Cuchulain Vikes Rugby Award

"The work and dedication recorded by Coach Doug Tate occasioned this former player and avid rugby follower to establish an annual scholarship for an aspiring male/female rugby athlete. Of the firm belief, good athletes make good managers, I am hopeful this stipend will assist in their future goals. Named 'Cuchulain' and I recommend the beneficiary/s will acquaint themselves with this famous Irish mythological character." - John Wrafter

John Wrafter was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1936 and commenced rugby at age of seven under the tutelage of Brother Elliott of the Christian Brothers College, Cork. Less than ten years later, he re-introduced rugby to the town of Sligo in the West of Ireland where it had fallen by the wayside. He was selected for Connacht vs. Leinster in the Schools Cup with emigration to Canada following shortly after (1956), where the writer played a winning role on the victorious Canadian Bank of Commerce team in the Sea Way League. A move to the West Indies followed, curtailing a rugby career but John continued to be an avid fan. Retirement in Victoria allowed him to become involved in the local scene, leading to his presidency of the V.I.R.U. for seven years (1999-2006). Presently, he is serving as General Manager, The Crimson Tide and Treasurer, the Canadian Rugby Foundation.

Co-founder of this award, Mike Holmes has been a strong advocate and supporter of UVic Athletics and the Men's Rugby program since he attended UVic in the 1980s. He received his BA in Economics, and then entered the Faculty of Law. While at the university, Mike's leadership led to many initiatives that created legacies for the Men's Rugby program. In the 1980s, his fundraising efforts for men's rugby paid for many of the team's tours and his development of the Brian Williams Scholarship has attracted many excellent Student-Athletes to UVic over the past 20 years. He also recently created the Pemberton Holmes Entrance Scholarship in Law to encourage rugby players to enter the field of Law. He continues to be the biggest fundraiser for UVic Rugby and annually uses his business and alumni contacts to create new scholarships and give disadvantaged students the opportunity to come to UVic. 

Mike is a past winner of the Publisher's Community Contributors Award, which recognizes someone in the community who contributes to the Vikes Athletic program. He was also recognized as one of fifty Alumni Who Made a Difference during the University's 50th Anniversary celebrations. 

Mike's biggest contribution to UVic is his understanding of the importance of giving back and the development of opportunities for those students who are entering UVic for the first time. He has made an impact in this area and does so without any fanfare. He is very giving and his contributions of time and talent have taken the Vikes Rugby program to another level. The Vikes Rugby Challenge is an initiative that is designed to draw support from other alumni, supporters and fans of the game, and will increase the opportunities for current and future students immensely.

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