By Ellen Sawin, NCSA Athletic Recruiting
Preseason… as a Division-I volleyball player, this time of year used to mean moving back to school, reuniting with my best friends and being so sore that I refused to go anywhere that had stairs. But now that I’ve graduated, preseason has a different meaning.
This preseason I started a career at NCSA Athletic Recruiting.
I had no desire to leave college athletics behind, so after graduation I applied to NCSA. I got an interview, and the job! On my first day I walked into the plain brick and mortar building, and headed to the 4th floor. As I looked around I realized how much the environment instantly felt like home.
As I was taken on a tour I could see that every employee’s desk displayed their University’s logo. All of the employees are proud of where they went to school and their careers during their time as student-athletes. I loved walking around and seeing the variety of schools, from small NAIA/D-3 schools to the powerhouses from the Big 10 and Pac-12. The next stop on my tour was the main conference room. They call it “the Arena,” which is ideal for former athletes. Not to mention the other conference rooms, “the Dugout” and “the Bleachers.”
During my first couple days I did typical on-the-job training, but it was made much more exciting by the ringing of the bell. Sounds like an obnoxious concept, but it’s quite the contrary. In the center of the office there is a brass bell. Every time an NCSA athlete commits to a college team the recruiting coach that has worked with them walks over to the bell with them still on the phone and rings it! The result is indescribable! The office goes nuts, clapping and cheering to celebrate the great news with the student-athlete. Although I am not in the office every hour of every day, since I started just 3 weeks ago, that bell has rung 1,457 times.
It’s pretty clear that NCSA isn’t the typical office setting. After all it’s not filled with suits and ties, it’s filled with over 300 former college athletes and coaches who have a passion for sports. This passion was evident at my first team “huddle”, or company meeting. I listened to former NFL players, an Ivy League standout and many more, who are now NCSA employees. They talked about the teamwork and success of NCSA, and what it takes to be the best. It didn’t feel like I was in a meeting, it felt like I was in the locker room getting ready for the big game. They spoke with the most heartfelt and fervent pregame pep-talks.
Now I’m a part of the big game that NCSA plays in every day. Working with some of the most dedicated high school athletes across the nation to help them find the perfect school for them; and with the coaches to find the athletes that their school and program need. I don’t have a job, I have a position. A position on a team that is passing along the irreplaceable experience of playing collegiate sports. For a video tour of the NCSA offices click here.
Ellen Sawin is a recent graduate from the University of Evansville, where she was a 4 year starter and 2 year team captain of the University’s D-1 volleyball team. As a volleyball player she was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman team, and was named to multiple All-Tournament teams. She was UE’s 2012 Female Student-Athlete of the year. During her time at UE she was also the President of the University’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.), and was UE’s female representative on the Missouri Valley Conference SAAC. Ellen now works for NCSA Athletic Recruiting in the College Relations Department. To learn more about NCSA Athletic Recruiting and the free database of verified prospects that coaches can access 24/7, click here.