Tim Beury played defensive end in 1992 for the nation’s then-No. 1 high school football team, the Manatee High Hurricanes. Now he volunteers 15 hours or more each week spreading the love of rugby to young area athletes as director of the Sarasota Surge Youth Rugby Academy.
Beury is co-owner with his wife, Kristen, of Medical Resource Association, a Sarasota-based health care management firm that counsels medical practices “on everything nonclinical, from setups to rebranding, equipment and some billing,” he says. Some 30 medical practices from the region, and from as far away as California, Texas and New Mexico, are clients.
He developed a passion for rugby 10 years ago when he and Kristen took his stepson to live with family in Toulouse, France, a hotbed for the sport. Back in the States, a youth team was forming in St. Petersburg and the coach asked him to help out. Beury stepped up and joined the Sarasota Surge, which plays at the International Cricket Club complex on University Parkway.
With two quick-paced, 40-minute halves, rugby is not easy, he says. “but it’s much more fun than football, less restrictive and safer in many ways. It’s truly a team sport. You’re only as good as your worst player.” And it fosters camaraderie. “Anywhere in the world, if you play rugby, you may find yourself crashing on [a fellow rugby player’s] couch or playing on a field you have no business being on,” he says.
The youth academy started with four players. Last year they had 47, and recently added a high school team. “We’re developing youth from the bottom up so we can sustain the sport,” Beury says. “We’re all rugby fanatics. That’s what makes it work.”
And—full circle—Beury won a state championship in 2016, this time with the Sarasota Surge Rugby Club.