2018 - Banquet and Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony
Traditions at the Glen
Binghamton Barbarians Hall of Fame
Class of 2018:
Doug Stento began his rugby career playing collegiate rugby at Cortland State. After finishing college, he was not quite
ready to hang up his boots, so in 1973 he decided to start his own rugby team. Doug gathered up a few of his former
Cortland teammates and recruited enough athletes from around the area to round out a starting fifteen. He named his
new rugby team the Binghamton Barbarians.
His fondest memory from the 12 years he played scrumhalf was the first time the newly formed Barbarians toppled the
perennial powerhouse, Syracuse. As is the case for many rugby players, Doug had his fair share of close calls over the
years, though perhaps none more surreal than the time he nearly drowned on the rugby pitch. During a rainy Can-Am
Rugby Tournament in Saranac Lake, Doug was tackled and landed face down in a mud puddle. Still holding the ball
when he landed, his arms became pinned under his body and the scrum formed right on top of him. Fortunately,
someone took notice and mid-ruck grabbed the back of his jersey and pulled him up just enough to get a breath of air.
While Doug Stento is credited with founding the Binghamton Barbarians, it was Bill Reifler who provided the financial
backing throughout the club’s early years. He made it his mission to see the club through its infancy and was always
looking out for “his boys.” Had it not been for the ongoing generosity of Bill Reifler, there is a very real chance the club
would not be around today.
Though Bill himself never actually played rugby, he was an integral part of the team. He not only built the Pine Lounge
into what would remain the official hangout of the Barbarians for more than 20 years, he was also a fixture on the
sidelines at games – both home and away! His favorite memory remains the road trip he financed in 1974 to the Gator
Tournament in Gainesville, FL. Bill and the boys showed up to the tournament underprepared to face the competition
due to the lack of early spring practices because of typical Binghamton weather. All things considered, the Barbarians
played pretty well, finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack. However, according to Bill, “We won the drinking
contest by far!”
Mark Grogan began his rugby career in 1974 playing for the University of South Carolina. One of his first away games
took place at the 1974 Gator Tournament at the University of Florida. Unaware that Binghamton even had a rugby club
at that time, you can imagine Mark’s surprise when he discovered the team playing on the next field over was none
other than the Binghamton Barbarians.
Mark first played for the Barbarians later that year when he returned home from school for summer break. He
eventually transferred to Cornell and played two more years of collegiate rugby. Upon graduating, Mark secured a job in
Binghamton and was able to join the Barbarians full time. A dominant fullback throughout his career, Mark continues to
play competitive rugby and helped secure a championship in the Over-60 Division at the 2017 Can-Am Rugby
tournament in Saranac Lake. Over the 44 years he has been playing rugby, he has too many great memories to single
any one out as his favorite. However, among everything he has seen and done, he is most proud of successfully
balancing his home life, career, and rugby.
Jerry Humphrey began playing rugby in 1985 when he joined the Binghamton Barbarians. It had taken three years of
relentless recruiting by Lynn Matthews to finally convince Jerry to play. Jerry went on to play 18 years of competitive
rugby, nine of them with the Barbarians. His fondest memory with the Barbarians was the match against Syracuse in
1986. Binghamton needed a victory to secure first place and advance to the East Coast Championship Tournament.
Jerry had lost a close friend a few days before but managed to score a try during the match en route to a crushing
victory over their biggest rival.
Jerry served as club president and in 1989 is credited with starting the annual summer tournament (now known as
Roadkill 7’s). After moving to Delaware, Jerry joined the Wilmington RFC, where he eventually became their
player/coach and president. He also served as president of the Delaware Rugby Foundation during which time he
helped start four high school rugby programs and was awarded the Delaware Rugby Foundation’s Man of the Year
Award (the equivalent of their Hall of Fame). Of all his notable achievements in the realm of rugby, Jerry is most proud
of being part of the inaugural class of the Binghamton Barbarians Hall of Fame.
Jim O’Brien began his rugby career playing with the Binghamton Barbarians in the summer of 1986. That fall, he joined
the rugby team at Clarkson University, and rugby quickly became his passion. While playing for Clarkson, his team
advanced to the ERU finals, losing a closely contested match against the University of Vermont, 0-3. To this day he
considers it one of his greatest achievements in rugby.
Though Jim first played with the Barbarians in 1986, it wasn’t until 1994 that he moved to Binghamton and joined the
club for good. Over the 22 years he has played for the Barbarians, Jim has played every position in an A-side game aside
from prop. The majority of his time however, was spent playing fly half or open side flanker. Jim has held various
leadership positions with the club over the years including captain and president. His fondest memory with the
Barbarians was the time they defeated the Genesee Creamers in Batavia despite having only 12 players.
Mark “HackO’Baz” Balin was one of the original 1973 Binghamton Barbarians. Hack had played college football at East
Stroudsburg State University, was a huge proponent of sports, and frequented the Pine Lounge. As the Barbarians
Rugby Club began to take shape, naturally, Hack was a perfect fit. Hack played with the Barbarians for many years and
was a solid contributor on the pitch, but he might best be remembered among ruggers for his feats and legendary
performances after the matches during the team vs. team drinking competitions.
Hack eventually purchased the Pine Lounge from Bill Reifler and he remained the sole proprietor of “The Pine” for over
40 years. The Barbarians continued to play their home games at Recreation Park through the 1980’s. After the
conclusion of a match the guys would often begin singing rugby songs. They would continue singing songs as they
walked a couple of blocks over to The Pine where Hack would always be eagerly waiting to see his “kids” and hear about
the match. Hack passed away on April 23, 2017 at the age of 70. He is being inducted into the Binghamton Barbarians
Hall of Fame posthumously.
The beautiful setting, Traditions at the glen
2017-2018 Officer Huddle