Devin O’Brien is a New York City native who found rugby for the first time as a student at Colby College in Maine. After graduating college, Devin joined the movement to fight educational inequity with Teach for America. Upon arriving in Memphis in 2012, Devin joined forces with Shane Young (also a new member of Teach for America) and they formed MICR’s first team at Kingsbury High School where Devin was a psychology/ESL teacher. As MICR’s co-founder & Chief Programming Officer, Devin fuses his creative talents with his passion for social justice to guide his vision and leadership for our student-athletes.
Shane Young is a New Jersey native who began playing rugby at the age of 11. Continuing throughout high school, Shane’s rugby career came to an apex in 2009 when he was selected for the USA u-19 Eagles; travelling and competing in Europe. Attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University, Shane studied political science while playing men’s rugby. After graduating in 2012, Shane was sent to Memphis by Teach for America who placed him as a 3rd grade ESL teacher. Shane co-founded MICR with Devin O’Brien and became head coach of the organization’s most decorated team, Power Center Academy.
Bradley Trotter is a Chicago Native who played rugby for the first time as a music & mathematics major at University of Chicago. Brad taught math in Gary, Indiana with Teach for America before moving to Memphis and joining MICR in its first year of operation. Brad blazed his own trail into MICR’s leadership; starting as a coach with Power Center Academy in 2012, forming his own team at Soulsville High School in 2013, and becoming our Executive Director in 2015. His service to the city of Memphis is profound, as he also became the Dean of Curriculum & Instruction at Soulsville Middle School. Brad’s educational leadership, athletic background, connection with youth, and sound decision making have caused him to become one of MICR’s most irreplaceable elements.
Sanam Cotton is MICR’s newest head coach and executive team member. An Illinois native, Sanam attended University of Illinois where she was the captain and president of her rugby team. She was accepted to Teach for America in 2015 when she moved to Memphis and became a 3rd grade teacher. Without hesitation, Sanam sought to become involved with MICR and coached as an assistant with our Soulsville boys’ team for her first semester before starting the first-ever girls team at Soulsville. As a head coach, Sanam has inspired a team of girls to learn rugby and excel at it. She has impacted their character development, academic growth, and even has one of her players already earning a scholarship to attend a summer camp at Life University- where she will likely attend after graduating. Because of her fearless direction and the way she has seamlessly become a part of Memphis’ educational leadership- our executive team is lucky to have her.
Andres Lopez is from Ashville, North Carolina. Andres found rugby at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After graduating in 2012, Teach for America brought Andres to Memphis where he became a middle school teacher at Freedom Preparatory Academy. Instantly, he made an impact in the classroom (evidenced by becoming a 2014 ‘Teacher of the Year’ Finalist in Tennessee). After getting his classroom to the Lopez standard of excellence- he introduced his students to Freedom Prep. Those middle school students who started with coach Lopez are now entering their junior and senior years of high school. While studying in medical school, Andres has led a charge to expand opportunity for his rugby team beyond sport- ACT tutoring, Yoga, weight lifting, and traveling rugby camps- Andres has been a pioneer of giving athletes the well-rounded experience they deserve, while expecting excellence from them. His passion for his kids, and knowledge of MICR’s processes, challenges, and goals makes him a perfect fit for our leadership team.