Dan Tudor

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Should You Say “No More!” in 2008?Monday, December 31st, 2007

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Recruiting Smarter in 2008Monday, December 31st, 2007

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The Best Tips of 2007Monday, December 24th, 2007

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Recruiting Message Workshop Is a HitMonday, December 17th, 2007

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7 Reasons Blogging Boosts RecruitingMonday, December 17th, 2007

One of the biggest concepts that seems to have taken hold after our successful "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshop here in California over the weekend is the value of coaches writing a blog.

We detailed lots of strategies for coaches to pump up the effectiveness of their recruiting message out to their prospects.  Better letters…more effective e-mails…interacting with parents.  Lots and lots of ideas.

But the one that seemed to hit home with so many in attendance is the idea of posting a blog on the Internet.  What’s a "blog"?  It’s short for "weblog" and it’s basically an online journal.  It’s a place where you can write about anything (including the sport and team you coach) and post pictures. 

Why is writing a blog such a good idea for college coaches?  It boosts the potential for you to get the attention of prospects you want to communicate with.  Here are seven reasons why: 

  1. Getting seen on Google.  And Yahoo, MSN and any other search engine that your recruits are looking at on a regular basis. Every time you write about a topic, that gets seen by the search engines.  For example, anytime someone Googles "college recruiting objections", my articles show up as the #2 and #7 search results on the first page.  There’s nothing magic or special that I did, other than write on a subject and title it appropriately for search engines to find it.  You can have the same exposure benefits if you start writing a blog.
  2. Direct communication with your prospect.  No filters, no danger of being misinterpreted or mis-quoted.  It’s you talking directly with your prospect.  Your voice, your personality, your content.  Isn’t that the point of a good recruiting relationship?
  3. More chances to develop your "brand".  Want to set yourself apart from your recruiting competition?  Develop your reputation, or "brand", directly with your prospects.  Blogging is a great way for people to learn about you and what you’re all about as a coach.
  4. Be different than your competition.  Blogs can give coaches a huge competitive advantage over their competitors.  It allows you to stand out and provide another channel directly to your prospect.  The NCAA says you can only make one phone call a week to a prospect.  However, you can write blog entries as often as you want and have them seen daily by your prospects.  So, is that something that you or your competitor should be doing?
  5. Build trust.  When your prospect sees you open up and communicate with them honestly and directly, a real trust develops.  It’s easier to develop trust through daily blogging than sending out letters, right?  The coach who earns the trust of their prospect probably has a great chance of signing that prospect.  Blogs can help you do that.
  6. Become the best within your niche.  Want to position yourself as the best D2 baseball program in the Southeast?  Looking to make the case for why you’d be the best place for a pole vaulter in North Carolina?  Blogs let you do that by focusing on your special niche…that special something that you can present to an athlete as the reason they would want to come and compete for you rather than your competitor. 
  7. You get more PR.  "Public Relations", that is.  In a sense, you’re becoming a media outlet for yourself and your program.  You don’t have to rely on the media getting your story out.  You are getting your story out, and doing so exactly the way you want it.  You are the writer, editor and publisher of your story.  The more you write, the more great PR you can expect to get.

After our workshop ended, two coaches who attended followed my advice and began writing blogs.  Take a look at www.CoachJimHoman.com and www.cascaderunning.blogspot.com

By the way, if you’re a SFC Premium Member I’ll be explaining more on how to blog effectively and give you three more reasons blogging is a no-brainer for coaches who want more exposure for their program.  Stay tuned for that, Members!

Can Tom Pull Off Some Nebraska Recruiting Magic?Monday, December 10th, 2007

In our special report for college coaches, we go inside the mind of the 2008 class of high school prospects for insights on how college coaches should recruit them. 

What messages they respond to…who helps them make their decision…and what role the head coach plays.

Want a real-world example of how a coach can make a difference in how prospects view a program?  Look no further than Lincoln, Nebraska, where Tom Osborne is back in the saddle as the interim head football coach for the Cornhuskers.

Here’s the story from the Kansas City Star: 

The cold wind swirled viciously, dropping inches of snow on the downtown streets. People kept their heads down, eyes on the icy sidewalks. They walked past dozens of signs that read, “The Power Of Red” without seeing them.

Then Tom Osborne emerged from the Lincoln Square Building, tall and thin with a cell phone pressed to his ear, striding through the storm with his head held high. People saw him, and they smiled.

Here in Cornhusker country, folks haven’t forgotten that Nebraska used to be part of college football’s aristocracy. Signs celebrate the past. Restaurants drape themselves in red. Students still wear sweaters celebrating national championships that happened in the mid-’90s — when they were in grade school.

But pride has been replaced by self-pity, and the joy of college football has moved over to make way for something new: a sense of loss. The feeling that a whole state saw itself severed from the thing that once drew it together.

Enter Osborne.

When he retired in 1997 after 24 years as the head coach, he’d won three national titles and racked up a 255-49-3 record. The team hadn’t seen a losing season since 1961. Since Osborne’s departure, it has had two losing seasons, including this year’s 5-7 debacle that included humiliating losses to Missouri and Kansas.

So on Oct. 15, the university fired athletic director Steve Pederson and replaced him with Osborne, who stepped out of retirement. Two weeks ago, Osborne announced head coach Bill Callahan would not return. He even stepped in as interim head coach until a replacement could be found.

It was like the old days again. Tom is here. Tom can be trusted. Tom will set things right.

Last week, as the snow piled up, Osborne marched quickly across 13th Street. A man in a blue truck honked, waved and stopped in the middle of the slushy street to let the legend pass. People burying their faces against the weather looked up and suddenly beamed.

Rondi Mettscher couldn’t believe it. In all her years in Lincoln, the 57-year-old native had never seen Osborne in person. Now here he was, in the flesh, the man who was going to make everything OK.

“We’re all excited to have him back,” she said as she watched him climb into his car and drive away. “And look. He’s on his cell phone. You just know he’s working on it right now.”

Becoming the “Master” Coach and RecruiterMonday, December 10th, 2007

Most coaches want to master their sport.  As a coach, certainly, and sometimes even as a recruiter.  The better you recruit, the easier it is to coach.

That’s one of the reasons we produced two specialized recruiting guides for college coaches who want to master their sport.  Most coaches want to be the best at what they do.  You probably have that same goal.

But stop and think about it.  What does it take to truly master your sport as a coach?  As a recruiter?  How long do you have to study, get experience in the battle of athletic competition, or lose a prized recruit to your rival before you’re classified as a real "master"?

Marketing guru and author Jeffrey Gitomer got the answer to what it takes to become a master from an unexpected seat-mate on a recent airline flight.  He found himself seated to Zach Johnson, the pro golfer who recently won The Masters.

Johnson said his rise to golf stardom was a slow, deliberate one.  Here are the lessons that he learned about being a "master" at his game:  

  • He doesn’t get upset at a bad shot or a bad round.
  • He plays consistent as a golfer and a golf strategist.
  • He stays in the hunt and is always there to make a run at winning.
  • He doesn’t get nervous at the end of a round. (One of the first questions Gitomer asked Zach was whether he was nervous on the 18th at Augusta. "No," he said. "I just played to win. And played my best.")
  • He plays for fun. (He loves the game, the competition, the thrill of winning, and the youthful exuberance of just "being there.")
  • He plays to win. (Every time Zach Johnson goes out on the course, he believes he’ll win the round, and win the tournament. 

"It’s a job – a fun job. But it’s a job." Zach adds as he smiled broadly. "It’s my number four priority. Family. Faith. Family. And then fairways."

So what does all of this have to do with signing great recruits?  As I read the comments from Johnson, it sounds like being a master coach and recruiter is the same thing that it takes to be a master professional golfer: Perspective, passion, a non-stop pursuit of the skills that will help you to improve, and the expectation that you’ll get the recruit you’re aiming to sign.

Too many coaches I meet have a negative, defeatist attitude when it comes to recruiting.  "I can’t compete against so-and-so…we don’t have the facilities to get the great athletes here…our area isn’t attractive to prospects."  On and on and on.  Excuse after excuse after excuse.

On paper, Zach Johnson wasn’t a big favorite to beat a guy like Tiger Woods.  But he stuck to his principles, and became the master that he’d always dreamed of being.

My question for you: Are you on that course towards "mastering" your skills as a recruiter and a coach?  If the answer is no, make that a priority as we head towards the new year.  If you’re a SFC Premium Member, we’ll tell you about three smart ways to become a master recruiter who dominates their competition.  Look for it later this week in your Inbox, plus some extra stuff that we think will help you close out the recruiting year successfully.

The 7 Things Parents WantMonday, December 3rd, 2007

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