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Scholz, Rudy

Rudy Scholz '18
  • Sport Rugby
  • Inducted: 1964
  • Gold at 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games and 1924 Paris Olympic Games  
  • Secretary for the Northern California Rugby Association
  • Oldest player ever to play competitive rugby (83 yrs old)
  • Namesake of the Rudy Scholz Award for the Best Division I Collegiate Rugby Player

Rudy Scholz is not just remembered by Santa Clara as a Hall of Famer, but by the whole rugby community as Scholz was one of the original pioneers that got USA Rugby to where it is today. Scholz was a standout athlete coming out of Illinois. He didn't have the biggest structure, but he sure did have heart and speed. In 1914, Scholz decided to attend Santa Clara where excelled not only at Rugby, but also football. He was a tenacious scrum half at Santa Clara where he put SCU rugby on the map when they beat two rivals and powerhouses, Cal and Stanford. After his first season, Scholz would be commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army. He was ready to serve, but the Great War ended so Scholz was able to return back to Santa Clara. Upon his return, he played quarterback for the football team while also giving Santa Clara’s rugby team a name. From his stellar play, Rudy was selected for the United States National Rugby Team, yet funds were scarce since rugby wasn’t yet a popularized American sport. So as any Bronco would do, Rudy beat the bushes for scarce funds to get the team to Europe. He took on the title of chairman of the Santa Clara Olympic Games Rugby Track committee. Scholz, the starting scrum half, and the USA National rugby team went on to shock the world winning the gold at the Antwerp Games of 1920 by defeating France 8-0. In 1924, Scholz would again shoulder a significant portion of the planning and fundraising efforts, serving as secretary of the newly formed Northern California Rugby Association to raise money for the team to defend the American gold, despite little interest from the American Olympics organizers. This team again went on to defend and win Gold at the Paris Games of 1924. After his career in collegiate and professional rugby, he couldn't stay away from the sport. Scholz continued to play rugby and American football with the Olympic Club of San Francisco following law school. He became a lifetime player for the California Bald Eagles Rugby club until he was 47. Scholz at the age of 83, played his last game of rugby, making him the oldest player ever to play competitive rugby. Scholz was a warrior in whatever he did from winning two Golds to serving in two World Wars. His heart and dedication to the sport of rugby will never be forgotten. In 2015, he became the name of the award “The Rudy Scholz Award” that is given out to the best Division I collegiate rugby player. A book has also been written about him and his service to rugby called “For the Glory”.

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