November Alumnus of the Month: Adam Kelsey

Adam Kelsey with a nice pike caught on the fly

When did you play?
I played with the UMRFC from 2001-2006. I started playing rugby my senior year of high school after wrestling season ended. At the time I thought it would be a fun competitive sport that would fill the void for me as wrestling was over for me. What I quickly realized was that I had found a new love that trumped all of my previous sporting adventures. What I realize now is that new love is something that will live with me for the rest of my life. Not just the sport itself, or the competition, but the people. I remember seeing Matt Kuriluk in the computer lab during orientation at Michigan. I recognized him from playing against Northville, and getting to play with him on the Midwest high school all stars team. I was pumped to see him even though we didn’t know each other all that well. It was like seeing a friend I had known for many years. I then met Marcus Remarcus (Andrew Marcus) and Levo (Mike Livanos) at Palmer field, and I instantly had found my new home at Michigan. I’ll never forget when I got thrown it at halftime in my first game. I was nervous as hell because I never thought I’d be playing in the A side game that day. Still to this day my Dad remembers when Dogger almost beat the crap out of a guy after he clotheslined me on a kick return run. After college I played a season with the Ann Arbor men’s team, which was an absolute blast. I haven’t played any rugby now for a few years due to my attempts at balancing work life and family life (three beautiful youngins and a wonderful wife), but I simply can’t shake the burning desire to get back on the pitch. A very proud moment for me was to see my little brother Chad step foot on the pitch. Even though it was horrible circumstance, and heartbreaking, I felt very proud seeing him fight like a champ at the hospital one night at about 1:00am with the worst looking leg I have seen.

Any special honors (ie captain, chair positions, midwest finals etc)
I assistant captained the team one season alongside a very talented and inspirational Craig Williams. In some aspects, I wasn’t ready for it, but leadership on the field was always something I held dear, and strove to get better at. My Junior year I was blessed to join the team in an undefeated regular season, and run at the National Title.

Favorite memory or memories
So many awesome memories with so many people. The road trips, the tours, the glorious wins, bloody and hard fought losses. The days spent with great friends, friendships forged on and off the field that will truly last forever even when you’ve temporarily lost touch. I can’t name them all, but a lot of people during those years hold a special place in my heart, and will never lose it. One memory that means a lot to me is not what you would typically look at as a good one, but it was. When we lost our battle in the war for the national title, all of us literally wept. All men, men who don’t cry that much. Looking back, it meant so much to all of us, that whole season and the ones before it. The training we all put in during summer and the two a days, we were all invested in the sport, in the team, and in each other. Looking back, I now know why I wept; because my mates meant so much to me. But that day we were also supported by mates from past years who also meant a lot to me. I will always remember that day.

What are you doing now?
Shortly after graduating, I married my wife Sarah, and we started having children pretty quickly thereafter. I now have a 1 1/2 year old boy named Rex, a 3 year old named Gus, and a 4 year old darling named Stella. I am completely blessed with such a wonderful family. We recently bought a home on 5 acres in Howell. We love it. I work for a car wash equipment company in Northville, which I enjoy. I’ve also been in an ongoing war with raccoons getting into our chicken coop for a late night snack. Maybe some day I will get back into playing shape and find the time to get back on the pitch. Whether I do or not, I am very thankful I made the choice to step on the pitch in high school, and am very thankful for all my mates.


  1. Alissa

    A very moving rendition by a one-of-a kind rugby alum.

  2. Jack Fisher

    Great stuff, Adam. You were always a leader, both on the field and off. Very glad to have had the opportunity to help coach you and watch you. excell.

  3. Mike Brooks

    Adam and Pat Maly showed up at our first WRFC team meeting at my house a little late, the room was filled with big guys, we had all three Ackerman boys playing for us that year, all around 6-4. The only spot left to sit was on the little step leading into our family room, and there were these two 120 pounders sitting there, Adam and Pat. I asked if they were Freshmen! No, they were senior wrestlers at Pioneer. I was embarrassed, but they took it in stride. Adam and Pat taught us a lot about big things coming in small packages as they helped lead us to a great season. Adam became legendary at UM RFC and Pat was a key player at GVSU. He’s now a broadcaster on the local Radio station.

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