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 firstname.lastname@example.org directly to inquire about bringing him to your campus to work with your team!