by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
How many times have you met someone for the first time, told them you are a college coach or athletic administrator and the person says something like “Wow, that’s so cool. It must be a blast to do that!”
In many ways they are so right. But in many ways they have no clue what it takes to be successful as a college coach or a college athletic administrator because at the end of the day, both are judged by the same criteria. And having retired after 30 years working in athletics if I had it to do over again – I wouldn’t change a thing.
In the days and weeks ahead, however, the reality is that some coaches are and athletic directors will find themselves on the outside looking in. I hate to say that but it is the cold, hard truth. Working in college athletics can be a dream career but like any other job it is a results driven enterprise.
For some the standard was written years ago with the first conference championship, and then another, and another … Winning at those schools has become an expectation and anything less leaves the coach in no man’s land. For others, the task is one of transformation – taking the perennially challenged program and building it into a contender, one win at a time. It’s measurable, quantifiable, and if there’s no improvement, you’re outside looking in.
For yet others it’s a numbers game. Your team is an essential ingredient in the sustainability of the institution. Fill your roster so your school can fill the dorms and the classrooms. That’s what keeps the lights on and the doors open. Again, it’s very easy to see if you’re a field hockey coach who has averaged 12 players for three years you are costing your school more than you’re worth. And using the sustainability model, it doesn’t matter how many games you’ve won! Sad, hard truth. If you don’t turn it around, you’ll be outside looking in.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that You Can Do This!
Quite often, in the course of doing a workshop for an athletic department I find myself saying “None of this is complicated at all. It’s simply identifying tasks that work (that’s where the research TCS does comes into play) and then stringing them together in a logical sequence and executing that plan.”
I’m sure I’ve oversimplified things a bit but if you follow TCS – read our articles, listen to the podcasts, and in general make an investment in learning the recruiting game (just like training for a sporting event) YOU CAN DO THIS! And some more good news, if you are struggling right now and not feeling good about your recruiting there’s still time for you to save your 2022 class if you take advantage of the resources open to you and grab a life line! And act now!
Here are some lifelines you should be looking for:
- At the risk of sounding self serving, TCS is an absolute no brainer if you find yourself behind in your recruiting. If you can’t find a way to become a client please take advantage of the free resources on the Tudor Collegiate Strategies website. If you go into the blog and read one topical article a day by the end of the semester you will be well on your way to being a better recruiter. And getting commitments!
- Pay attention to what others are doing and how they do it. I am absolutely certain there are coaches on every staff in the country who love to recruit. They’re the coaches whose whiteboards are filled with names, phone numbers, comments, etc. about their recruiting class. Every week they’ve got recruits and families coming for visits. And they look happy during the visit!!! Ask them for help if you are struggling. They’ll help you because the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Your success is directly linked to their success. Just ask for help.
- Talk to your athletic director. Be honest with them. Tell them what you’re struggling with. Tell them what you have done. The key is having done something! If you can’t demonstrate that you have been getting to events, identifying prospects, getting campus visits, doing CONSISTENT, MEANINGFUL MESSAGING THAT TELLS YOUR PROGRAM’S STORY, it will be difficult for your AD to buy in. Having been that guy, I can tell you that your AD would much rather make an investment in throwing you a lifeline than conducting a tedious and time sapping search, losing an entire year of recruiting and starting from scratch with a new head coach. As an administrator, weighing the costs of getting a coach some help versus having to have that conversation about “it’s time for us to go in a different direction” I’ll take door number one seven days to Sunday. Your AD hired you because there was something they liked so clearly they want to see you have success. And economically, getting you some help is a much better investment than firing you! It really is!
Working in athletics is the greatest career in the world. But we are all more productive when we are accountable and taking advantage of the resources open to you is the easiest way to improve your productivity.
If your recruiting class isn’t where it needs to be, the team at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help! Email Greg Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about how we can support your recruiting this year.