Why College Coaches Are Recruiting Parents: Part I

This is a touchy subject. I just sat through a panel presentation on recruiting at a coaches convention. The panel had three D1 coaches and one D3 coach. A question was, “what are some red flags you see during the recruiting process?” The comments from the coaches were first about parents, then the kids.

Parents have the ability to hurt the recruiting process as much as they can help.

It’s sad to say that because we all know parents are just trying to help. They’re only trying to do right by their kid. Nobody intentionally sabotages their child’s recruiting process. Now more than ever, coaches are paying attention to parents. Gone are the days that coaches only had to interact with the players. Why are coaches increasingly concerned with recruiting parents?

They’re not recruiting parents who they think will donate to the program. They’re not recruiting parents who will host nice team dinners.

Coaches are recruiting parents who won’t create issues.

99.9% of college coaches are not in the job to be a millionaire, nor do they ever have the chance to make anything close to that. The vast majority of coaches won’t even come close to 6 figures, let alone 7 figures. They are coaching for two reasons:

  1. They absolutely love the game and helping young men & women grow through their sport
  2. It puts food on their table

Parent “involvement” is creeping into the college level at an alarming rate. By “involvement”, I mean parents needing to voice their opinion of coaches to those in positions that can dictate the coach’s employment. For some reason, this has evolved rapidly and in turn, coaches are now asking themselves a few questions when recruiting a player:

  1. Will the player make our program better?
  2. Will the player be a good teammate?
  3. Will the player get better?
  4. Will mom and dad complain to the president if they don’t play freshman year? 

For this reason, coaches are keen to red flag parents. You used to hear, “I’m recruiting the player, not the parent. I’ll be around the player every day for four years.” This is still true, but the parents are now just a little larger piece of the equation.

Here are some examples of Parental Red Flags

  1. Discussing playing time right off the bat:  Playing time is earned. Walking into a recruiting meeting and asking the coach how much playing time your son or daughter will get usually results in a deflated and defensive coach. If we are discussing playing time before you get there, what kind of conversations will take place when you are admitted and show up to campus?
  2. Using “we” a little too much:  We are looking for the right fit,” “We want to go to a good academic and athletic school.” Well, mom and dad, we are no longer being recruited. Coaches want players who take ownership. It’s a family decision, but only one part of “we” is wearing the uniform. A coach thinks, am I getting “we” if I recruit this kid?
  3. Commandeering the conversation:  Let your kid lead the conversation. We always tell people the best possible outcome of a recruiting meeting is that the coach knows your child way better than they know you. Again, coaches want players who take ownership. One coach on the panel I mentioned earlier told a story about a recruit who flew 2,000 miles to visit campus. The kid did not say one word; the dad spoke the whole time. That player was not recruited...2,000 miles to ruin your chances.
  4. Instantly complaining about your high school or club coach:  A coach will think, “if you are complaining about every coach your kid has ever had, then why would it change with me?”
  5. Being negatively vocal at events:  The fans in the stands are an extension of the team. Why would a coach want to inherit negativity if they recruit your son. Also, stay away from coaches at events. They really have no interest in you looking over their shoulder as they watch your kid. Remember, they’re at work. Let them do their job in peace.
  6. Writing emails on your child’s behalf:  Every parent wants to brag about what a hard worker, great kid and model citizen their child is. That isn’t the type of email I’m talking about. I mean the one asking “where my son stands in your recruiting class.” Again, coaches want players who take ownership. Mom and dad will say how bad their kid wants to attend a school, but they can’t even take 90 seconds to write an email?

If you think it can’t happen and you can’t get your kid crossed off a list based on your actions, you are sadly mistaken. There are PLENTY of players out there that look just like your son or daughter. Don’t give the coach a reason to cross your kid off.

We went over what NOT to do. In the next The Recruiting Coaches article, we will go over what TO do.

THE RECRUITING COACHES (@TheRecruitingCohelps families navigate the tricky waters of the college recruiting process by providing the most truthful advice and hands-on guidance.  Our coaches are all former college athletes and college coaches.  You can learn more about how we can help your recruiting process here.

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