This is Coach Palena’s third year on Rowan’s 7s coaching staff. He helped develop a forward pack that led the team to the Division II National Championships in 2015, where they won the Bowl Championship.
Prior to Rowan, Coach Palena coached 7s with South Jersey RFC. He was also the head 15s coach at the University of Pennsylvania from 2001-04. Under his guidance, they won the EPRU title in 2003.
Coach Palena also brings a wealth of playing experience at the highest levels of 7s Rugby. He started playing rugby as an 18 year old at Loyola College of Maryland for Mike Flanagan (Navy Head coach) where he played for 1 year. He finished his College Career at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He attained honors with the Potomac Rugby Union U-19, Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union and Eastern Rugby Union Collegiate Select Sides.
After graduating, he continued playing for South Jersey Men’s Club Captaining the side for one year. At South Jersey he played with Rowan 7s Head Coach, Tim Smith. He attained honors with the EPRU U-25 and ERU U-25 select sides.
He then moved to Philadelphia Whitemarsh RFC while they were a member of the US Super League. He was honored with selection to the MARFU select side. While at PWRFC he began focusing on 7’s under Rugby Hall of Fame Player and Coach Emil Signes. He represented PWRFC in two national campaigns, being part of the 1999 National Championship Squad. In 2000, he became Player #497 for the Invitational Side Atlantis at the Benidorm 7’s in Spain.