Alumni Of the Month – Don Becker

Alumni Of the Month – Don Becker

– Luke Henricks


What is your favorite memory on/off the field playing rugby at UW?

I played on campus as an undergrad from 1971-73, then in graduate school 1973-76, and in law school from 1979-82.   My favorite specific memory is from a trip to Tulane University for the Mardi Gras tournament.  I was still one of the newer players on the team and scoring a try for the first team would seem to be a big deal.  At a defensive lineout, I ran from the back of our lineout to block the clearing kick by the opposing fly half, I scooped up the ball and quickly ran through the in-goal area, without realizing where I was on the field, and totally blowing this opportunity.  As it turned out, we had a great team and my missed opportunity did not cost us – we went on to win the tournament.  I certainly heard about the mishap plenty of times – appropriately so.  As a coach for UW (~1988-1990), I have so many favorite memories, all involving the enjoyment by the players of our game.


Do you have any advice for current players?

My advice for current players:  never put yourself in the position that you are not totally ready to give your best for the team when you step on the pitch; never leave the pitch wondering if you gave your all for your team.  I would give the same advice beyond rugby.

What is the most valuable thing you gained from playing rugby at UW? What aspect of rugby makes you value it more than other sports?

The most valuable thing I gained from rugby is the many friends – teammates, players I played against, coaches, referees, administrators, players who played when I coached.  I have friends from 46 years ago and from each decade since.  I have friends from around the world and in many professions, all from rugby.  I am almost as close to many of the players I played against as those I played with.  I can’t imagine how I would have nearly as interesting a life without my experiences in rugby.