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Remembering a hero

Rugby team honors soldier’s memory in Scott Milley Memorial Tournament

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, April 2, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

Scott Milley


On Saturday, approximately 400 people were in attendance at the University of New Hampshire’s student recreation fields for UNH’s annual rugby 7’s tournament. There was rugby, food, music and a great atmosphere. At around noon, however, all the festivities stopped and everyone gathered around Steve Milley, who was standing by a memorial stone bench sitting on the hill overlooking the student recreation fields. 

The bench is there in honor of Scott Milley, Steve Milley’s late son, a 2009 UNH graduate who lost his life in combat in Afghanistan on Nov. 30, 2010. Scott was a lieutenant with the Army’s 10th Mountain Ranger Division, but before that he was a standout executive officer in the UNH ROTC program and a proud member of the UNH rugby team. 

“He just touched so many people,” junior rugby player Brendan Wile said. “He was a funny guy. He was that guy who would do anything for you.”

“Everybody liked Scott,” UNH head coach Jon Godsman said. “He was one of those guys that always smiled and lit the room up. He was a pretty impressive human being. He was always nice to everybody, never got mad at anybody.”

“Early on we recognized Scott as a leader,” Steve Milley said. “Upon embarking here at UNH, he stepped right up with the ROTC program and the rugby team. Both of them are very dear to our family.”

The origin of UNH’s 7’s tournament goes back several years to when it was played in a barn lined with mattresses. A few years ago the tournament moved outside. Last year, the tournament was named dedicated to Scott. 

“We started this tournament in his honor to remember who he was, remember what he loved and what he did,” men’s rugby team captain Roland Lacroix said. 

“When we lost Scott we decided to dedicate this tournament in his honor,” said Dana Etherington, a former rugby teammate of Scott’s and a UNH alum who captains the Showponies, a club team of former UNH rugby players. “We get to play rugby, which we love, and we get to honor Scott.”

“To pull into the parking lot this morning, see this new clubhouse here, and my son’s bench overlooking the pitch, I wonder what will happen in the future with this thing,” Steve Milley said.

The tournament was snowed out last year when UNH woke up to four inches of snow on April Fools’ Day. This year, however, the weather cooperated, and there were many more schools participating.  

“I hope it becomes a standard,” Wile said. “I hope everyone stays around and remembers what it’s about. Rugby is an amazing sport and I think we should keep the sport to honor Scott and his family.”

“In everything we do [for Scott] is good, but it’s bittersweet,” Steve Milley said. “Having the rugby tournament is good and fun, but I’d love to be watching him play. I’m sure the current captains will pass on the torch to the next captains, and the Milley family will be there until we can’t anymore.”

Perhaps Milley’s former head coach, Godsman, summed up who Scott was and what he meant to all of the people at the campus recreation fields on Saturday. 

“He was a player with the courage of a tiger,” Godsman said. “He was awesome. He was a fun guy. He’ll be missed greatly.”

If you would like to learn more about Scott or donate to the charity setup in his name for wounded vets, please visit 

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