Mathias gets from coaching is also perhaps what keeps him coaching, despite his other commitments.

Mathias has been on the team's coaching staff since 2001. Each season, he makes as many of the twice-a-week practices at Penn State as he can.

"I know Route 192 pretty well," he said.

But coaching the game Mathias loves isn't the only thing on his plate. He is a consultant on the development of the new Miller Recreation and Wellness Center announced in Lewisburg. He is also the chairman of the Integral Yoga Center of Pennsylvania in New Berlin.

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