News Flash:
  • Mark Numbers is only the second head coach in the team’s history.
  • The Highland Rugby Foundation today announced that Highland Rugby will return.
  • “Highland Rugby is an important part of the Highland community and we look forward to welcoming the team back under the leadership of Coach Numbers,”
23 -February -2018 - 11:01

Highland Rugby's coach Larry Gelwix readies for a new mission

By Brad Rock, Deseret News Published: Saturday, May 28 2011 11:09 p.m. MDT SALT LAKE CITY — Through 36 years, 3,500 players, 20 national championships and a motion picture, Highland rugby coach Larry Gelwix taught — and learned — numerous life lessons, not the least being this: "I found that sleep is overrated." Good thing for him that sleeping and dreaming aren't always related. Gelwix wrapped up his long pro bono coaching career on May 21 with a win over United, giving him a national championship send-off. You can't say it was a fluke. Two titles are a confirmation, three are a statement. But 20? That's a decree. If it hadn't been for divine intervention, he says, "I might be going after (title) No. 21 and year 37. But no regrets." It's hard to regret a dynasty. From now on, he will be teaching and preaching the word, which is what he's been doing on a different level for nearly four decades. Gelwix leaves in June to become an LDS mission president in Fresno, Calif. The only difference now is that he'll have to avoid referring to zone conferences as scrums. "I did not see the mission call coming," he says. Hence, the rugby part of his life is done. He started out by throwing together a team just for fun, and ended up with a 418-10 record and enough championship rings for each of his fingers and toes. Would he do anything differently? That's like asking DaVinci if he'd like to touch up the Mona Lisa. "I don't think the basics would change," Gelwix says. Strange part of this story is that it lasted. He had no clue when he began that it was a decades-long commitment. He thought it was something to keep the kids occupied. The one thing he did know was that it wouldn't make him rich. Being an LDS seminary teacher wasn't lucrative, but it paid more than coaching rugby. Only six boys showed up for his first practice, five with no athletic ability whatsoever. (Now he has 200 players a year try out.) The talented one, a football player, had already sustained several concussions and had to quit on doctor's orders. Along the way, rugby and Gelwix gained momentum. He went on to own one of the top travel agencies in the West and his club went from nothing to the subject of the film "Forever Strong," starring Sean Astin and Gary Cole. It was the inspiring tale of a devoted coach, a troubled kid and the struggle to live by principles, yet still succeed.

Faith Folau (21.07.2012 (20:17:16))
HR is AWESOME Yes No Hello HR players i just wanted to say that you guys rule. You guys have taught me so much in life. I love what you guys do for this team you have taught me to stick together on or off the field you guys will always be in my heart kia ka
Marchelle (04.02.2013 (00:35:36))
Greeting! Yes No Hi, HR;

I loved the movie. I loved that you have won 20 championships and I love your outstanding record. I am also please to know that rugby will continue at Highland High School. Good luck to Coach Larry Gelwix with his new endeavor and Good luck to the new couch Mark Numbers....


Meb (28.02.2014 (20:36:14))
Correction... Yes No It was Sean Faris, not Sean Astin in the movie.



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