Successful sports teams and a lively nightlife are often the foundation of college recreation and Geneseo alumnus Colin Partridge is at the center of it all.
Partridge received his bachelor's degree in English from Geneseo in 1984, and returned to earn a master's degree in secondary education in 1990. He coaches the Division I women's rugby team and is a bouncer and part-time disc jockey at the infamous Inn Between bar. With a home right in the village, he never skips a beat.
Partridge studied at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and Erie Community College before he was convinced to transfer to Geneseo by a friend as a junior in 1983. He decided to stay for an English program that he said "turned out to be one of the best."
Partridge was introduced to the rugby team after returning to Geneseo in 1989 to pursue his graduate degree, and was hailed in by a friend who was astounded by Partridge's understanding of rugby's rules. "Rugby was in my blood," said Partridge, who spent much of his childhood in London playing at the Dwight School. He said that the team he adopted two decades ago was nothing compared to today's squad, and joked that back then, they prided themselves on being a "a drinking team that had a rugby problem."
After graduation, Partridge moved to New York City to pursue a career in advertising. He acquired a position at Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest international ad agencies, but he said his heart wasn't in it. It didn't take long for Geneseo's gravitational pull to yank him back where he truly belonged.
Partridge said that he was playing for the Rochester Colonials rugby football team when his alma mater came back into his life in 1993. He recalled that some women playing rugby for Geneseo approached him and "asked [him] to show them some drills." The rest, as they say, is history.
When talking about the game, animation and enthusiasm illuminate Partridge's face and the root of his motto - "Let's just have fun with it" - becomes instantly clear. Partridge said that for him, coaching is "a chance to still be part of a team … I like teaching, seeing the light turn on in their eyes when they get it …emotions are what make the game."
Partridge said that he prefers to coach the women's team. "Guys are much more individualistic and just want to hit people, [while] girls actually want to learn the game," he said. He noted that it is unfortunate how "women's [rugby] always takes second place. It's all about the guys. It's a guy sport … They're wrong of course," he added, joking that teaching would-be "girly-girls to hit people" is very rewarding experience.
Partridge has done a lot of work to bring the women's team to the skill level they currently boast; the women clinched a Division III state victory in 1996 and Division II titles in 2004 and 2009. He said he credits it all to a love for the game and a desire to "forge sportsmanship and camaraderie" in an otherwise violent, high-contact sport.
These days, you can find Partridge disc jockeying at the IB on Friday nights, bouncing on Saturdays, playing in an Old Boys game with the Colonials or whipping the rugby women into shape out on Onondaga Field. Either way, it's rare to find a man who can tackle a guy twice his size, spin mad beats on original vinyl and quote Ezra Pound to boot.