Don Burgess’ lifetime career in rugby on Vancouver Island showcased his skills as a stunning player and brilliant coach. His rugby magic brought success to the teams he played with or coached, and earned him headlines in the British press, such as “Burgess Superb” and “Brilliant Burgess.”

Primarily a fullback, Burgess also played scrum half, standoff and centre. His elusive side-stepping of opponents, pinpoint accuracy as a placekicker and thumping tackles were both renowned and envied.

Burgess was an active player with the Oak Bay Wanderers when he took on the role of club coach and served his team for 21 seasons. He was also a high school coach for 35 years. At the representative level, Burgess with his coaching partner Paul Horne, won 11 Canadian Junior Championships, and led the Canadian Under-21 team to three North American Under-21 titles. Burgess was also honoured as Canada’s first National Coaching Organizer, and was instrumental in establishing the National Coaching Certification Program.

In recognition of his long service to the game, Burgess was awarded one of the most prestigious awards given by the BC Rugby Union, the 1996 Jack Patterson Memorial Award for his more than 45 years of service to the game. Upon his retirement from teaching, he was similarly given a special award from the BC High Schools Rugby Union for his outstanding contribution to high school rugby.

In recent years, Burgess has coached his old high school team, Parkland located in Sidney. In addition, he has served as an assistant coach for the Canada Under-23 team, the Pacific Pride based in Victoria.

Burgess achieved international acclaim as the inventor of the Tetley Kicking Tee, an innovation used by teams worldwide. Having authored many coaching articles and currently completing his book One Hundred and Twenty-Five Years of Rugby on Vancouver Island, Burgess’s body of work is a testament to his lifelong dedication to the game.