Coach Spotlight: Mark Smerdon

September 25, 2020


Coach Spotlight: Mark Smerdon

September 25th, 2020

(Whitby, ON) -  National Coaches Week is an annual campaign lead by the Coaching Association of Canada. Coaches week is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by taking the time to recognize and thank them for all their efforts. Join in on the week by recognizing your favourite coach on social media using the hashtag #ThanksCoach. Tag Rugby Ontario in the post so we can recognize them as well!

In celebration of National Coaches Week, Rugby Ontario is profiling coaches from across the Ontario rugby community. Today’s profile is on Mark Smerdon. Mark is a coach with the the U18 Girls Ontario Jr. Blues and the Brock University Women’s team. He is also the Director of Rugby for the Mississauga Blues RFC. Read more about Mark’s story and stay tuned to Rugby Ontario’s social media channels for more National Coaches Week content

1. How did you first get involved with rugby? 

I began playing rugby at the School boy level in England a couple years before moving to Canada. 

2. What is your favourite rugby memory? 

Picking a favourite memory in rugby is always a tough one for me. A few of my favourites are, England winning the World Cup in 2003, the Streetsville Senior Boys winning OFSAA Gold in 2012 and Rugby Ontario U18 Boys winning Nationals. I also enjoy watching players I have coached represent Canada.

3. What do you love most about the sport? 

In short, the Culture of our sport! I have been on many tours as a player and a coach, there is nothing like it.

 4. What made you want to become a coach?

I wanted to become a coach because of the challenges it presents. I like developing athletes to be better players and people.

5. Growing up, who was your favourite coach and why?

I didn’t really have a favourite coach growing up, but I learned something from all of them. I would take characteristics of many coaches that fit who I thought I was or who I wanted to be.

6.  What challenges comes with being a coach? 

To be a good coach requires a lot of time and effort, so balancing coaching, family and work was probably the greatest challenge.

7. What is your favourite part about coaching

My favourite part about coaching is seeing a teams progress translate on the field. Seeing athletes and teams improve together and transfer what they have learned in training to games is rewarding for me. 

8. How have you grown during your time as a coach? 

When thinking about how I have grown, two things come to mind. First, over time I believe I have become a much more player centered coach and listen more to my players then I did earlier. Second, I am more open to feedback now and believe as a coach you can never stop learning. 

9. What would you say to someone who is considering getting into coaching?

I would say that the first thing to do is get a fellow coach to serve as a mentor. Second, enjoy the journey! Coaching is about the process, not the outcome. 

10. What are your goals as you move forward in your coaching career?

I am presently coaching Brock University Women and Rugby Ontario U18 Women sides. A goal of mine would be to coach at the National Level at some age grade.

Interested in becoming a certified coach? Visit our Becoming a Coach webpage for all coaching information. 

Visit the Rugby Ontario Coaching Corner page for coaching videos and other teaching materials.


The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

To learn more, visit


Dalton Finkbeiner

 Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario

    647-560-4790 x 1006