Major League Rugby’s Seattle Seawolves Tap Veteran Fullback, Mat Turner, for Player-Assistant Coaching Role


Tukwila, Washington (June 19, 2020) The Seattle Seawolves announced today the signing of Mat Turner as player-assistant coach for the 2021 Major League Rugby season.

Turner will be assisting head coach Kees Lensing with coaching duties including overseeing the backs while also continuing his role on the pitch as fullback, as the team looks to return to Championship form in 2021.

“We are excited to elevate Mat Turner to the role of player-assistant coach. Mat has been with the Seawolves from the very beginning and he brings significant rugby IQ and coaching experience, on and off the pitch. Most importantly, he understands our culture and what it takes to win MLR championships,” said Seawolves General Manager Adrian Balfour.

Mat Turner is a certified Level 2 World Rugby coach and was the head coach of the Sri Lanka National Rugby Sevens team in 2015, leading them to second overall in the Asia Nation 7s for the first-time ever.

“I’m extremely excited to get going in this new role and to be working with Kees to build another Championship caliber team” said Turner. “We are focused on further developing our players and continuing to build onto the foundation of success already established by our coaches and players.”

The team’s 2020 assistant coach and former Seawolves player, Phil Mack, will not be returning to the team’s coaching staff for the 2021 season. Mack was an instrumental part of the Seawolves Championship seasons, including his role as player-coach during the inaugural 2018 Major League Rugby season, which made him one of the few player-coaches in North American sports history to win a Championship.

"Phil has been a major contributor to our success to date and he will be missed by our entire organization. He is a fierce competitor, passionate teammate, and beloved friend to our rugby community. His tireless commitment has helped build the Seawolves into the world-class sports organization that we are today,” said Seawolves President and Owner Shane Skinner. “Phil leaves behind a legacy that no Seawolves fan will ever forget and we wish him the utmost success in his future. He is a true Champion on-and-off the field and we thank him for his contributions.”