Shawn Pittman Named Coach of the Year

August 12, 2021

6:55 PM

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The final individual award of the MLR postseason awards sees Shawn Pittman recognized as the Coach of the Year thanks to his efforts at Zions Bank Stadium in 2021.

COACH OF THE YEAR: SHAWN PITTMAN, UTAH WARRIORS

It was in January that Shawn Pittman was appointed as Utah Warriors’ Interim Head Coach. Taking over from former Australia international Chris Latham, who left the team for personal reasons. Pittman has very much taken the opportunity presented to him with both hands, guiding Utah to a postseason encounter with the Giltinis at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Having joined the team in 2019 as forwards coach, Pittman also had prior experience as a coach with USA Rugby and the Seattle Seawolves in 2018.

Photo by Davey Wilson

Ably supported by Ben Nicholls and Shaun Davies, Pittman’s Utah scored 70 tries this season, second only to LA who scored 81, registering an average of 4.1 scores a game. The Warriors also ran for more meters than any other team in 2021, finishing with a total of 12,412 meters run.

Much of this try-scoring dominance came thanks to the team keeping the ball in play for an average of 34 minutes a game, the third-most behind Rugby ATL and Toronto Arrows.

At the set-piece, Utah boasted a lineout that had a 82.6% efficiency, while their scrum was the third most effective in the league, perhaps unsurprising when considering their Interim Head Coach is a former front-row himself.

 

Photo by Davey Wilson

Thanks to his team’s performances, Michael Baska, Calvin Whiting and Mika Kruse were able to win their first caps for the USA Eagles, while Paul Mullen and Mike Te’o added to their collection of caps. 

Te’o shone to such an extent that the 28-year-old has been voted as the Player of the Year. The full-back scored nine tries and carried for more meters than any other player in 2021 and on 173 occasions, equalling Manuel Diana’s efforts in 2021.

Making the playoffs for the first time since 2018, it is a season that will live long in the memory of those supporting Utah.

 

Earlier this week Major League Rugby released the All-MLR team selections, overall Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, Back of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.

 

Written by Joe Harvey | Photos by Davey Wilson

 

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