I’ll be totally honest.
On more than one occasion I’ve been referred to as “the fun police.” Sometimes it was my role as an AD stifling our students from having “fun” at an opposing player’s expense. Other times it came from my taking a more pragmatic look at a creative purchase request from a coach. And as a Dad, being the fun police is part of the job description.
The past couple articles I’ve penned for the dantudor.com blog have addressed different things coaches can do during the summer months to be better positioned for a great 2021-22. No one appreciates the importance of rejuvenating during the summer more than I do. But I also know the chaos that ensues as soon as students’ feet hit the asphalt of your campus in the fall. With that in mind, I continue my assault on your summer!
The first few weeks of my summer as an AD were always spent meeting with my head coaches to go over their evaluation from the previous year and their performance plan for the year to come. Recruiting was always part of those discussions and guiding that topic I relied on a checklist of areas that moved each coach to examine their recruiting activities during the past year. Below are some of those bullet points:
- Did the coach manage their recruiting budget effectively. By effectively I meant were they over budget? Being over budget doesn’t automatically mean they messed up. If they were over budget we would look to see how funds were expended and what the ROI was for some of those areas. If we gained 2 commitments from a trip beyond our normal recruiting radius, that’s a good investment because we gained two commits AND we expanded our range and our brand. I’m good with that! I was just as concerned (probably more) if a coach left a lot of money on the table from their recruiting allocation. That led me to believe their activity level was down and the first thing I wanted to see in that case was their list of commits AND the profile for each. It’s pretty easy to get a name on a sheet. I wanted to see that player’s profile to ascertain their ability to contribute to the program.
- In terms of showcases, tournaments, ID opportunities, and other events that required travel how does the list of commits compare to what events the coach attended. Not just did we get commits from those events but are they consistent with where commits came from in previous years. Should we put more energy and resources into areas where we have a history of success? Did we see a breakthrough in a new region and how is that trending. Who else did they see recruiting there? If programs we traditionally recruit against are not in that space yet we should be doing more there.
- In terms of the coach’s investment of time, are they spending time on recruiting activities that have offered little or no return? If a coach was spending one third of their time on recruiting service leads yet did not have a single commit from those efforts I would argue that’s a poor investment of time. In the same way, if that coach showed two thirds of their incoming class came from having identified the prospect at an event, I would suggest that was a better way to spend his/her valuable time.
- One of the larger department expenses most AD’s carry is recruiting software. With access to all accounts I would discuss the coach’s activity (number of emails and outgoing messages – every 6-9 days?) and if they were not on the mark that would be discussed. In a worse scenario, if they were not using it at all a performance program line would be added “strongly encouraging” them to get on board, quickly! And to make sure you’re using the recommended, most advanced tool for your staff, take a look at what this app is doing for college coaches who are switching over to it.
- On the flip side of the recruiting coin is the retention piece. They are equally important and one could argue retention is MORE important. When you lose an athlete you lose all the work you put into getting them there as well as the coaching investment you made during the past year. A lot of things lead to a recruit leaving but there should be a conversation as to why. Was it failure to support an academically challenged student? Was it financial? Was it a culture issue within the program. When we lost an athlete I wanted to know exactly why. And to get a straight answer I sometimes had to dig. Talk to an assistant coach, other coaches, players, etc.
- What role are assistant’s playing in recruitment? If the coach professes to being overwhelmed and unable to sustain recruiting momentum it could be a sign that they are holding on too tightly to oversight and need to realign some responsibilities. I realize assistant staff stipends are highly variable but in those cases where fair compensation is being offered those coaches should be afforded the opportunity to learn the craft of recruiting (Tudor University is a great resource) and then the chance to grow those skills.
- In cases where there was work to be done to improve performance in recruitment I would introduce Tudor Collegiate Strategies as an option and the value of reallocating some of the recruiting budget into that area.
Just like you evaluate your practice plans, game films, and travel itineraries, you really need to do a deep dive into how you are expending recruiting resources (both time and money) and the return you are seeing from each. There’s no better time to do that than during the summer as you plan the move forward to make your next class your best ever.
One of the ways coaching staffs are getting the most ‘bang for their buck’ is by bringing the TCS staff on campus to lead them in extensive, next-level recruiting training. Our strategies are proven through research, and we make it all specific to your campus, and your situation. Click here to see how to schedule one of these popular training events for you and your staff!