By Becky Walz,
The Quad City Irish Rugby Club announced that former Luther College Rugby team captain Dan Kilen of Eldridge has received notification of his induction into the Iowa Rugby Union Hall of Fame.
Dan grew up on a family farm near Lake Mills, graduating from Lake Mills High School in 1976. He attended Luther College in Decorah, intending to play football for the Norse. He ultimately chose to play Rugby at Luther, became captain of the Luther College rugby football club, and led them to a second-place finish at the 1980 All-Iowa Rugby Tournament, where they lost 24-22 in the finals to a powerful Palmer College squad laden with international players. Dan helped to put Luther College Rugby on the map, as from that point forward the Luther Norse received more requests to play in higher-level collegiate and club-level tournaments and fixtures.
Upon graduation from Luther College, Dan moved to the Quad Cities and starred for the Quad City Irish throughout the 1980s, a period in which the Irish became the dominant team in the Iowa Rugby Union and competed with top-flight clubs throughout the Midwest and the U.S. Dan excelled as an outside center in both 15’s and 7’s Rugby and was a leader on the Irish squad that won the National Club 7’s Championship in 1986. Dan was a fixture on the Iowa Select Side and Midwest Select Side squads and was selected to play for the U.S. Eagles national team. Dan played internationally several times, both in 15s and 7s, before retiring from the game in 1989.
Dan possessed outstanding speed for his size. On top of his innate talent and devotion to fitness he became a true student of the game, inspiring others at Luther, in the Quad Cities, and wherever he competed to learn to play the game at a high level. Teammates and opponents alike admired Dan as a gentleman on and off the field.
Dan and his wife Kathy, a 1982 Luther College graduate, raised four daughters in Eldridge, all of whom graduated from North Scott High School.
The Quad City Irish begin practice for their 2021 schedule on Thursday, April 1, at Centennial Park, 315 S Marquette St., Davenport, IA 52802. The Irish practice twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. Please find the Quad City Irish Rugby Club on Facebook for more information.