Ed Todd has earned the Denis Shanagher Award for distinguished service as an American rugby referee.
The honor is conferred based on individual merit, as determined by past recipients. Since Keith Seaber in 1992, just 10 have claimed the laurels.
The accolade underlines that in technical standards combined with advancement from the grassroots, so as to create an organic connection with American rugby, officiating is one of USARFU's stronger departments. Todd has been Boulder's director of referees since 2006.
The core problems of refereeing, however, are no longer simple proficiency and sufficient personnel. The union has struggled to produce more than a handful of officials seen as capable for international duty, partly because in 2009 the average age of an American referee was 41, according to its strategic plan.
Having played at USC, Todd was an 'A panel' referee who won international honors in handling a 1987 match between Northern California and Tunisia and a 1992 Pelicans game against Hong Kong. In 1996 he refereed a pair of women's tests involving France, New Zealand, and host Canada, and a year later had change of the South territory's contest against Wales.
Also in the 1990s, Todd chaired the Northern California referee society, during a time when it hosted a successful national conference and began inviting domestic colleagues to visit for observation and coaching. Additionally, the outstanding Pelican's Beak newsletter became the de facto national standard.
Todd went on to contribute heavily to the national Referee and Laws committee, before becoming the union's first referee manager.
Dennis Shanaher Award recipients
Keith Seaber (1992), Ian Nixon (1994), John Mellish (1996), Bryan Porter (1998), Don Morrison (2000), Jim Russell (2002), Don Reordan (2004), Donal Walsh (2009), Peter Watson (2009), Ed Todd (2013)
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