Recruiting Feeding Frenzy

I always tell the high school players I’m recruiting to enjoy the whole process. Never in their lives will they receive this much attention. Sure, coach’s phone calls seem to come about the time your boyfriend is calling. You must admit though, that mail box full of letters is pretty cool.

The evaluation period during the summer is a feeding frenzy for coaches and recruits. I’ve traveled to Kearney, Kansas City twice and Ankeny this July. My assistant, Lori Hopkins, has been to Sioux Falls, S.D., among other places. Past summers have seen us travel to Portland, Memphis, Las Vegas and Chattanooga. Most of the MIAA schools make the same trips, too. We even car pool sometimes.

It’s hard to describe what’s happening among the coaches at these events. No one wants to give away their top recruits. Everyone makes notes in their program and then hides the notes from their colleagues.

Rumors are everywhere. Last week, the Moberly Junior College coach found out she was hired at Lincoln University while she attended one of these events. Any particular recruit may be rumored to be leaning toward four or five different schools. You may find out your favorite player has decided to visit everyone but you.

Kansas City hosted the Battle on the Plains last week. There’s one particular player that almost every local school is recruiting. Northwest is one of those schools. Every time her team took the floor, there would be Pittsburg State, Emporia State, Washburn, Missouri Western, Missouri Southern, Truman, Central Missouri and Northwest sitting as close to the front row as possible. It almost bordered on ridiculous.

I would love to get in the mind of the recruits to see what they think of all this fuss. It has to make them smile when coaches with reputations for being tough are courting them like a 16-year old going to the prom.

The NCAA doesn’t allow us to talk to high school players at these events, so it’s important as coaches to be recognizable to the recruit. If you wanted to find the latest school fashions, check out the coaches in the front row.

The month of July for recruits is what December is to kids or St. Patrick’s Day is to the Irish. When early signing period comes in November, coaches find out what Santa left in your recruiting stocking. Did all the attention in the summer lead to good recruits or will you just find a lump of coal? I hope my new Northwest shirt stood out.

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Gene Steinmeyer

About Gene Steinmeyer

Gene Steinmeyer coached the Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team for 13 seasons before retiring after 26 years as a collegiate head coach after the 2011-12 season. He retired as the second winningest women’s basketball coach at Northwest as his 2010-11 team won both the MIAA Regular Season and Tournament Championship advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals one game shy of the national championship game.