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May 5, 2015

TARA May 2015 Newsletter

by Crying Gray Wolf

Michael Santee ’09, age 36 of Chandler, Arizona passed away on Thursday, April 2, 2015 unexpectedly from a stroke caused by an undiagnosed brain tumor. Michael is survived by his mother, Alice Santee and his father, Mark Santee and Stepmother, Betty Santee, his brother, Mark Santee Jr., and nieces: Amber Lee, Alisha, and Ashley, as well as his aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was a graduate of Arizona State University in economics, and a graduate of Thunderbird School of Global Management in Finance. He enjoyed playing football during his high school years at Brophy College Preparatory until he graduated in 1997. During his years at Thunderbird, he became a dedicated and passionate rugby player for the school’s club team and went on to join the Camelback Rugby Football Club. Michael was also a former firefighter of the 777 Handcrew out of Boulder City, NV – Lake Mead National Park. He spent his life being a ‘man for others’ through his commitment to family, friends and faith.

“Michael Santee was celebrated and memorialized at the Brophy chapel in Phoenix on Saturday, April 18th. Mike’s family was presented with a rugby ball signed by Mike’s teammates on the Thunderbird and Camelback rugby clubs. Brett Collins (’07), a Thunderbird rugger and Brophy classmate of Mike’s gave the eulogy. Brett is the man that convinced Mike to start playing rugby. Anyone that played with Mike remembers his passion for the game. Brett told a touching anecdote: Mike originally played at hooker, but his pace and tackling quickly moved him to the centers. Though Mike loved every position, he always preferred playing with the forwards because when playing with the forwards, he was thought of as a big guy. That story made everyone laugh, as Mike was the perfect hooker, when the props bound in and squeezed, Mike’s feet were probably off the ground. What he lacked in height he made up for with intensity.”

The outpouring of affection for Mike was representative of the bond ruggers develop. The chapel was packed with family, friends, and teammates. It is a tragedy we lost one of our brothers so soon.

TARA is working with the current team leadership on a memorial tile for Mike on the rugby shed. More details to follow.

RAW 2015 was another huge success. 60 Old Boys came to town, this time with a plan to win.

The weekend began as usual, on Thursday as the Old Boys drifted into town, golfing, hitting the spring baseball games, and ending up at the pub. Friday some more of the same, as well as a trip to the Ben Avery shooting range with range master Ed Decker. Friday wrapped up with the usual TARA Social, which included whiskey and cigar tasting, and speed networking between the students and Old Boys.

The game was spirited on both sides, but the Old Boys were dominant, finishing 64 to 12. Post-match, the revelry made its way to the fish to finish the afternoon. The banquet was equally successful, with $3,000 raised through donations and the rugby auction.

RAW 2016 will be the 40th anniversary of Thunderbird Rugby, with a huge turnout by the Founders. All classes stay tuned!

Mojito Tour II!

September 5-12, 2015 will see the Thunderbird Old Boys return Cuba for. 2-match goodwill tour. 4 days in Havana, seeing sites like the Buena Vista Social Club, a cigar factory, and a tour of Old Havana. 2 days at Varadero Beach to recuperate.

The Old Boys are seeking sponsorships to help defray the cost of tour gear and the give-aways we present to the opposing sides.

$2,000 corporate sponsorship puts your corporate logo on the front center chest of the tour jersey, as well as the back of the tour t-shirt. These jerseys and t-shirts will end up all over the U.S. And the world.

$1,000 corporate sponsorship will land the corporate logo on the back of the tour jersey, below the number, as well as the back of the tour t-shirt. These jerseys and t-shirts will end up all over the U.S. And the world.

$500 corporate sponsorship will place the corporate logo on the back of the tour t-shirt. These t-shirts will end up all over the U.S. And the world.

$100 ‘Injured Reserve’ sponsorship earns the sponsor the following:

Headshot in the tour program

1 tour t-shirt

1 tour beer opener

If you are interested in any of these levels, please contact me at:

For ‘Injured Reserve’ payment can be made via PayPal to: ‘’, ‘friends and family’. Please include your shipping address and shirt size.

Special Request:

Reach out to 2 of your old teammates, and ask them if they got this newsletter. If they did not, I don’t have a good email for them. Please collect it and forward it to me. I am missing about 250 out of the 1,000 total Old Boys and would like to get them back in the loop. We all know RAW is more fun when more Old Boys attend!


Chuck Hamilton ’91


Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association


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