Rob Affleck - Johnny Purcell - Tim Kleier
Known by many players as “Flicker”, played at USD from the fall of 1989 through 1993 and was voted freshmen player of the year. He was team captain his junior and senior seasons and was voted MVP Backs both of those years. He was instrumental leading USD rugby to its first Southern California championship in 1993. He was selected to the Southern California Griffins and the Pacific Coast Grizzlies U-19 as a freshman and toured Vancouver, BC. He was again selected to the So Cal Griffins and Pacific Coast Grizzlies his junior and senior years at USD and became a two-time All-American.
After Playing 4 years at USD he played for OMBAC where he won a 15s national championships in 1994 and 1996. In 1995 he was part of the OMBAC team that won the Aspen tournament – a huge accomplishment at elevation! Rob also won a 7s National Championship with OMBAC in 1995 scoring a try in the final match. He learned 7s back in his hometown of Seattle in the summers of 1992, 1993 & 1994 by playing for Old Puget Sound Beach Rugby Club and competing in the Can-Am 7s. During his time at OMBAC he was named MVP of the backs in 1995 at a time where there were 13 other Eagles in the starting lineup. He represented the senior Griffins and then Grizzlies in the ITT tournament three years in a row. Rob also played for the Jr. Eagles with a tour to Australia, Fiji and some home matches and eventually made it to the USA Eagles camp as an alternate. During his time at USD and OMBAC he played against many touring sides from countries like England, Wales, Scotland, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Argentina.
After his rugby career in San Diego he moved to Vancouver, Washington, to start a family and a career in commercial real estate mortgages. He continues to coach youth rugby and enjoy family life with his wife Brandy, and his two daughters, Annika (17) and Hannah (15).
Rob with his wife Brandy, Annika and Hannah
Johnny Purcell and Tim Kleier were the founders and inspiration for the USD Rugby Football Club. Since the genesis of USD Rugby, these two men’s history at USD have been inextricably intertwined, together, they are both inducted into the USD Rugby Hall of Fame.
Tim and Johnny are from Bakersfield, California, from large families where they attended Garces Memorial Catholic High School and played football together. After high school both played for the D-1 Kern County RFC, which was a powerhouse in the late 70's. Johnny also played at linebacker for the National Champion Bakersfield College football team. Johnny and Tim moved to San Diego to attend USD and play Football for the Toreros, living hand to mouth in the Dog Patch at USD; and both returning to Bakersfield each Christmas break and summer break: Tim to work on oil rigs, and Johnny to work on the railroad, to fund their living expenses at USD, tuition being covered by scholarships and student loans.
The two great friends were room mates at USD, and for their first two years played for San Diego State (Unv. Div) under NZ Coach Gary Howat and the Old Aztecs (’79 Tour to NZ), since USD had no rugby team. Seeing the desire and need for a rugby team at USD, in the spring of 1980 they convinced USD and the Southern California Rugby Union that a rugby team at USD was a good idea, and USD RFC was born in the fall of 1980.
During the first two years, USD RFC’s rookie players were great athletes who did not lose a game to any College level team (except Loyola in its second year in a controversial Division Final). In its second year, USD RFC also won the University Division of the prestigious OMBAC SD Tournament. In its third year, USD RFC moved up to the University Division where it had a winning season and placed third in the Tucson Tournament.
Tim and Johnny wanted to recognize that much of the success of the new USD RFC team was fueled in large part by its popularity on campus and its active Social Side Membership whose numbers eclipsed all other Clubs at the school. The Social Side Members’ involvement made for outstanding ASB rugby sponsored events that became legendary on the small campus; and convinced USD’s better athletes to try out for the new sport/team on campus.
Johnny coached USD RFC’s back line, making the rookies into an impressive force that was a critical factor in USD RFC’s incredible success during its formative years. Tim was the other half of the equation, coaching the inexperienced but highly talented forwards, which were an equal part in the amazing success in the first years of the program. In rugby, while in San Diego, both Tim and Johnny earned spots on Representative teams, including San Diego under 23's; and later earned spots on Tri Counties (Santa Barbara, San Luis, and Kern Counties) Rep side, and others.
Johnny had an exceptional rugby career after USD, both as a player and as a coach. He played 1st Team for three of the top four D-1 Clubs in the country during his era - OMBAC, Santa Monica, and a short stint with the New York Old Blues. After he retired in his early 30's from rugby competition due to an injury, he formed a High School Rugby Program in Kern County for his sons that went undefeated in its first year of existence. In the early 1990’s he formed a D-1 7’s Adult Program in Kern County that won or placed in many tournaments and regional and national qualifiers. Most recently, Johnny has helped develop a Youth Flag Rugby Program in Kern County, which has this year evolved into full contact.
Tim graduated USD with honors and at the top of his Philosophy BA class in 1981, and then went onto USD Law School, where he played one more year for USD RFC and then moved to a position with the team as a coach only and as a liaison with the School Administration. He played for OMBAC and the Old Aztecs for the next two years. After USD Tim continued to play 1st Team Div-1 club rugby (George Washington RFC and Kern County RFC) for another 15 years with his teams winning a number of 15’s tournaments, traveling on touring sides, playing rep side games against foreign teams, serving as Vice President of the Southern California Ruby Union, and finally retiring in his early 40's. Tim remembers the highlight of his later rugby career to be the three year run of top level 7’s play for Kern County RFC under Johnny’s coaching in the early 1990s that resulted in some impressive tournament and national qualifier wins.
Tim is happily married to Kristi. They live in Bakersfield and have two children: Patrick, 16, and Matthew, 14. He began his law practice with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office where he worked for three years. He then moved to his current civil practice, which primarily focuses on business, farming, real estate, estate planning, and civil litigation. He has and remains involved in leadership roles with many legal and community related organizations both locally and on the state level. Tim has continued coaching a variety of sports, most recently coaching his son Matthew’s Jr. High Football and Lacrosse Teams; and is involved in the local Youth Rugby Program. Tim remains closely connected to many of his USD friends and families; and believes his experiences at USD, on many levels, are some of the most important of his life.
Johnny lives in Bakersfield, where he raised four fine children who are now young adults - Mick, John III, Nina, and Gabrielle (newly married to Jacob Frost, a great addition to the family). For the past 20+ years Johnny has made his living in finance; more specifically focusing on mergers, acquisitions, turnarounds, and restructurings in the small to medium size business sector. Before that, he was in management for Merrill Lynch and Payne Weber.
Tim and his family Kristi, Mathew and Patrick
Johnny and his family Nina, Gabrielle, Mick, & John III