Don Burgess
Inducted 2005
Player / Builder
Don Burgess' lifetime rugby career in British Columbia showcased his skills as a stunning player and a brilliant coach. For his more than 45 years of service and contributions to rugby in BC, he was awarded the prestigious Jack Patterson Memorial Award by the BC Rugby Union in 1966. Don's rugby magic brought success to the teams he played with and coached, and earned him headlines in the British press as a member of the Canadian National team in 1962, as "Burgess Superb" and "Brilliant Burgess."
On that three-month long tour in 1962, Burgess earned two Canadian caps playing against the Barbarians and Wales.
Though primarily a fullback, Don also played scrumhalf, standoff and centre, but no matter where he played on the field his elusive side-step, pinpoint accuracy as a place-kicker and thumping tackles earned him renown and envy.
Don was an active player with the Oak Bay Wanderers and after hanging up his boots he took on the role of Club Coach and served in that capacity for 21 seasons. He was also a high school coach for 35 years and, along with Paul Horn, coached the B.C. Under-19 team, which won 11 Canadian Junior Championships. He also coached the Canadian Under-21 team to three North American Under-21 titles. He was honoured as Canada's first National Coaching Organizer, and was instrumental in establishing the National Coaching Certification Program.
Don achieved international notoriety as a rugby inventor for his "Burge" Kicking Tee, an innovation still used by place kickers worldwide.
He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 as a builder.
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