Dan Tudor

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What are the Core Values that Drive You?Monday, January 23rd, 2017

NCSA, Tudor (1.24)Taylor Fodor, NCSA 

Earlier this month, the team at Next College Student Athlete caught up with coach Bryn Rourke, a softball coach at Adrian College (MI), to pick his brain and learn more about what drives him to be a successful coach.

During the interview, Bryan talks about how important it is to hold ourselves accountable to the values, standards and core values that we set for our teams. As college coaches, we have control over the types of attitudes and mindsets that our teams exhibit, and the type of recruits that we attract to our programs!

This week, we catch up with Nick Ford, a basketball coach from Trinity International University (IL), to learn more about the values that motivate him to go from starting point guard on a national championship team to successful college coach and recruiter. Click here to continue.

  1. Tell us about your background in coaching. How did you get into coaching? Why do you coach?

I got into coaching right after I finished up my playing career at Cardinal Stritch.  I started as a student assistant and then was the graduate assistant for a year at Stritch.  I coach because I love the game of basketball and to help kids continue to fulfill their dreams.

  1. What’s been your greatest accomplishment so far as a coach? What’s been your biggest disappointment?

My biggest accomplishment as a coach has been going to the NAIA National Tournament in my first two seasons.  My biggest disappointment came at the tournament when we lost in the final 16 after being ranked #1 the majority of the season.

  1. What are your biggest obstacles as a coach, and how do you overcome them?

My biggest obstacles as a coach has been that I am naturally an introvert.  With recruiting, that can put you in some pretty tough situations.  The way I overcome that is just by showing up every day and forcing myself to be uncomfortable.  I’ve gotten a lot better at that part.

  1. Do you have a coaching philosophy, or mantra that you live by?

My coaching philosophy is that’s the toughest teams win.  Mentally and physically.

  1. Describe the idea recruit, from your perspective?

A tough, hard-nosed kid that lives in the gym.  If you love the game and are willing to put in the time, I don’t care how talented you are.  You will find a way to win games.

  1. What advice would you give to new coaches that are just starting their careers in coaching?

Go out and connect with other coaches/players as much as you can.  There isn’t some big secret on how to get connected – it’s all about showing up and being at places.

  1. Describe your “ideal day” as a coach

The ideal day for me is game planning and watching film during the day, executing a practice and then going out and recruiting at night.

  1. What is one thing that you want other coaches to know about you?

I love connecting with people.

  1. Do you have a morning routine or ritual?

I get in the Word every morning, other than that every day brings something new.

  1. Three words that describe your program

Family, Love, Relentless.

At Next College Student Athlete, staff of 500+ former college athletes and coaches take pride in the relationships that we’ve established with you, the college coach. We want to learn from your success and help you be the best recruiter and best coach that you can possibly be.

And speaking of being the best recruiter that you can possibly be, did you know that you have free access to search our database of over 400,000+ athletes? Whether you are looking for new prospects, or simply looking to get access to transcripts, contact info or videos for recruits already on your radar, take advantage of this free recruiting tool today.

A Secret To Motivate An Athlete To Do The Hard WorkMonday, September 15th, 2014

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Do you think about coaching often? I do, and I’m really interested in the challenges coaches face.

Just recently I asked hundreds of coaches a simple question, “What is one thing you are struggling with, right now, in your coaching?

Maybe you were asked. Possibly you responded.

The most common reply I got was, “I struggle with getting the athletes to do the hard work.” That’s a struggle every coach, every leader, every parent, every teacher has.


I’ve been scratching my head on this for a few days, and a few thoughts came to mind.

People Need To Be Sold

An athlete who needs to do the hard work has to be SOLD on the idea that doing the hard work is a good thing. A great thing. A super-duper thing that will benefit him.

Growing up in western North Carolina, I saw many people doing hard work. Some were along the road, chains around their legs, with armed guards making sure the work got done. Those prisoners were sold on the idea that they had to do the hard work just to survive.

But that strong-armed type of selling won’t work on athletes. They need different selling. Smarter selling.

They need to be sold on the idea so well that they will go past The Resistance, and do the work.

The Resistance

Author Steven Pressfield, a great writer, promotes a reason why people won’t do the hard work. He calls it The Resistance.

According to Pressfield, The Resistance is the universal nemesis of every artist or entrepreneur, and I would add athlete.

The Resistance is also known as laziness, jealousy, fear, anger, self-doubt, self-sabotage, self-conceit, self-satisfaction. It keeps humans from doing what needs to be done to get to the next level.

Where does it come from, this Resistance? Inside the person. And it is often so strong that to overcome The Resistance it takes more than just the athlete and the coach.

You’re Selling The Wrong Person

Here’s a secret, when The Resistance is strong, you’ll need help selling the athlete on the idea of doing the hard work. As a matter of fact, you, Coach, may be the LEAST EFFECTIVE sales person in this whole process.

Here’s an example. Take Aveda, the maker of natural skin and body products. Before they make a sale to an individual, like me, there are many other sales that have to happen before I even think of opening my wallet.

  • The workers at their home office have to be sold
  • The guys in the warehouses have to be sold
  • Their financial advisor has to be sold
  • Same with their investors, marketing agency, distributor

… and dozens of other people have to be sold on how great their products are, before I will make my purchase. The least important person in this selling process is the sales clerk. So why is it any different for coaches?

It’s not.

Who Needs To Be Sold?

Who else needs to be sold before an athlete can overcome The Resistance and do the hard work? Let’s take the college world of sports:

  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Fellow coaches
  • Athletes parents
  • Support staff
  • Student Affairs
  • Health center
  • And, of course, you

If any of those folks aren’t sold that the athlete needs to do hard work then the chance quickly diminish of the athlete ever being sold.

In business terms, it becomes a bottle neck. Here’s an example:

Years ago, one of my better rowers came to my office and told me she couldn’t row for several weeks, maybe never again. She had gone to the school’s health center for a sore throat and was asked, “Do you ever have shortness of breath, get light-headed, feel exhausted, get nauseated, sweat profusely?”

Her response was, “Yeah, sure, everyday.”

The nurse jumped up with a really worried look on her face. A doctor was called in. A battery of invasive tests were immediately ordered.

The athlete was ordered to do no strenuous activity until all tests had been completed (weeks and weeks of tests).

Here’s the thing, that’s how a human feels when doing hard workouts. The rower tried to explain that to the doctor, but to no avail.

The nurse and doctor had never been athletes, had no reference point, and had never been sold on the benefits (and effects) of the hard physical work.

Your job of selling the athlete on the idea he or she needs to work hard will be INFINITELY easier once those around the athlete are sold on the idea.

And If That Still Doesn’t Make A Difference

If their sales job, and your sales job, doesn’t make a difference, then what? Well …

  • Maybe you’re wasting your time with that athlete
  • Maybe someone else who is a better salesperson needs to be brought in
  • Maybe those you think are already sold (the athlete’s teammates) aren’t really sold

Not easy stuff, that.

Where Are We Right Now?

Have I sold you on this idea? Does this spark any thoughts?

This particular challenge is a tough part of coaching, and I’d venture that it’s a tough part of being a coach.

If you’d like, we can continue the conversation over on FB, or send me an email. I’d be very interested to hear what you think. In the meantime, find Pressfield’s The War of Art, and dig in. It might help you make some sales!




What’s Your “Vinny”, Coach?Monday, December 23rd, 2013

by Charlie Adams, Author and Speaker

When I deliver motivational seminars, I often talk about separating yourself as a college coach. When it comes to recruiting, Notre Dame assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Vinny Cerrato clearly separated himself. Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said that Cerrato was the most influential recruiter in college football in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Are you as innovative as Vinny when it comes to your recruiting?

As director of Notre Dame football recruiting Cerrato was incredibly innovative in bringing top recruits to Notre Dame during the glory era of 1988-1993.

Between 1987 and 1990 Notre Dame brought in four consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes, a feat not equaled before or since. Lemming has said no college team over the previous 20 years had accumulated as much talent as Notre Dame did during the years of ’87 through ’93.

Remember back around 1990 when cell phones were first coming out and you would carry them in a box?  When the Irish were playing in a Bowl game on national television, Cerrato would stand behind Lou Holtz with a cell phone. He had the phone numbers of recruits. Cerrato would call up an elite recruit (who was home watching the game) and tell the recruit he was standing behind Holtz. Cerrato would then listen to Holtz call a play and then tell the 17 or 18 year old high school prospect what play was about to happen, before the rest of the millions watching on T.V. saw it happen.

One time Cerrato had an elite recruit on the line during a bowl game and Notre Dame star Rocket Ismail learned about it on the sideline. Rocket told Cerrato to tell the kid on the phone that if he gave give the thumbs-up sign when he was in his stance, that means he was going deep. That recruit and others were like, “When can I sign with ND?!”

This was so effective in helping Notre Dame land star recruits, that the NCAA later banned the practice with a special “Vinny Cerrato rule”.

With Cerrato’s recruits leading the way (1988-1993), Notre Dame was 64-9-1 record including a 5-1 record in bowl games, as well as winning the school’s last national championship in 1988.

It wasn’t just the cell phone creativity. Cerrato was excellent at evaluating talent and worked exceptionally hard as a coach. He later left to go to the NFL to work in the front office with the Redskins and 49ers.

My question to you is simple:  What will be your ‘Vinny?’

What is something innovative in recruiting that you can come up with that will separate yourself from the other recruiters who have just as much coaching experience, work at similar schools, and are just as determined as you are to get your prospect?

Something to think about, Coach.

Charlie Adams is a popular motivational speaker for college coaches and teams who focuses on developing a positive attitude as a key to being successful.  His techniques have helped coaching staffs and their teams around the country, and can create a customized campus session based on your individual needs.  Email Charlie Adams at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com directly to inquire about bringing him to your campus to work with your team!

Don’t Veer For DeerSunday, November 17th, 2013

by Tyler Brandt, 7secondcoach.com

What does water going around a rock, hiking around the mountain instead of over it and swerving to miss a deer all have in common?

The path of least resistance!

But that’s not all they have in common, in those situations and many like them they also have the potential to create destruction in their wake. Water will cut through anything in its path as it goes around the rock. Adding hours, potentially days to a hike can be treacherous if it is not a planned part of the trip. 258 people are dead in my state because people chose to avoid a collision with a deer (path of least resistance) instead of attacking it head on – EVEN when all of the driving rules say DON’T VEER!! To often when we are not having the success we think we should be or want to have or a challenge arises suddenly, we VEER off our planned course. It is a natural reaction to attempt to avoid an interaction with a formidable force, however, staying on course usually brings a better result no matter what lays in front of you.

Athletes experience and learn early in their careers that executing a game plan yields success at a far greater pace than winging it or making it up as you go. As coaches, we spend the majority of our careers not just developing game plans but implementing and coordinating drills that will create the flawless execution of the game plan we’ve created. Collectively, a well developed plan by the coach and exemplary executed by the athlete delivers the greatest chance for success. Conversely, even when the plan is well conceived but the athlete deviates from the path, success is rarely seen and the collision will be with failure.

When you VEER off course, even because it seems like the right thing to do, it can have a catastrophic effect in the end. I have done and seen a lot of coaches, teachers and educational leaders come across a challenge, roadblock or obstacle and make drastic changes to the course they were on to try and compensate for the issue that popped up. Although you may take on some damage by facing a challenge head-on, the damage is often superficial rather then terminal. This was evident when I was a defensive coordinator and it was my job to take away the number one offensive threat. Getting the offense out of sync and changing their game plan was crucial to the teams success. One of my offensive coordinators had a saying – R.I.T.T.S.I., which stood for Run-It-Til-They-Stop-It. When he found a hole in the defense he would continue to exploit it (stay on course) until the defense change their game plan (VEERED off course) and then he would have them right where he wanted them – grasping for control!! No matter what sport you’re playing or coaching, it is imperative to stay on course.

Do not VEER off course, believe in the path that you have developed. Accept that challenges will always arise and that at face value you can tackle them head on and you will overcome whatever you come across with less damage to your athletes and team.

Tyler Brandt is a former college wrestling coach who now travels the nation speaking on coaching, motivation and professional performance.  For more information on Coach Brandt, and how he can work with your coaching staff or your team, visit his website at www.7secondcoach.com.

The “Dear Coach” Letter I Wish I Had WrittenMonday, July 15th, 2013


by Dr. Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Last month, an exceptional coach passed away.

Harry Parker had been the men’s rowing coach at Harvard University for the past 50 years. He achieved many remarkable things including numerous national and international championships. He was considered by many to be the Dean of Rowing in the United States.

I had the good fortunate to meet Coach once.

I was not aware that he was sick and fighting a long battle with cancer. I wish I had known. If so, I would have sent a letter to him before he left. This is what I would have written:

Dear Coach,

 We met just but once. You were nice. I want to thank you for that.

 You won’t remember this, but once we were both working with the national team. I was the gofer coach —  the fellow who was always sent off on the craziest of errands. I was at the bottom of the food chain.

 One day, close to the World Championships, you just launched your crew. I happened to be standing close by. No one else was really around. You asked my name.

 Then, where was I from. And then you asked me, “I think this will be an exciting race, don’t you?” I’m sure I stuttered something unintelligible in response. And you nodded your head.

 And then you were gone.

 I wanted to tell you, thank you for being nice.

 You could’ve easily told me to get out of your way. Or to go get something. But instead, you were nice.

 It may not seem like much, but to a new coach wet behind both ears and trying not to screw up everything I did, it was like a sunrise after a week of rain.

 I keep that memory alive as I now work with new coaches. I see plenty of them who are wet behind both ears. Afraid of screwing up.

 And I try to be nice, because I know it makes a difference.

 Thank you Coach

 Even though I did not write that letter, you could.

Is there a coach, or teacher, or anyone really, who has had a positive impact on your life? Someone who has put together a legacy that impacted you? If so, please let him or her know how you feel. It’s always better to say those words and acknowledge a positive legacy before, than after.

Mike Davenport is in his third decade of coaching college rowing, and is one of the most respected leaders in his sport. His website, CoachingSportsToday.com, is dedicated to helping 1,000 coaches craft a positive legacy.  Dr. Davenport is a frequent contributor to College Recruiting Weekly and the educational events at Tudor Collegiate Strategies.

Anticipation, Anxiety and Your Recruiting ApproachMonday, December 3rd, 2012

Best selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin makes a great point about the way we approach things in life, and it has a lot of application to the job set before you as a college coach in recruiting this next generation of athlete.

“When you work with anticipation”, says Godin, “you will highlight the highs. You’ll double down on the things that will delight and push yourself even harder to be bold and to create your version of art. If this is going to work, might as well build something that’s going to be truly worth building.

“If you work with anxiety, on the other hand, you’ll be covering the possible lost bets, you’ll be insuring against disaster and most of all, building deniability into everything you do. When you work under the cloud of anxiety, the best strategy is to play it safe, because if (when!) it fails, you’ll be blameless.

Maybe you see where I’m going with this, Coach:

  • Way too many coaches selling themselves – and their program – short.
  • Way too many coaches give up too soon on their “next level” recruits.
  • Way too many coaches worry about recruiting instead of approaching it as an incredibly exciting opportunity.

Working through the filter of anxiety, as a lot of coaches do in our experience, stops you in your tracks as a coach and recruiter.  Coaches who play it safe, don’t take a “heck yeah I can get that recruit!” attitude, and generally don’t aggressively pursue a recruiting plan that aims high never, ever make big changes to their program.  Exactly the opposite happens:  Coaches settle, take on a negative outlook on who they can get and what they can achieve through their recruiting efforts, and experience year after year of frustration when it comes to their results.

Now, look at the other approach:  It’s riskier, in the sense that a coach who takes this approach will fail…and fail often.  There’s risk in that, because a coach who doesn’t take a long term, consistent approach to recruit won’t be able to afford to fail; that coach needs success, and needs it in a hurry.  And so they push, stretch the truth, and pressure recruits.

On the other hand, the coach that takes the “risk” – that is, anticipating and enjoying the recruiting process as a central part of their job as a college coach and recruiter, will build a program that is successful for the long haul.  Risk?  Yes.  But the rewards almost always follow.  Look at any coach you consider successful in your sport, and chances are 1) they are a great recruiter, and 2) didn’t approach recruiting with anxiety and a negative attitude on what they could do in building a program they would be proud of.

Which brings it back to you, Coach:

If you’re someone who might be taking the wrong outlook towards your job as a recruiter, and filling your days with negative thoughts and anxiety about the job in front of you, here are three things I’ve seen successful coaches do to turn around your results when it comes to attracting the right kind of prospect to your program:

  1. Understand that you’re going to lose more than you win. One big mistake I see recruiters make over and over again is assuming they will win more recruits than they lose.  That’s not realistic, unless you’re recruiting athletes who aren’t those game-changers you need.  If you’re getting a lot of no’s, at least you know you’re going after the right recruits.  (Don’t change that approach, by the way.  You can adjust your tactics to get better results, so keep aiming high).  That being said…
  2. Be realistic and have a good foundation to build on. If you use letter grades to rate your prospects, I’m talking about getting a healthy number of B+ and B caliber recruits.  Aiming high for the A+ recruits fits right into that positive “anticipation” approach that turns good programs into great ones. But along the way, don’t sacrifice your foundation…it’s a combination of the right recruits that builds a solid program from top to bottom.  Too many coaches either swing for the fences with every recruit, or simply settle for good (but not great) recruits that result in middle-of-the-pack finishes year after year.
  3. Make sure you’re having fun.  That’s what Godin refers to when he talks about “doubling down on the stuff that delights and pushes you.”  If you aren’t enjoying the recruiting part of your job, then figure out why that’s happening and what you need to change it.  The other trait I’ve seen among the great coaches we get to work with is that they figure out what they’re passionate about, and do it as much as they can.  Recruiting is challenging enough…you need to find ways to enjoy it, or your prospects for a successful, long term college coaching career aren’t going to be bright.

Every coach has to find their own answer when it comes to how to enjoy and anticipate the recruiting side of your life, while also eliminating the anxiety that handcuffs you from making real strides.  As you head into this next recruiting year, make sure you take the time to figure out how to make that happen – for they good of your program and your own coaching career.

Need help with formulating a strategy and putting proven ideas to work for you and your program?  An inexpensive option that hundreds of coaches have found helpful is reading our popular recruiting workbooks.  They’re packed with ideas and new ways of approaching the most important part of your coaching career.  Or, for something more in-depth, consider becoming one of our clients.  We work with you one-on-one to create and execute a recruiting plan that will get results.  Click here for the details.

The “SW-9 Formula” for Recruiting SuccessMonday, August 6th, 2012

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3 Serious Recruiting Lessons Learned in a Pie Eating ContestMonday, July 11th, 2011

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The Importance of Selling Your VisionMonday, February 28th, 2011

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5 Ways to Build Persistence in Your RecruitingMonday, January 5th, 2009

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