Mike Fina, who served as an assistant coach of the Greenwich boys rugby team for numerous seasons, will now guide the program.
Fina was named head coach of the Cardinals by Greenwich athletic director Gus Lindine, it was announced on Tuesday.
He replaces Joe Kelly, who resigned over the summer, spending nine highly successful seasons at the helm. Kelly was elected to the Greenwich Board of Education last week.
After working in the hospitality industry for a number of years, Fina starting coaching football at Greenwich in 2012. From 2012-2018, Fina served as a freshman assistant football coach, head freshman coach and a defensive line coach on the varsity squad.
He joined the Greenwich’s rugby staff in 2015, serving as a varsity assistant and freshman coach. During the past several years, Fina worked with GHS girls rugby coach Erin Martschenko to form the girls program. The Greenwich girls rugby team celebrated its inaugural season this past spring.
A student athlete at Greenwich High, Fina played football, rugby and was a member of the school’s first bowling team. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Studies at Manhattan College and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in physical education and sports pedagogy.
Under Kelly’s tenure, which began the spring of 2011, the Cardinals won eight state rugby championships and made nine appearances in the state title game.
Kelly took over the program from Steve Lapham, who headed the program for 19 seasons and led the Cardinals to their first three state championships.
This past season, Kelly’s championship squad made it to the championship game of the state tournament, where it lost to Aspetuck Valley Rugby Club in late May.
When Kelly announced that he decided to leave his post back in September, he said he considered it for a while.
“We talked about this for a couple of years,” Kelly said. “I wanted to have one of the younger guys in the program move into the head coaching position.”
Kelly endorsed Fina for the head coaching job back in the summer.
“He has done a great job of with program and he was also instrumental in setting up the girls rugby program and helping to get that going at Greenwich High School.”
Kelly was presented with the 2018 Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greenwich Old Timers Athletic Association.