Westmont Magazine Learning to Expect Success
The coach of the UC Santa Barbara club rugby teams, Kevin Battle ’00 pushes players to perform. “Demanding more than they think they can give doesn’t always go over well,” he says. “But after they graduate, some of them come back and thank me.”
Pushing himself has helped Kevin achieve goals in the financial world as well as in rugby. He majored in economics and business at Westmont, and his two-year internship with Merrill Lynch led to a full-time job as a financial adviser.
“Once I got to Westmont, I had a new passion for learning,” he says. “I enjoyed my professors and the attention I got at a smaller college. The students were focused on education and expected to be successful. That was foreign to me —what I had as dreams, they had as expectations. I wasn’t the best student, and graduation was a huge accomplishment for me. When you are surrounded by people who think a certain way, you become a product of that environment. I never thought I could work at Merrill Lynch before I went to Westmont.”
Kevin is pursuing a new dream: coaching the U.S.rugby team. He’s taken the first step by joining the staff of the development team, the last stop before the national squad. His stellar record during the last three seasons at UCSB (31-6-1) with nationally ranked men’s teams has won him recognition. Playing for Westmont’s club team and touring in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia provided valuable experience that helped him land the job at UCSB, where he has coached for six years.
Fortunately, Kevin’s profession gives him a flexible schedule so he can coach. He brings his passion for sports into his work by making contacts in the rugby world. “Merrill Lynch gives me professionalism and organization, and rugby helps me with commitment, discipline, passion and fire,” he says. “They work together.”
What makes rugby so appealing? “It’s the ultimate team sport based on self-sacrifice,” he says. “The whole essence of the game is to commit as many defenders to yourself as possible so you can give the ball to a teammate who is free to score. You have to be tough, physical and quick — and willing to sacrifice your body for the team.”
Ultimately, Kevin enjoys working with the athletes. “My biggest challenge as a coach is developing responsible adults, not just players,” he says. “But it’s also the biggest reward as I watch them grow up.”