The Village Lions Rugby Football Club is thrilled to announce that Kimani Davis has been appointed a member of its Board of Directors. 

The Board of Directors is the ultimate authority for the Village Lions, setting the strategic direction and overseeing its operations. 

The role is a three year appointment and Kimo joins Meg Collins, John Greally, and Christian Avrerill as full Directors as well as JP Lindsey and Ryan Tumelty who serve on the Board of Directors as part of their duties as club President and Treasurer, respectively. 

“Kimani Davis has been a dedicated club member and asset to the Village Lions both on and off the field for decades,” stated Lions’ Director Meg Collins. “He has been an outstanding ally of the women’s programs and I am thrilled that Kimani will be joining the administrative ranks of the club. He is motivated, enthusiastic about the future of rugby and has a vision that starts with NYC’s youth; a matter that is near and dear to his heart. As a fellow native New Yorker, he knows how important youth programs are to our city’s communities.”

“At a transitional time for the club, we need his vision, his commitment to developing youth in mind and body, and his talent for fostering culture.”

Christian Averill

“Kimo has grown up as a Lion and has become a community builder and mentor along the way,” shared Lion’s Board of Directors chairperson, Averill. “At a transitional time for the club, we need his vision, his commitment to developing youth in mind and body, and his talent for fostering culture.”

Kimo Has Been Appointed to the Village Lions Board of Directors
RaRa with Kimo

Village Lions club President JP Lindey offered, “Kimo has been an undeniable rugby force in the Northeast. He has tremendous ideas about how to shape and mold the future of rugby into a growing, sustainable, and inclusive sport. After all that he has accomplished with MADE, ROOTs, and his connections with RUNY, I can’t wait for him to bring all those efforts home to the Lions.”

“I’ve known and coached Kimo for years,” stated Director of Rugby John Greally. “He’s an educator, a visionary and a Lion through and through. Having him take on a position of leadership in our diverse and welcoming club is another excellent step as we build for the future.”

Kimani Tahir Davis was born and raised in Harlem NY. He attended the fabled Rice High School, fabled as a school for elite basketball players, and went on to Bard College where he picked up rugby. He’s played second row and center for the Lions since joining in 1999, but has had stints with the Albany Knicks early on before relocating back to NYC and rejoining his home club. 

Kimo Has Been Appointed to the Village Lions Board of Directors
M.A.D.E. Session Post Workout Mugging for the Camera

His day job is serving as Dean of Culture for School in the Square in Washington Heights, but Kimo is the founder and driving force behind M.A.D.E.  – a mind, body, and community movement – and co-founder of ROOTS – the afro-centric invitational rugby side that has taken the rugby world by storm these last few years. 

We sat down with Kimo to discuss his appointment.

Congrats on your appointment to the Lion’s Board of Directors. This is the highest authority in the club, what do you think you bring to the table? 

Thank you for congrats, but thank you Lions for thinking of me for the position. Often when people hear someone say “I think I bring perspective”, they view that as an assertion of superiority. I mean it as a blessing for being able to have played for so long to witness and be a part of the various changes in rugby. Also, to have played with and against some of the best people the sport has to offer touching three decades. 

You’ve been a Lion going back to 1999. What do you think we can draw from in our history to get the club back on track?  

To get back on track in understanding that when the culture is strong, the wins will follow. Wins meaning long term, not just playoff, and championship. Just bringing back the idea that the whole Saturday felt like a win. Sundays feel like a win going to practice feel like a win. Fundraisers feel like a win. Everyone dresses as team warm-up as a team and when the club culture is strong it doesn’t matter how good you are as a player. When I first joined the Lions they felt like a community and being a black man playing rugby I have felt welcomed from day one and we were the most diverse team in the city. I am not going to say there haven’t been bumps and haven’t had to explain some things to teammates at times, but the Lions always provided the “Brave Space”, for conversations. 

To establish a culture of good rugby played by the best people being their best selves and knowing that whether you are on and off the pitch the people you are with will be around as a community. 

What aspects of the club do you see yourself focusing on as a Director? 

The proper introduction and growth of rugby in the region as a whole, at the same time, make sure rugby becomes more organic to the communities we have been attempting to introduce the sport.  Especially now coming out of these times. Take a step back and stop saying what rugby brings to people, but rather what are the inherent values and passions we have as individuals and how that can help rugby become a staple in the New York community. I see us adding a youth component to the club. It is imperative that the club models the culture we want the youth to embrace. So, building on a club that had a strong culture and tradition, working with a strong group to evolve the club. 

What external resources and programs do you see integrating with the club and how should they help? 

Well, being a co-founder of ROOTS Rugby family, and MADE see the integration of self-accountability. We should reach out to some of the best local young minds in the rugby community that are untapped. Future coaches, players, trainers and helping them to establish roots.  I have always been an agent for advocacy for people who play the sport. 

In the process of making sure the Lions have an impact on the sport of rugby. I will be diligent to ensure the club does right by its members.  I see being an African American New Yorker as a step towards establishing programs and a framework that will allow communities to embrace the sport because we will take the time to understand the communities taking part. Especially if we look to build a youth component.

Kimo Has Been Appointed to the Village Lions Board of Directors
Kimo, with RaRa Perkins, Julian Watts, and Kyoshi Atkins Repping MADE and ROOTS.

What is the significance in your view to being the first male black Director for the club?

I feel that it’s not just significant for the Village Lions, but the Regions as a whole. 

What is the one thing every member of the club can do to help us be successful? 

When you suit up you are a community member. When you are a coach you are a community member. When you come to watch games you are a community member.  Like a community, everyone has a role. Like it used to be if you were a tailor, blacksmith, butcher, shaman, warrior etc..You hone your craft because you want the community or town to thrive.


Related Reading:

Black History Month: Meet Kimo

Black History Month: Meet Kyle Granby, Co-Founder of ROOTS