Coach's Corner  New Feature! Scholarship
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We asked a few coaches from around the country to provide some brief input for high school and middle school athletes hoping to compete in College. We've highlighted some thoughts we believe are particularly helpful and apply to young athletes in any sport. For more sport specific input from these and other coaches, please see our individual sports pages.

These coaches are from different sports, different divisions,  different parts of the country and different sized schools, but all value similar  traits in a student athlete:  good character, hard work, personal responsibility, a positive attitude and perseverance. Development of these traits will not only significantly enhance your chances of playing college sports, they may help you get into a great school as well as make you a better person:

 

Greg DiCenzo, Holy Cross (NCAA I) Baseball

One's character is the most valuable component in the recruiting process. A prospective student-athlete's baseball skill set probably ranks third behind their character and academic track record. While there may be flexibility around academics and athletic ability, you must have good character ... you must be an asset to the Holy Cross community.

Once you get to high school, you are on the clock. Your grades freshman and sophomore year will be on your record when you start to look at schools in your junior year.

 

John Ginnity, Framingham State (NCAA III) Basketball

A big misconception is that basketball talent & scoring is the key to getting recruited.  Of course talent is a requirement, but it barely makes the top 5 for most coaches when evaluating potential recruits for their school, program, and basketball family.  Being a good person and solid citizen is first and foremost.  Dedication and commitment to the classroom and the community will follow closely. Only after these boxes are checked off will basketball talent come into the conversation.  
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Rick Walker, Southern Illinois University (NCAA I) Swimming

Recruits get my attention when they pursue us as much as they want us to pursue them.  If I have to do all the work and constantly show or state our high interest, I can only assume that I will have to do that each and every day once they arrive in our program.  Two words: “Not Interested”.

Don’t think for a second that programs are not reviewing your social media, including the amount of time you spend on it. 

 

Joe Russell, George Mason University (NCAA I) Wrestling

Dream and prepare about going to college at a young age. Taking care of academics in high school is key to having options as a college athlete. Don’t wait until you’re a junior or senior to worry about academics.

Be coachable. Seek out instruction. Be visible. Go to camps. Attend out of season competitions. Be in the sport for the long haul. It takes time to make gains. Consistency, diligence and perseverance gets rewarded.
 
Stand out academically and on the mat. Have coaches advocate on your behalf. If your coach speaks well of you, it matters. Have people in your community speak on your behalf. If you are a leader in your community, it matters. Have your teammates speak well of you. I watch team interaction to see if a wrestler is respected by his peers.

 

  2016    Mike Murphy, Colgate University (NCAA I) Lacrosse

 Don't believe the hype.  Social media, early commitments and the regular media are trying to bank on hysteria.  The college process is not a sprint it's a marathon.  In order for any young person to find the right school they have to put in the work.  Investigate, research, visit.  Just because Joey on your club team is committed as a freshman, doesn't mean you need to be committed as well.  Worry about yourself.  Very few Division I players are on full scholarship and yes, higher education is expensive, but you will get back what you put in. 
Focus on your school work from the very beginning of high school.  The better student you are the more opportunities you will have.  Don't let athletics be the sole dictator of your college choice.  Be the very best student-athlete you can be.  Challenge yourself with tough classes.  Be great your freshman and sophomore year of high school, don't think you are going to make up a huge amount of ground if you dig yourself a hole your first two years.

 

Tanya Kotowicz, Quinnipiac University (NCAA I) Lacrosse

Character matters.  Work on it every day, make good choices and get involved. Pick a good attitude. As the athlete, take ownership of your college search, let your parents support you, but you do the work. Research all aspects of the school academically and athletically - do your homework. 

School first!
  Open the doors for your lacrosse opportunities by taking care of school. Work hard every day, not once in a while.  Who are you when no one is watching?

 


Brian O'Neill, Hiram College (NCAA III) Swimming

Most common misconception I see is either "I'm not good enough" or "My Child's not good enough" to swim or dive in college. If you have the passion to compete  there is a program out there for you somewhere. But you need to do your research, get your name out there and be proactive - an athlete will be his or her own best advocate.

Talent may get your foot in the door, but character gets you through it.

 


Erin Hurley, Grinnell College (NCAA III) Swimming


Even if you are not recruited by schools, there are more places than you might be aware of to swim in college.  Reach out to college coaches well before your senior year and do so more than once.  Send your times and academic stats (GPA; class rank; classes you are taking and ACT/SAT).  This will help the coach determine where you might fit in athletically and academically at their school. Ask your high school and/or club coach to contact us on your behalf as well.

 

 

Sara Fleming, Randolph College (NCAA III) Softball

Good character and positive attitude are paramount for what we are looking for in a player.  When we scout prospects at games and tournaments, we look closely at a player's attitude and mental game. Here are some warning signs we often see that will quickly turn off a college coach's interest in you:  bad attitude, rudeness to parents and coaches, inability to handle and bounce back from failure or adversity well. 

 

Chad Kerr, Lincoln University (NCAA II) Softball

Biggest mistake is just playing and hoping someone will “discover” you.  Choose 3-4 schools at different levels that have the academic major you want and start emailing coaches to build a relationship.   

Send emails personally and do your research to make sure you have names and schools correct.  Don’t send an email to Coach Jones (and was meant for Coach Smith) and congratulate them on a terrific season (when they went 5-45) and that you’d love to learn more about their Nursing Program (when they don’t have one).


 

Keri Sanchez, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps  (NCAA III) Soccer

 It's important to be a quality student along with being a good soccer player.  There are many players who want to play in college.  Coaches prefer players that they can trust to attend class, do their work, and stay academically eligible.


The best steps an athlete can take to enhance their chances of playing in college are to do well in high school
 academically, to compete on the highest level of club team you can (based on your level of play and affordability), and to be seen by playing in club tournaments where college coaches attend and/or attend college ID camps/clinics.

 

Bill Kelly, Bard College (NCAA III) Soccer

A lot of good student-athletes are not proactive enough in the recruiting process. Many simply don't know how to get recruited, and then wait too long before exploring schools and contacting coaches themselves. It's okay to send a coach an email explaining that you are interested in the school and the soccer program, and that you feel you could be a fit. It helps to supply a link to a highlights video as well as match video, and it's also important to share your showcase and tournament schedule information.

But don't send a mass email out to coaches--you should, in a thoughtful email, explain why you feel you'd be a fit for that particular school and that soccer program. Be specific as it shows genuine interest. 
 
 

 

 20 Brandon Nelson, Lakeland University (NCAA III) Baseball

Get your name out there, kids are too worried about schools coming to them to get recruited.  If you're serious about playing at the next level then you will have no problem taking the time out to look up the coaching staff to each of the schools you're interested in and sending them an email.  

Understand however that regardless of the division of the school this game takes commitment and sacrifice, and you have to be sure that you are willing to give both in the classroom and on the field to play at this level.
  
 2017 Baseball
Too many kids today are looking for scholarships and overlooking schools that would give them a legitimate chance to contribute (such as Division 3 schools).  You may only get 1 or 2 schools actually interested in you, are you going to throw away your chance at playing college baseball due to no athletic scholarship?  Trust me if you're not willing to take that opportunity, someone else will.

 

Ray Ricker, Post University (NCAA II) Baseball

Coaching is our profession and we want players  we can trust. Be mindful of a thing called “Google”,  we will look up your Twitter account and see what you're writing. If we do not like what we see you will be off the recruiting board quicker than you were put on it.
 

 

     
  
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