Northeast Academy Women’s Coach Koma Gandy Fischbein will hold the position of head coach for the All Navy Men’s 7s squad beginning with the 2017 season.
“The Navy program is near and dear to my heart; most of you know I’m a Navy veteran, but I’ve been involved unofficially with the Navy program off and on for the last 17,” she said. “I was brought on as an assistant coach last year, and when the former coach announced that he was no longer going to coach the program, I decided to go for it.”
NERFU Academy Director John McGeachy had nothing but praise for the appointed coach. “The Northeast Academy are absolutely thrilled for Koma and this fantastic, deserved opportunity. The Navy couldn’t have found a more qualified, driven and determined new Head Coach. We are committed to helping Koma in any way that we can, and we wish her the very best of luck for the 2017 season.”
Originally a member of varsity women’s soccer program, Gandy Fischbein became a rugby player in her junior year at Harvard University. Her tenure with the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club—now Harvard Varsity Women’s Rugby—was merely the start of an ongoing rugby career.
“I’ve never really not been involved with rugby,” she said. Since graduation, Gandy Fischbein played with clubs including Beantown RFC, San Diego Surfers, Washington DC Furies and New York Rugby Club. On a select/elite level, she played with the Combined Services 7s, Southern California Griffins 7s/15s, Mid Atlantic 7s, Atlantis VIIs and USWNT Player Pool 2003-2005. She has also served as the co-chair of Friends of Harvard Women’s Rugby.
Gandy Fischbein was part of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at Harvard University, where she was commissioned as an officer in February 1996. She served as a Surface Warfare Officer, ultimately leaving active duty to join the reserves in 2000. By 2003, the veteran was recalled to active duty and deployed during the Iraq War. Following this tour, she transitioned back into the reserves and remained in the reserve component until 2014.
Most recently, Gandy Fischbein’s rugby life has transitioned into a coaching role. Her coaching resume includes multiple notable programs: Columbia University (Assistant Coach); Combined Services (Assistant Coach); NYRC (Head Coach 7s, Assistant Coach 15s); All Navy Men’s (Assistant Coach); Armed Forces Women’s 7s (Assistant Coach under the acclaimed Andrew Locke, USWNT/Olympic Assistant Women’s Coach). Academy co-founder and former director Sean Horan invited Gandy Fischbein to join the women’s coaching staff in its inaugural season, fall 2015
As a coach, Gandy Fischbein has trained and inspired countless young women. She has played a significant role in supporting women’s rugby in the military community, so much so that it has gained official recognition and funding and developed an immediate player pool of high level athletes. Her NYRC program qualified for Nationals two-out-of-three years, with a top-10 finish, while maintaining a strong and positive team culture. At the Academy, Gandy Fischbein uses both her perspective and her passion for the sport to positively interact with the athletes and to support them on and off the pitch.
What are the coach’s keys to success? In short: “I have walked in their boots.”
The Northeast Academy is a National Development Academy sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection for both Men and Women in the Northeast of America. With training locations in New York City, Boston and Buffalo, the Academy offers development in three distinct areas: elite player advancement; coach education; and local union enrichment; and has the ultimate goal to augment the skills of players and coaches alike, growing the game within the EMPIRE and NERFU Unions.