Ken stated playing rugby in Memphis in 1968 the first season the Wanderers was formed which was the first rugby club in Memphis. He was one of the original players of the sport and like many of the players at the time came from a football background. With that football experience, desire to find a similar sport to compete in after his high school and college days; he migrated like a lot of players to rugby. Fortunately for Ken there was a social aspect to the sport of rugby which also seemed to fit in well with Ken’s personality.
Ken was instrumental in the early days of rugby in Memphis in guiding the then Memphis Wanders Rugby Club through the early years of the sport when it seemed like it was organized chaos as times. He was a major factor in the transition of the original Memphis Wanderers, to the Memphis Bulls with the Club’s tie in to the old Schlitz brewery in town at the time to the Old No. 7 with the club’s tie in to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. When the Wanderers were first formed the closest clubs were in St. Louis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Louisville, Dallas and possibly Baton Rouge. So traveling was a requirement for anyone wishing to play the sport.
Ken was a player, administrator, selector, captain and coach over his time with the Club and was also active in the then Mid-South Rugby Union also as a select side player and coach. Whatever Ken did as a player and administrator it was at the highest level possible and with the overall good of his team and the sport as the driving factor for all of his decisions and efforts. Those efforts were memorialized with the naming of the Ken McBride Rugby Field at Tobey Park by the City and Memphis Park Commission.
Unfortunately Ken’s life and playing career was cut short by his untimely death in 1979 at a very young age. Ken is someone that has been missed over the years by all of us that knew him as a friend.