Zoomie Men’s Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Denny Merideth
Denny Merideth developed a passion for rugby as a cadet at the Air Force Academy in 1969 that matured into a life-long dedication to a philosophy founded upon the spirit of rugby. This passion led him to successful careers in the Air Force, U.S. State Department, Missouri State Legislature and private business. After 40 years Denny finally moved back to the Colorado Springs area in 2013 and volunteered to assist with the Air Force Academy Rugby Club.
Denny has previously coached with both the US Air Force Rugby Team and the U.S. Combined Services Team. During his 14 years with the Combined Services Denny took the team on tours to England, Wales, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand gaining valuable experience as a coach and mentor. He has also coached club teams in Poland, The Philippines, and the Netherlands.
Highlights of his Air Force career include serving as an F-15 Combat Instructor Pilot, the Senior Military Advisor for Royal Saudi Military Forces in southwestern Saudi Arabia, Commander of Air Liaison Personnel assigned to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Operations Commander of a 560-person fighter unit in Iceland, and Instructor Pilot for the Royal Jordanian Air Force. Denny’s tours took him to a number of locations including Korea, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Jordan, and Honduras.
Denny returned to work with his brother on the family farm after retiring from the Air Force. Together they carried on the family farming tradition. Shortly after arriving though Denny was elected as the first independent State Representative to the Missouri House of Representatives since 1891. He became the senior member of the Budget Committee and worked diligently to ensure Missouri had a balanced budget in difficult economic times. He strove to serve both as a dedicated public servant by providing dedicated constituent services and as an engaged legislator.
Soon after September 11, 2001 Denny joined the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. During his final tour overseas Denny led a dynamic political team of U.S. and U.K. civilian and military personnel throughout Helmand Province in Afghanistan as the Senior U.S. Political Advisor. As the principal political advisor to the Ambassador at U.S. Embassy The Hague he directed a wide range of activities related to European security issues, including NATO and the EU's European Security and Defense Policy. He was a frequent lecturer at Leiden University and member of roundtable dialogues at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. While stationed at the U.S. Embassy Manila Denny served as the Executive Officer for the Ambassador’s outreach efforts and synchronized the Mission’s 27 separate federal agencies. During his tenure at the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland he was recognized as the section leader in standard-setting analysis and developed leadership tenets that were lauded by the State Department headquarters in Washington D.C.
Assistant Coach - Forwards: Jeff Burrows
Jeff Burrows is a 1977 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School and was commissioned in May 1981 through the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Factors Engineering and Design. He also has a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Jeff joined Zoomie Rugby in 1978 after playing USAFA Prep School Football and USAFA Football 1976-78. Jeff played Locke from 1978-1981 and was a member of the 1980 team that was runner-up in the 1980 National Championship where he played for the Zoomie Rugby coaching legends Al Osur and Vern Francis. From 2001-04 he returned to the pitch at USAFA as a Coach and OIC for Zoomie Rugby Men's Team under Rob Holder. Jeff rejoined Zoomie Rugby in 2017 as an assistant coach under Denny Meredith and served as a volunteer coach with the Palmer HS Terrors Women's Rugby where his daughter Anna played Prop. Jeff also volunteers as the Zoomie Rugby Booster Club/Alumni Group Treasurer.
Jeff earned his USAF pilot wings at Reese AFB, Texas, in 1982. Upon completion of pilot training, he was assigned to the 54th Flying Training Squadron, Reese AFB as a T-38 First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP). In October 1984, Jeff was reassigned to the 560th Flying Training Squadron as a T-38 Instructor Pilot in Air Training Command's T-38 Instructor Pilot School. In August 1987, he was selected for the F-16 and attended F-16 training at Luke AFB, Arizona and was subsequently assigned to the 81st Tactical Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, Germany where he served as an F-16 Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, and Flight Examiner. In January 1991 he successfully flew 19 night combat missions over northern Iraq during Operation Desert Storm where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In April 1991, Jeff was assigned to the 63FS MacDill AFB, FL as an F-16 Instructor Pilot and Assistant Operations Officer. Upon the closure of the 56th Fighter Wing at MacDill AFB, Jeff was assigned to the Headquarters United States Air Force in Europe Directorate of Personnel as the Chief, Officer Assignments. In October 1996, Jeff was assigned to the 78th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, South Carolina where he served as an Assistant Operations Officer and then Chief, 20th Fighter Wing Inspections. In May 1998 he was selected to command Peace Vector 3 where his team was responsible for advising the Egyptian Air Force on all aspects of operations for a 35 aircraft F-16 Foreign Military Sales case at Abu Suwayr Air Base, Egypt. Jeff returned to Colorado Springs in 1999 as the Chief Air Operations Inspections Branch, NORAD Inspector General and subsequently he taught Military Studies at USAFA from 2001-2003. He retired in 2003 after 23 years of service. Jeff is currently employed with American Airlines as an Airbus 319/320/321 pilot based in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Assistant Coach - Forwards: Mick Harper
Mick graduated from USAFA with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and was privileged to be introduced to Rugby in 1988 by Team Captains, Vander-Pol and Finley while on the Combat Arms Range. Mick was a front row player, primarily Hooker but sometimes Prop. His time on the pitch ensured balance during the times on the terrazzo. He started for the Zoomies as a hooker and his best memories come from the 1992 National Collegiate Championships where the team took third place overall. He enjoyed being a forward during his time on the Pitch, and often felt bad for the backs.
After graduation, Mick enjoyed a career in the Air Force as a Combat Search and Rescue pilot flying Huey and Pavehawk helicopters. The job took him and his family all over the world to include Iceland, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq as well as Spokane, Las Vegas, Tucson, Washington DC, and Colorado Springs. As a combat pilot he has over 200 combat sorties, multiple Air Medals, and a Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan supporting our British allies. Looking back, he most enjoyed being part of the Air Force team, serving and leading while operating at a high level.
Upon retirement in 2015, Mick went to work as a professional pilot and now works for Air Methods as a training captain and check airman. The current work schedule allows Mick to support USAFA Rugby as an assistant coach. He is grateful to again be part of the Zoomies.
Assistant Coach - Backs: Joe Dan Cox
Joe Dan Cox is a 1998 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Basic Sciences. He holds a Master of Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a Master of Military Science from the Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
Joe Dan joined Zoomie Rugby in 1995 after for the USAFA Soccer Program his freshman year. He played Fly-half, Fullback and Wing until 1997 when he lost his eligibility due to age (he spent two years at the University of Florida before USAFA). In 2014, Joe Dan was assigned to USAFA to teach in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at USAFA. He took the opportunity to return to Zoomie Rugby as the Officer-In-Charge of the men’s team. Now retired, he coaches the men’s team as an assistant coach with the backs while also coaching youth and high school rugby for the North Colorado Springs Falcons rugby team where his son, Caleb, plays.
Joe Dan earned his USAF pilot wings at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, in 2000. He stayed on at Columbus AFB as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP) teaching students to fly the T-1A in the 48th Flying Training Squadron. In 2003, Joe Dan and his wife, Kerri, moved to Travis AFB, California, where Joe Dan flew the KC-10A as the chief evaluator pilot in the 9th Air Refueling Squadron. Following the KC-10A assignment, Joe Dan and family moved to MacDill AFB, Florida where he flew the C-37 conducting DV transport. There, he was the chief evaluator pilot for the 310 Airlift Squadron and the 6th Operations Group. In 2010, Joe Dan and family moved to Maxwell AFB for a year for Air Command and Staff College followed by a tour in Ramstein AB, Germany where he was the commander of Air Operations Squadron DET1 overseeing all fighter deployments and redeployments in the European, African, and Southwest Asian theaters of operation as well as movements of allied and partner nation fighter aircraft. In 2014, he moved the family to Monument, Colorado where he taught at math USAFA before retiring in 2018.
Assistant Coach - Backs: Shaun Colin
Schaun Colin grew up in South Africa, a nation that has won the rugby world cup twice since 1995. His rugby playing career started at age 6 as a barefoot youngster and spanned 27 years. He attended the Northwest University, the Pukke, and during his time there played for Western Transvaal u/20. After transfering to Witwatersrand University, he played first team for Wits in the tough Pirates League in Johannesburg. After a season playing in the United Kingdom for Harrogate Rugby Club, he was recruited by Roodepoort Rugby Club to join their incredible squad during a period when they won the South Africa National Club Championships. Schaun then served in the South African National Defence Force for two years, earning the rank of 2nd lieutenant. He represented the SANDF on the rugby field in the Carlton League of Pretoria. Schaun then moved to the United States and resumed his rugby career over a period of many years representing the Western Rugby Union, and the USA Eagles national team in their bid to qualify for the 1995 world cup. He was also privileged to win the Aspen Rugger Fest with the Gentlemen of Aspen, and feature twice in the USA Final Four with the Kansas City Blues.
After retiring from the game, Schaun focused on his career serving children living in poverty. He has traveled to 35 nations in his capacity as a founder of a humanitarian organization and as a Global missions Pastor. From 2014 to 2018, Schaun and his wife served as missionaries to children living in a South African slum. During this time back in South Africa, Schaun eventually returned to the game of rugby, coaching at school and club level in KwaZulu Natal. He completed his World Rugby level 1 and level 2 certification.
In August of 2018 Schaun moved to Colorado Springs, and joined Compassion International, an organization serving over 2 million children living in poverty in 25 countries. Schaun is extremely excited to be part of the Air Force Academy coaching staff for the 2019 season and beyond.
Assistant Coach/Silver (B) Head Coach: Clarke Cayton
Clarke Cayton was a multi-sport athlete in High School receiving honors in football as a quarterback, linebacker, and kicker, he also lettered in Track & Field as a sprinter and triple jumper, played Basketball, Baseball, and won Bronze in the North American Strength Association Powerlifting Nationals. He attended Johnson University in Knoxville, TN where he shifted his focus to Emergency Medical work, working for Rural/Metro Ambulance Service and completing a cross-cultural collegiate internship in Ghana, West Africa traveling alone by dirt bike to various medical clinics in remote locations with no electricity or running water, providing a wide array of medical interventions.
After graduating with a degree in Intercultural Studies, Clarke continued his emergency services career by becoming a certified Field Traumatologist and Compassion Fatigue Educator, starting his own non-profit organization to support First Responders by providing critical incident stress management services and resiliency training. He also received certification as a Crisis Chaplain through the International Conference of Police Chaplains and Federation of Fire Chaplains and taught Stress Management and Dealing with Death courses at Missouri Southern State University Law Enforcement and Fire Service Academies.
In 2012, Clarke and his wife Carissa, a NICU Nurse, made the decision to start their family by becoming foster parents. They would eventually adopt 3 children and Clarke would become a certified trainer to equip other families in their foster and adoption journeys.
It was at this stage in life that Clarke began his rugby career. Already an "Old Boy", he joined up with the Springfield (MO) Rugby Football Club where he would play the next 4 years. He quickly became a club leader and was selected as Captain and served as Match Secretary. In 2014, Clarke suffered at catastrophic leg break, fracturing his Tibia & Fibula in a rugby match. He was determined to return to rugby and proceeded to develop his own rehabilitation regimen and during his recovery completed USA Rugby Level 200 Coaching certification. In just 6 months, Clarke was playing again and began serving as an Assistant Coach.
The rehab method developed by Clarke led to an opportunity to become published with an online series titled "When Rugby Breaks Your Stride" through Ruck Science, who has Clarke continued to write for in the areas of fitness and technical coaching.
Following Clarke's return to rugby, he has played for the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, Nashville Rugby Football Club, and the Dark n Stormy Misfits at Aspen Ruggerfest. In 2019, as an affiliate of Ruck Science, Clarke launched scrumEDGE, a platform to develop safe, powerful, and dominate scrummaging across all levels of USA rugby.
OIC: Dr. Glen Dudevoir
Glen Dudevoir is a 1978 graduate of the United States Military Academy (West Point) and was commissioned in the Army on June 7, 1978 as a Signal Corps officer. Following assignments at Fort Lewis, WA (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord), Wright-Patterson AFB, Heilbronn, Germany and Möhringen, Germany, he was selected for attendance at Stanford University. After graduation from Stanford, he taught at West Point for three years. Following West Point, he was assigned to Fort Richardson, AK (now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson) where he served at the Executive Officer of 6th Signal Battalion and the Deputy for Operations of the Arctic Support Brigade. After his assignments in Alaska, returned to West Point as a member of the long-term military faculty serving as the Director of the Electrical Engineering Program, and retiring in 2005, as a colonel.
Dr. Dudevoir is a USAFA Professor and the Director of the Electrical Engineering program. He teaches electrical and computer engineering, primarily electronics and signal processing. He has played, coached and officiated ice hockey for most of his life and took a position as a Rugby OIC upon the invitation of former Zoomie Rugby captain Elliott Higgins during the Spring Semester of 2018.
OIC: Major John Klapp
Ohio State, 2000
Major Klapp is a 2000 graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelors degree in electrical engineering. He started his Air Force career as an electronic warfare officer. After pilot training, he flew search and rescue in the HC-130P and after a staff tour in acquisitions, was selected to be a mathematics professor at USAFA, where he's enjoying his third year as a rugby OIC.