Obituary: John Roxburgh

Obituary: John Roxburgh

Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death earlier today of one of the pioneers of the coaching structure in Scotland, John Roxburgh. He was 84.

John Hampton Roxburgh, a stand-off at Jordanhill College in his playing days, was appointed Scottish Rugby’s first Technical Director for Coaching in the 1975-76 season.

In addition to also playing for Glasgow District, Roxburgh went on to coach Glasgow too.  Former Scotland coach Richie Dixon, who came under his wing at Jordanhill and with the district, said: “John was an inspirational player. He was particularly good at bringing young people into the team.

“He was very welcoming, and, without a doubt, he was a very conscientious rugby man who brought a deep knowledge to his work and passion.”

Roxburgh was instrumental in sustaining and nurturing the game and its coaches at a time when extra-curricular rugby, particularly in state schools, was under threat.

“His role probably never got the recognition it deserved,” said his former colleague, Dougie Arneil. “He was hugely committed to the cause and his own knowledge of rugby was very under-rated.

“He had the ability to bring coaches of the calibre of Bill Dickinson, Ian Cosgrove, Jim Telfer and Richie Dixon into a proper structure.  He co-ordinated the whole thing.”

At the same time, Roxburgh, also brought a standard to coaching, implementing the Level 1,2 and 3 coaching courses.

“To some he might have come over as pretty gruff, but he was a deeply caring human being and was determined to achieve the best for Scotland, ”added Arneil.

When he finished his role at Scottish Rugby, Roxburgh served as Director of Rugby at Glasgow Hawks from 2000-2007, winning the league in three seasons and the Cup once. He continued to devote time and energy to the game throughout his life.

Tribute will be paid to John Roxburgh when Scottish Rugby’s development officers gather on Thursday for a conference.

Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to his family and friends.  Details of his funeral will be posted on our website in due course.


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