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Keeping The Peace: The Mobile OS BattleMonday, November 26th, 2012

By Joe Cice, Front Rush

With the release of the iPad mini we are once again forced to make a choice between Apple and Android. With the landscape of technology in recruiting moving towards mobile devices, more and more recruiting events are filled with coaches carrying around tablets. It is not my intention to provide details about the tablet devices, rather let’s look at the important question: Am I an Apple or an Android? For many people this is a black and white decision, but let’s see if there is a grey area. Is it possible to use both Apple and Android devices?

First, let’s discuss the differences between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS. (I will spare the geeky details and keep to the overall theme). Apple provides a system of integrated devices that provide a simple, no nonsense, and intuitive environment. The user experience is maximized and the ease of use is stressed in every application. Google Android on the other hand provides a flexible, more customizable, and personalized experience. The open source nature of the Android OS allows for more options. The system is integrated into the productivity applications that are associated with Google such as, Search, Gmail, Maps, and Drive (formally Google Docs), etc.

Now we need to ask ourselves, which would we prefer? Is it possible to use both? Some will argue that you need to use all Apple products or all Android devices, but not both. If you have an iPhone you need to get the iPad. If you have an Android phone you have to get a Nexus tablet and everyone on your staff needs the same. However, this is not true. It is possible to live in both worlds. The trick is finding out what works best for you and your staff individually and as a whole. It may even prove to be to your benefit to be versed in both environments. Believe it or not there are plenty of cross-platform applications that will allow communication between apple devices and android devices. One of the top examples of this would be DropBox. This application allows files to be shared and synced across multiple devices and OSs automatically, even from your office desktop. Google also makes plenty of iOS applications that can be downloaded on iPads and iPhones for free, and they can communicate with their Android OS counterparts.

It is not to say that you will be able to seamlessly communicate information from one device to another but there are processes and applications that can assist. Communication and sharing information between staff members is critical, and could be the difference in signing a key recruit. It may be easier to be on the same platforms; or it may be easier for each coach to utilize the device they prefer. It is even an option to have an iPhone and a Google Nexus tablet. Before making a decision, look at the differences between the devices, your past experiences, and your own comfort level with technology. The combinations are endless and are as unique as each individual and program. What you need to ask yourself is what works best for me and our staff. However, when you do this, don’t forget about Microsoft.


High School Volleyball Team Finds Miracle in Heartbreaking TragedyMonday, November 26th, 2012

By Ellen Sawin, NCSA College Relations

With Thanksgiving over, the holiday season is officially underway. With all of the sales, shopping, cooking and celebrating, it’s easy to get swept up in the commercial side of the holidays. However, every once in a while you hear a touching story during the holiday season that can be described as nothing less than a miracle. It’s not often that these stories revolve around athletics, but one high school volleyball team in Iowa City was given a much needed miracle.

As with most heartfelt and miraculous stories, Iowa City West High School’s story stems from a tragedy. In August of 2011, the team’s captain and star setter Caroline Found, who went by ‘Line’ because she thought Caroline sounded like an old lady name, was ready to lead Iowa City West to a repeat season as Iowa 4A State Champions. Their run for a repeat title took a devastating turn around 9:40 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2011 when Line was killed in a moped accident.

The team and community were devastated. When the team walked into practice the next day at 7 a.m. they found hundreds of their classmates in the dark gym crying. This spoke for the type of person Line was – Coach Kathy Bresnahan described Line in an interview with ESPN. “She was irreverent, funny and spontaneous. She was in with the popular crowd, and yet she embraced everyone.” Line’s death was especially hard on her best friend, Kelley Fliehler. Line had moved in with Fliehler’s family to be closer to the hospital her mother was in due to pancreatic cancer. The tragedy took a turn for the worse when Line’s mother passed away just a few weeks later.

The team struggled at practices – breaking down while running laps and struggling to run any system drills without their setter. It looked as if it was going to be a very long season for the team. Coach Bresnahan struggled to find a player capable and willing of filling Line’s role as setter. Bresnahan finally called upon Fliehler to fill the position. Fliehler didn’t want to fill this role, but teammates reassured her that Line would want her of all people in that spot.

To honor their teammate, the West players put Line’s shoes under an empty chair on the bench. The team’s fan base grew and all of the fans wore shirts that read “Live Like Line.”  Despite all of the hardships the team faced after losing their star player, they managed to come together and fight their way to the state championship game. However, after losing the first 2 games of the best of 5 title match, it looked as if West’s heartfelt run was going to come to an end.

With their teammate in mind, the team refused to give up. They forced the match to a fifth game. However, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 14-13 match point, but the opposing team missed their serve, and West went on to take the title for a second year in a row. The song that played as the West team received their championship trophy – “Sweet Caroline.”

“Winning state a second straight year made [Line’s] dream come true. We did it for her. We felt like she was still with us,” said Fliehler to ESPN.

After what seemed like an insurmountable tragedy, the Iowa City West High School volleyball team received a miracle; a miracle from their leader, a miracle that helped them honor Line in a unique way.


iPad Mini Is The Next Great Recruiting ToolMonday, November 12th, 2012

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

So we have been using the iPad mini for the past week and yes it is my favorite iPad yet and yes we want to share with you why it is great for recruiting.

First off, it is budget friendly at $329 for the non-cellular version and rumored $459 for the cellular version. This compared to $499 and $629 respectfully is a huge cost difference…$170 to be exact to get all of the same functionality and more.

The biggest thing about the iPad mini is the size and weight (pun intended). The smaller version of the iPad feels great in your hand and walking around. The subtle change (compared to other iPads) is much more conducive to field/court recruiting because its less to carry around, its easier to type (thumb typing) and it fits in the front pocket of your backpack instead of the big pocket which leaves for more room for other stuff.

Even with the smaller size, there does not seem to be any loss in readability/intractability as compared to its bigger predecessor. In fact, all of your previous apps (if you have an iPad now) will continue to work on the mini. They are just a bit more compact. But again, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. There are a few exceptions where buttons feel too small, or text is a bit harder to read, but overall, this is more rare than common. Soon many app developers will catch up.

One of the negatives is that the screen is not a retina display. The screen is still nice and cool and looks pretty good. But, it’s not the retina display that you may be used to on your iPhone or iPad…this is a downgrade.

With that said, it is an IPS display. This means that it looks good from all angles, its just not as crisp. So what you lose in the display, you make up for in the typing. The typing is easier and very smooth. Because the device is not as wide, it is much easier to wrap your thumbs around and type. And because of the weight, it is much more comfortable.

It’s not as awkward as bigger tablets and is on the fringe of feeling like an iPhone. One last thing to throw out is that there are cameras on both the front and the back so you can take pictures, video, of yourself or others easily. This app is often found on phones, but other tablets don’t have it. Overall, we love the mini and highly recommend it.



Teamwork Can Help Overcome TragedySunday, November 11th, 2012

by Ellen Sawin, NCSA College Relations

Tragic events have occurred all through history, but in recent decades, the United States has found a new way to overcome these tragedies. Just two weeks ago, Super Storm Sandy joined a long list of tragedies that have severely impacted different regions and cultures. In the aftermath of Sandy there was a lot of debate about whether the New York City Marathon would take place. After receiving intense criticism for initially planning to move forward with the race, Mayor Bloomberg opted to postpone the event. Even though this event brings in over 300 million dollars in revenue and charity donations, the Mayor recognized that the NYPD was desperately needed in other locations to help the people of New York devastated by Sandy.

Many of the 40,000 runners were upset about Bloomberg’s decision, but they found a way to get over it. Approximately 2,000 of the runners joined together in a “Run Anyway” event, lapping Central Park four times to complete the 26.2 miles. Other runners went to Staten Island to help those who had been impacted by Sandy, including the 2009 Champion, Meb Keflezighi.The marathon was not the only sporting event scheduled immediately following the storm. The New York Giants also had a game, which they chose to play.This game gave New Yorkers something to cheer for.

As this isn’t the first time that athletics and tragedy have crossed each other’s paths, the marathon runners and Giants took cues from other athletes whose careers were affected by a tragedy. Seven years ago in 2005, the New Orleans Saints’ Superdome was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Despite losing their home field, the Saints still played their entire season, simply relocating home games to the Alamodome and LSU’s Stadium. In 2001, the NFL, MLB, and the Ryder Cup all postponed competition following September 11th. Many of those players chose to volunteer with rescue and recovery teams to aid in the aftermath.

There are also stories of teams being the victims of tragedy. Both the Marshall University Football Team and the University of Evansville Basketball team died in plane crashes while traveling for competition. However, both teams rebuilt and competed in their next seasons.

There is never a fix for tragedies like any of those mentioned, but sporting events can shed a ray of hope on even the worst situations. Whether it’s a short period of time that someone can forget about the devastation, athletes coming together to help pick up the pieces, or a community of fans rallying together for support, sporting events provide a short term escape and feeling of encouragement and unity. In each one of these situations, as well as countless others, the sporting world has helped to make things better. Tragedies will never cease, but neither will sports. And as a part of the sporting world, we will always have something that brings us together and guides us through.


You, Recruiting and “A Message to Garcia”Friday, November 9th, 2012

What kind of a coach and recruiter are you?

At your core – when nobody is looking, and you’re the only one in the office – how focused are you on getting the job done for your program, your fellow coaches on staff, and your college?

That question applies directly to your role as an effective recruiter.  What you do, how well you do it, and what kind of focus and energy you apply to that part of your job, will (in the long term) determine what degree of success you have as a college coach.

Which brings me to a short piece written in 1899 in pre-Socialist Cuba by a businessman and author named Elbert Hubbard.  If you are a college coach who wants to be the very best in the business, this should be something that you print out and read regularly.  It’s powerful, and though written in language that is better suited for the last century, the core questions it raises for hard-working recruiters are timeless.  In my opinion, it’s also an excellent piece to have your team go through, as it addresses the concepts of hard work, personal accountability, and results that each individual is responsible for in their professional and personal lives.

After the piece, I have three key questions for every college recruiter at the end.  Enjoy.


“A Message to Garcia”

by Elbert Hubbard, 1899

“In all this Cuban business there is one man that stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly.

What to do!

Some one said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men and women need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: Do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man or woman, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office- six co-workers are within call.

Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio”.

Will your co-worker quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:

Who was he?

Which encyclopedia?

Where is the encyclopedia?

Was I hired for that?

Don’t you mean Bismarck?

What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?

Is he dead?

Is there any hurry?

Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?

What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply, can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him up town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,”  and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer- but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.

It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best – those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to any one else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia? His answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular fire-brand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slip-shod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude, which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.

I have carried a dinner pail and worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village – in every office, shop, store and campus.

The world cries out for such: They are needed, and needed badly – the man or woman who can carry a message to Garcia.”

* * *

So, here are my three questions for you as a college coach:

  • What are you doing – or could be doing – without being asked?
  • When you set your mind to recruiting, do you approach it begrudgingly?  Or, do you strive to learn as much as you can about this part of your job and attack it with the same enthusiasm you do in preparing for the pure coaching part of your career?
  • What needs to change right now?

Look for opportunities to “carry a message to Garcia”.  And when you get that opportunity, excel at it.



When to Give Your Prospect a Recruiting DeadlineMonday, November 5th, 2012

In a previous column, I outlined the compelling reasons why a coach should want to issue a recruit a fair but firm recruiting decision deadline, as well as how to do it (if you missed that in-depth article, click here before you read this one).

But the advice in that previous article begs the question:

When is it right to give your recruit a deadline?  At what point in the process should you issue it?  And, what does the research show working best when it comes to how long you should give them to make their decision?

The “when” surrounding the topic of deadlines counts just as much as the “why” and the “how”.

So, based on our years of research and work with a healthy national list of clients from a variety of division levels and sports, here are some key points to remember when you are getting ready to issue recruiting deadlines to your prospects:

  • Establish a deadline horizon as early as possible in the process. Many college coaches complain as their own personal deadlines get closer, and they find themselves waiting for their prospect to make a final decision.  Many then proceed to make the mistake of starting to voice their frustration to the prospect, causing the prospect to potentially read the coach’s new found urgency as “pressure” or a change in personality.  This one is easy to avoid, Coach:  Start talking to your prospect as early as possible, as a part of a consistent, compelling recruiting story, about when you’ll be needing them to make a final decision if they feel like they want to compete for your program.
  • As the date gets closer, remind them about the need for a decision. “It looks like we’re going to be finalizing our recruiting class here in the next 60 days or so…are you any closer to making your final decision?”  “Here in about two weeks, I’m pretty confident that we’ll be all wrapped-up with this year’s recruiting.  Can we talk here in the next few days?”  “Like I’ve been saying all along, the end of the month is here and we need to talk about what you want to do in the next couple of days so I know what I should do with the roster spot I have reserved for you.  Can we talk tomorrow or the next day?”  They need constant updates, and the recruits at the heart of our research tell us that regular reminders of when they need to make a decision – while somewhat stressful because it means they need to make a difficult decision – are ten times more preferred than a last minute deadline that forces them into making a choice that ends the process.
  • What’s the right amount of time to give them when you do need to issue a deadline? If you haven’t issued a long horizon deadline as described earlier, anything longer than 10-14 days seems to get a good response.  This is especially true in the cases where you have had a long, ongoing recruiting relationship with them, they have applied and been accepted at your school, or they have visited campus at least once.  At this point, you should ask yourself, “What more do they need to know to decide whether or not we are right for them?”  If you can come-up with a solid answer to that question, then make sure you have that conversation with them as soon as possible (because if you realize that it’s needed information, I’m pretty sure your recruit is thinking that also).
  • O.K., O.K…but when do you really need to set a deadline? The rule of thumb that we follow when advising our clients is actually fairly simple:  When you feel that not receiving an answer from a prospect is putting you in a dire position with another prospect, then it’s time to talk about a deadline for making a final decision.  Not doing so allows the prospect to control the process (a huge no-no, as you know, if you’ve read our three recruiting guides for college coaches), and puts you in the position of waiting for your prospect to take whatever “plan” they have cobbled together in an effort to make a final decision (most of the time illogical, and without the kind of consideration for your program that you are probably praying for).  I believe it is the coach (you) that should control the process, and sometimes that requires that a line in the sand be drawn by the expert (you) who knows what needs to be done next.

In a perfect world, college coaches wouldn’t need to issue deadlines to their recruits.  But of course, we don’t live in that perfect world…so from time to time, it will be necessary for serious recruiters to take control of those situations by telling a prospect when he or she will need to make a decision.

Why, how and when you do it will make all the difference in whether or not this challenging strategy is successful for you and your program.


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