Kate Dunleavy (Benthien)

Katherine "Kate" Dunleavy (Benthien), '02

Katherine Dunleavy, affectionately known as "Big Kate," charged onto the Fairfield University Women's Rugby scene in the fall of 1998. A three-sport athlete in high school, Kate saw the rugby club as a perfect opportunity to continue her athletic pursuits in college.

Kate started her freshman year a flanker and immediately became a force to be reckoned with on the pitch. For the remaining three years of her career she played in the second row where she stood out for her strength and tenacity in scrums and at the breakdowns. Although the growing program suffered more losses than victories, Kate's presence helped send a message to many of the area teams that Fairfield Women's Rugby was on the rise.

She supported the team in her sophomore year as the club's Vice President and was selected as a Captain of the forwards in both her junior and senior years. Kate assumed the role of "coach" among the forwards for that two-year period, teaching technique, motivating and preparing young women early in their rugby careers to take the pitch against more skilled foes. By the end of her career, Fairfield Women's forwards knew how to scrummage, ruck and tackle, showing signs that the best was yet to come.

Kate's enthusiasm, support and leadership, both on and off the field, were instrumental in the progress of the Women's Rugby program in its early days.

Career highlights include:
  • Outstanding four-year career as the club's leading forward
  • Club Vice President - 2000
  • Forwards Captain - 2001, 2002
  • One of the great leaders of Fairfield Women's Rugby in its first 25 years.