Dave Ulch adds coaching to his role
David Ulch is adding coaching to his responsibilities as he becomes player/coach of the Tampa Mayhem in the South Conference.
Like all of his teammates who competed at the RLWC, he plans to pass on the knowledge and experiences he picked up from the tournament, which he says apart from the birth of his daughter was one of the best experiences he has ever had.
“To be able to represent my country on the world stage was an incredible honor,” said Ulch. “Being able to play with and against some of the best in the world along with experiencing the fandom that Australians and Papua New Guineans have for the sport of rugby league was absolutely incredible. Something I'll never forget till the day I die.”
Ulch says it's difficult to single out a particular moment or time that stood out more than others during the month in Australia and Papua New Guinea because of how great the whole experience was.
“It was incredible to work and learn from a knowledgeable coaching and player staff, play in front of some incredible crowds, form friendships, and just being able to take it all in,” he added.
Still jazzed from the World Cup, Ulch is chomping at the bit to get on the field in his new role with the Mayhem.
And he says his to-do list is quite lengthy.
“We're going to take it one step at a time to develop and learn needed skills in order to provide a competitive side that can compete for the national championship.
“There's a lot of learning to be had for all of us, but we're determined to acquire as much as we can and effectively apply it on the field.
“Our expectations are always to progress through our playoff system and compete for the national championship. As a coach, my goal is to try and get as many of our players considered to be selected for the USA Hawks and get them international experience. “Personally, I'd like to develop and learn throughout this season to become a better coach.”
While coaching rugby league may be a new challenge for Ulch, he has plenty of coaching pedigree under his belt having coached middle school wrestling when he was a teenager.
He says he has always been a sports enthusiast and has always felt at home coaching. Currently he coaches cross country, soccer, and lacrosse at the high school where he is a teacher.
One of his long-term goals as a coach is to introduce men to rugby league and see them develop into players that get selected by the USA Hawks, or who get the opportunity to play overseas.
“That's a huge goal of mine to see others succeed in the sport we love,” continued Ulch. “A long-term goal I have for the team is to be challenging for the national championship every year. Last year, we lost to Atlanta in a hard-fought game in the semifinals.”
“That's the closest we've ever gotten to a national championship. Once you go that far, you want to keep going back and getting more and beyond.”
As the new coach says the Mayhem aim to be one of the teams to watch in the South Conference in 2018 and their season gets underway in early June.