March 9, 2009

Volleyball Coaching Change and Recruiting Files

An interesting question from a reader:

Hi Coach,

When a coach is fired, what happens to his or her recruiting files? Do they go with the coach? Are they destroyed and the new incoming coach starts from scratch? Are records left for the new coach, who may not be hired til months later? I am referring to NON-committed athletes. Just something I have wondered about.

club coach

I would feel the answer depends on how each coach would handle the transition. There are usually three mechanisms for a coaching change - Fired, new job or retired. My Readers Digest version is that the new coach either will not use the old coach's recruiting files (other than a cursory glance to see if there are any recruits they recognize) or the files were destroyed/lost when the previous coach departed.

If a coach is terminated, then my guess would be just how quickly does the 'physically' leaving the office happen. I have heard of coaches who have been fired getting a couple of months to gracefully exit and I have also been aware of coaches who were escorted back to their office by an Assistant Athletic Director to immediately remove their personal belongings. Most cases a fired coach will not destroy the files, but I believe they would make copies for their personal use should another coaching opportunity come to fruition quickly. Don't get me wrong though, I have known a number of coaches who left nothing for the arriving coach (recruiting files, budget notes, spring/fall schedule, equipment inventory, etc).

In terms of the incoming coach, they would usually start from scratch if they are replacing a fired coach. If you think about it, most coaches are fired for lack of winning and the root cause of losing seasons is not having better talent than your opponents (I know lots of other things contribute to not winning, but there are some great coaches which have been fired because they were not great recruiters - The flip side is I know very good recruiting head coaches who could not coach their way out of a paper bag, but have enjoyed long careers in the NCAA).

If an incoming coach is taking over a successful program from a coach who moved on or retired, then it would seem the new coach would use the available recruiting information to continue the successful protocol. There is a built in success pattern of obtaining winning players and a new coach, you would feel, should use this system to their benefit. The biggest mistake I have seen a new coach make, is when taking over a successful program, they veer away from what works. For instance, shifting the recruiting to a different region of the country when a success recruiting network for the program has already been established.

When a successful coach moves on to the next position, they will definitely take their recruiting information with them - They have worked to hard to generate the 'next' recruiting database and to leave it there (not make a copy) is illogical. Now, they may not be able to use their previous school's database of recruits because they have moved into a higher classification of conference or NCAA division, but they will bring it with them. Just a guess, but I would believe the leaving coach would be courteous enough to leave whole the current recruiting databases for the new coach.

A suggestion which I have for Prospective Student Athletes during a coaching change is to resend your information to the new coach. If you are interested in the school (which should be the number one reason to go to a certain college), then getting your information in front of the new coach is a smart choice. You really don't know exactly what recruiting information was left, you don't know how the old coach may have rated or evaluated you versus what a new coach would - The only thing you can do is send in your information (even if it was just like the information you sent to the previous coach).

The safe thing to assume is that the new coach either does not have the previous recruiting files or is not interested in who the old coach was recruiting. To this end, a PSA literally has to re-start the recruiting process with the new coach.