Nashville Grizzlies RFC

Ben and Adam, a couple of bears from Dallas and San Diego, arrived in Nashville winter of 2005. Ben had played for the Dallas Diablos, RFC and his partner Adam began commuting from San Diego when Ben took a new job in Nashville. Doug and Chris noticed on a certain website that shall remain nameless [Bear411] that Ben had played rugby and wanted to start a club.

Ben, Doug, and Chris put together an organizational meeting and about fifteen guys came to learn more about the sport. On a cold Saturday in March, eight guys showed up for the first practice. After a few weeks of practice, word was getting around, more and more guys kept coming to see what this rugby was all about.

A group, a team, a brotherhood was formed, but one thing was missing… a name. Given the bearish way the founders met, the name Grizzlies moved to the top of the list. No Grizzly bears in Nashville, you say? It’s the spirit of the mascot that matters, right? Grizzlies just seemed to fit.

The Grizzlies began to recruit more and more, spreading the word at Nashville Pride led to a great number of new grizzlies. Little did we know that we lived in the same city as a rugby powerhouse – Coach Shannon, Warrior Princess. She immediately brought focus, discipline, and an emphasis on basic skills to the Grizzlies, all excellent traits needed by her new cubs.

With thirteen years of playing and six years of coaching experience, Shannon recognized the raw talent and untapped potential in the club. One night after practice, the Grizzlies all got down on one knee and asked Shannon to be our coach (really happened). Blushing a little, she accepted.

As the team began to improve it was time to test our skills. We showed up in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 7, 2006 in shiny new uniforms to take on the Charlotte Royals. A hard fought 37-14 loss, we made a good showing for our first time out and made Shannon proud.

The Nashville Grizzlies boasted a roster of 28 guys, an incredible feat for our first year, and continued to carve out a place for gay men interested in playing rugby in Nashville.

Since 2006, the Nashville Grizzlies have grown, improved, and been an organization dedicated to community, education, and brotherhood. In 2016, the Grizzlies hosted the premier tournament in IGR, Bingham Cup. Hosting teams from all over the world, the Grizzlies built a name for themselves as great members of the community and as ruby players by winning their division, claiming the Hoagland Shield.



PO Box 330568 Nashville, TN 37203







North America (South)


Jeff Enochs


Men’s Rugby Union


Bingham Cup, IGR North American Championship