The Rugby History Society

Return to Articles



Randolph "Rudy" John Scholz


He was born on 17th June 1896 in Kewanee , Illinois the son of Rudolph John Scholz and Catherine “Hattie” (nee Bayer). His father was from Burgstadt in Germany . His mothers parents were both German.

Between 1901 and 1902 he lived in Germany with his parents.

He was educated at Santa Clara University .

Scholz had a long rugby career. He first played for Santa Clara at scrum-half in 1913 and in 1979, at the age of 83, he played his last game against the Irish side, Instonians. To mark his services to the sport, a "Rudy Scholz Day" was held at Stanford in 1981 and a plaque of appreciation was presented to him on the rugby field.


Above the University of Santa Clara XV 1914. 1 Yoell (Trainer), 2 Stewart, 3 Anderson, 4 Gilman, 5 Curtin, 6 Kiely, 7 Kavanaugh (Asst. Trainer), 8 Voight, (Captain), 9 Quill, 10 Coschino, 11 Concannon, 12 B.Fitzpatrick, 13 J.Fitzpatrick, 14 Milburn, 15 Ybarrando, 16 Jackson, 17 Scholz, 18 Hardy, 19 Meadows, 20 Harkins, 21 Ramage, 22 Higgins (Coach).


Above Rudy in the 1914-15 Santa Clara University Basketball team. Back Row (L-R): Guy Voight, Edward Mulholland, James Curtain, Norbert Korte. Front Row: Rudolph Scholz, unknown, Demetrio Diaz. This season they won all bar one game, beating Stanford twice.


Scholz played in three internationals for the USA in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic finals against France and the 1924 preliminary round against Rumania .


Above the 1920 US Olympic Team (L-R) Back Row: Wallace, Patrick, O’Neil, Fish, J Muldoon, Fitzpatrick, Slater, Righter.  Middle Row: Meehan, Hazeltine, Maloney (trainer), Tilden (c), Carroll (pl/coach), W Muldoon, von Schmidt, Scholz. Front Row: Wrenn, Doe, Hunter, Davis, Winston. Missing: Templeton, Kirksey


Above the USA squad training in England before Olympic Games in Paris . Photo taken at Plymouth Rugby Club. Back Row (L-R): Sam Goodman (Manager), Valentine, Cashel, Williams, B, Slater (Cpt), Farish, Clark, Patrick, N. Slater, DeGroot, Charles Austin (Coach) Middle Row: Graff, Turkington, Deveraux, Manelli, Doe, Cunningham, Dixon . Front Row: Rogers, Hyland, Hunter, O'Neill, Cleveland, Muldoon, Scholz.


He married Milfred Elizabeth Sophey in Jan 1928 in Santa Rosa , Sonoma , California .. His wife’s family were French Canadian. They had a son Rudolph John Scholz on 10th January 1929, born in San Francisco .


During World War II he won a Bronze Star at Okinawa


He became an Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco but left in 1952 to establish a private law practice.


He died on 9th December 1981 in Santa Clara County , California ,




Above cover of book For The Glory


For The Glory. Mark Ryan. Published September 2009

ISBN 978-1-906779-25-2


For The Glory is the true story of Babe Slater and Rudy Scholz. Opposites in many ways, they starred in the US Olympic rugby teams that shocked the world by winning gold medals at the Antwerp Games of 1920 and the Paris Games of 1924.

It required nerve for quiet farmer Babe to return to Belgium just two years after witnessing the horrors of World War One. Rudy had been desperate to play a part in that war but had missed out on the action.

There was more frustration for little Scholz, by now a silver-tongued lawyer, when gentle giant Slater was elected 1924 US rugby captain ahead of him. Rudy didn’t even want to play in the Paris showdown against the French favourites at the so-called ‘Chariots of Fire’ games.

What happened to bring Rudy back into line just before the French turned the 1924 Olympic final into a bloody riot? How did Scholz cope when he was finally confronted by the horrors of war on Okinawa during World War Two, and how did he manage to play rugby until he was 83?

Read about the extraordinary experiences of Rudy and Babe, then decide for yourself where the glory lies – in sport or war.

Mark Ryan is a writer and sports journalist. His books include Justine Henin: From Tragedy to Triumph and Fabio Capello: The Man, The Dream, The Inside Story, both published by JR Books, as well as The Hornet’s Sting: The Amazing Untold Story of Second World War Spy Thomas Sneum.


© Patrick Casey, 2011
For Permission to reproduce this article please CLICK HERE