Home | The Staff
| Oct 2004
Suggestions for the High School Coach
By Bob Chmiel
Having ten years of high school experience, I can relate to the
recruiting process as it affects you, the high school coach. Also,
with fifteen years of college coaching, as well as holding the
title of Recruiting Coordinator, I can relate to this process from
a collegiate standpoint.
I sincerely hope that some of my suggestions will assist you in what has evolved
to be a complex and, at times, difficult process. Keeping in mind that this process
is reciprocal from prospect to college coach, with you many times being the focal
point, your role is critical. Add to this quotient the N.C.A.A. regulations issues
which can be complicated.
Many parents that you will be dealing with are experiencing recruiting for the
first time and probably the only time. A process of educating families should
probably begin in the period just after the completion of the freshman football
season and followed up with a meeting each year. This suggestion may prove to
be time consuming, but I sincerely believe that these open lines of communication
will pay dividends during the recruit’s senior year. Expectations by parents
must remain realistic. I believe that when these expectations become inflated,
strained relationships can occur.
I recently read an article in a reputable newspaper in which a high school coach
was insinuated to be lax in his duties as a promoter of his senior athletes.
This article caught my attention because my friendship with this particular coach
has spanned a twenty-year period. He is professional. He is successful. His players
graduate and attend fine schools across the country. The insinuation of his lack
of concern or care appalled me. I knew of the young man in question and actually
had evaluated his high school tape. The level at which his coach suggested he
could play was very accurate. The bottom line is that no one individual, such
as a high school coach or anyone else for that matter, can “get you a scholarship.” The
high school coach can present a prospect's academic and athletic credentials
to a particular college and vouch for his character, but beyond this point, the
athlete's fate lies in the hands of the recruiter.
My suggestions to you, the high school coach, are:
1. Begin the process of educating athletes and parents as early as possible
A. From an academic standpoint
B. From an athletic standpoint
2. Expose athletes to collegiate football
A. As a motivator, but not as a distraction
B. Emphasize those collegiate stand-outs who have had success in the classroom.
3. Distribute copies of the N.C.A.A. Guidelines to parents and athletes.
4. Interview each athlete on a yearly basis
A. Communicate with parents concerns that may occur as a result of the interview.
B. Be candid when interviewing your player; do not cause false expectations.
5. If possible, have a collegiate coach speak to your parents booster club. He
can relate the academic and athletic standards of college football. If you do
have a blue-chip prospect, I would meet with his parents as early as possible
to get a feel for his eventual choices. These situations can prove to be time
consuming, but I know they will pay dividends in your community and with your
principal and athletic director.
The bottom line, as you well know, comes down to “what is best for the
(Bob Chmiel was the Recruiting Coordinator for both Bo Schembechler at Michigan
and Lou Holtz at Notre Dame...he will periodically offer his insights exclusively
to AFM on the various aspects of recruiting.)