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10 Qs with rugby coach Matt Hawkins

“I was born in South Africa and was first introduced to the U.S. on a trip I took with my family after I had toured the UK on a rugby tour in 1995. We spent two incredible weeks in San Diego, primarily in the North County Coastal area. I fell in love with the area, and I told my folks that I was going to come back here and live one day.

“I have been a sports fanatic since the time I was born and primarily focused on two sports once reaching high school — water polo and rugby.

Matt Hawkins

“I eventually found my way back to the U.S. and North County San Diego in 2003. It has been my home ever since. I purchased my first house in Encinitas back in 2006. I am one of the few people to have played, captained and coached our National Olympic Rugby team.

“I was involved with the National team over a decade and loved every minute of it. At this point, I have turned my attention to the pathway that develops players to the National team and will hopefully one day turn my attention back to the National team.”

1: What brought you to Encinitas?

I have traveled the world yearly from Dubai to Hong Kong to Fiji to Japan, and there is no place in the world like North County San Diego. It’s a place of passion, creativity and living in its purest form. The ocean is a massive part of that.

2: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

A large sport complex and stadium in place of the old City waste site off of Encinitas Boulevard.

3: Who or what inspires you?

Living life and learning from it, and always knowing that most people want to engage and collaborate. A saying I live by is, “There is a great difference in knowing a thing and understanding it.” That drive to be better and learn more each and every day is what inspires me.

4: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

Nelson Mandela, Bill Belichick, John Wooden, Sir Graham Henry, Kelly Slater, Michael Schumacher — if I added anymore it would turn into a brunch the next day. Just so much to absorb from this group.

5: What are your favorite movies?

I love action and thought-provoking movies — just something I can get lost in for an hour or so. Nothing comes to mind right off the bat, but I spent a lot of time shuffling through the movies they provide on international flights.

6: What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do, and what’s the most rewarding?

Each and every day waking up and knowing that I have and influence over the groups I work with, but there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the work you do come through in success for those that you work with.

7: What do you do for fun?

My family is the best thing in the world and just really hanging out with them in any kind of environment.

8: What is it that you most dislike?

Not having all the information to make decisions that affect others.

9: What do you hope to accomplish next?

To find true balance between my two loves in life: my family and my work.

10: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

“Our greatest victory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall.”

10 Questions is an Encinitas Advocate feature spotlighting interesting people in the community.


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