Rugby player looks to become entrepreneur

Adam Regini

Adam Regini

Zane Miller and Zane Miller

Junior lock Allen Viancourt helped the Falcon men’s rugby team to their 37th straight MAC championship earlier this school year, but is also focused on becoming an entrepreneur to help the team to a 38th in 2018.

Viancourt joined the University’s entrepreneurship program, The Hatch, last year to develop a product that he believes would be incredibly useful for any sport playing on a grass or turf field, particularly for rugby.

“My brother and I were home on break and we were talking about how nice it would be to have a rugby field that would change lines,” Viancourt said. “Often times, if we play on a football field, we have to use these really obscure lines, so it would be nice if we could change lines digitally.”

However, through working with The Hatch, he was able to redevelop the idea into something that could be used specifically for game planning, now known as Tech Turf.

“It’s now a digital projection system for turf fields,” Viancourt said. “A coach would have their iPad in a facility like the Perry Field House and dim the lights. The X’s and O’s would be projected onto the field, so that the players would be able to walk through the X’s and O’s and things like that.”

Viancourt also states that although the new technology is still in a development phase, he hopes that it will eventually catch on and be used by rugby teams across the world that don’t have a practice field specialized for playing.

He also said that The Hatch was very helpful in working out development issues, as well as working on some new ways to attract coaches and teams towards buying into it.

“Throughout The Hatch process we looked at what could be marketable,” Viancourt said. “What technology was available for us and we ended up morphing it into what it is now.”

However, he also says that balancing being a part of The Hatch, as well as being a rugby player and a college student was difficult, but it also could have been a lot more challenging and mentally taxing.

“That was my freshman year, second semester, but thank God it was only a semester,” Viancourt said with a chuckle. “I was taking 12 credit hours and then doing rugby on top of that. Fortunately, our main season’s in the fall and we were playing a little bit of rugby in the spring, but our 15’s season is in the fall, so I really dodged a bullet there.”

As a rugby player, Viancourt said he started playing at a younger age than most of the other players in his school, however, he had to be a bit sneaky to pull it off.

“I was in eighth grade and my brother played,” Viancourt said. “He was about four years older than I was, he was in senior high school at the time and we were playing at the high school club level. I ended up joining the team kind of undercover because I was in eighth grade, but I was the same size I am now, so I was a part of that and then I just kind of kept playing through high school, my brother came to Bowling Green to play rugby here and by the time I was in senior high school, I decided to come in here and play rugby as well.”

In addition to rugby, Viancourt also played more traditional sports as a high school athlete, but claims that he tried to follow in his brother’s footsteps as far as his athletic career.

“My brother and I were wrestlers and football players in high school,” Viancourt said. “My brother started playing rugby from an early age when someone on his wrestling team suggested it and I followed suit.”

Viancourt also says that his favorite part of playing with the rugby team has been being able to travel and play overseas.

“Going to England my sophomore year, it was really cool to play different teams there. The English are less physical but they’re much more skilled and to play against them at a high level, it was an honor to do that and to kind of hang out with them and see that they have the same positions that we have and that they have the same camaraderie.”

He also says that being a part of the relatively small community of rugby players throughout the world is another reason why he enjoys being a part of the program.

“The community of rugby is such a small community that you can go around the world and say you’re a rugby player and you have a friend automatically, so it’s kind of an unspoken (understanding) that you’ve been through the same things I’ve been through since we play the same sport.”

After completing college, Viancourt plans on looking for career opportunities in the sales business and is even going to be taking a the upcoming semester off of school to pursue those opportunities.

“I’ll be coming back and graduating in the spring of 2019, but the goal right now is to find an industry that I can work in where I can learn more about sales roles.”