June 24, 2013

College Volleyball Recruiting Communication - NCAA Division III

Coach Matt,

      Hi, I am a junior in high school and I am aiming toward a DIII level school. I have had interest from several smaller DI and DII schools, but I like the DIII attitude more, with a higher focus on a well rounded student. Anyway this spring I found my dream school it has everything I am looking for, along with a very good OT program which is my main interest. While visiting the campus during an open house I met with the coach and she seemed very interested in me. She brought me down to meet several of her players while she watched and my mom who was sitting with her said she thought I fit in really well. To sum it up the meeting went great. When I returned home I sent a follow up email thanking her and she invited me to the volleyball camp and later to visit again in October for a recruit day. Within the next two weeks I sent her my highlight reel and told her i would be coming to the camp. It has been around two weeks since I last emailed her and she has not yet replied. What is a realistic time frame to expect a reply? Should I expect a reply?
    On to my second question, as I mentioned earlier my main interest is Occupational Therapy and at this school to get into the program they recommend that you apply early decision or early action. What worries me is I do not have a good judgement of how high I am on her recruit list and I do not want to risk my chance of getting into the OT program because I am not sure if I have a spot on the team. This is how it works for most schools that offer OT because they have a limited class size and applying early decision limits me to one choice.How do I convey this to the head coach without seeming, for want of a better word, pushy?

      Thanks, H.R.

As to your first question - This is a very slow time with recruiting, especially for NCAA DIII coaches.  It does not surprise me that the coach is tardy in replying to your email; I would not read too much into it.  If you are going to a summer club volleyball championship event, this would give a reason for sending another email to update the coach on your summer volleyball plans.

Your second question - You need to separate church and state (USA Constitution reference); is this school attractive because of academics or athletics? What is the relationship percentage to each other?    Early Decision is a common academically elite school's admissions protocol and the coach should know this.  But, as specialized as your academic interest is, and as you reference, Occupational Therapy (OT) will have early decision at almost every other DIII school.

If Volleyball is your priority, then you should really be choosing a DI or DII school which may support your academic interest in OT - Volleyball drives the collegiate  decision.

If OT is your priority, then you pick the DIII school which gives you the best academic fit, and then present yourself to the volleyball team as a great addition.  If you have the talent to garner interest from DI and strong DII programs, the DIII coach will bring you onto the team because your talent level is more than what they may usually garner.  Just remember that DIII programs/coaches tend to operate in a different reality than DI and DII/NAIA.

Decide your focus and move forward!

Coach Matt


  1. AnonymousJune 25, 2013

    "Just remember that DIII programs/coaches tend to operate in a different reality than DI and DII/NAIA."

    Coach, can you elaborate a little moe on what you mean by this statement. I ask because my rising senior PSA is interested in a high end academic Dlll school that also offers a highly competitive VB program that competes for divisional and national championships in their level. As a result, any insight to Dllll programs is beneficial. Thanks!

    Thanks for all your info. On your blog and in your book. I have been keeping up with it all for a few years now and find it very useful.

  2. Many D3 Volleyball coaches will also coach another collegiate sport (as a head or an assistant) which can lead to a lack of detail/attention/focus. Also, because the admission process can be accelerated with D3 schools, this can alter how and why a coach would recruit one player. The college coach may have to look at much at academics as talent, as much as personality as skill sets, as much at early enrollment decision at early attacking approach.

    Some D3 Athletic Departments are not concerned with winning; they are concerned with team gpa, or player satisfaction, or just staying under budget because each D3 school may have a different goal set for its athletic department.

  3. AnonymousJune 30, 2013

    Thanks Coach for the follow-up answer. Sorry the delay in my response back but we have just returned from AAUs in Orlando and some followup fun at the local parks!

    The good news for my PSA is that it doesn't seem that any of the D3 schools that she is looking at have coaches who also coach another sport and it seems that each school's coaching staff is very dedicated and focused on VB and only VB. It would also appear that the ADs at each of these same schools are also concerned with winning and support the VB programs at their schools. Most all of the schools she is looking at compete at the highest level of D3, regularly winning their conferences, and competing at the top national levels including winning or being close to winning National titles in their division of the NCAA. Most all of their coaches have been at their particular schools for an extended period of time and one is even their actual AD! This is one of the appeals to her, she not only wants a small school with a high end academic program, but a high end VB program that competes for championships as well.

    The good news for my PSA is that she offers solid VB skills and training, is a coach's dream kid in regard to being a team player AND meets the top notch academic talent the schools' admission office wants. In other words, she offers everything these schools could want on both the athletic as well as academic side. It has been interesting to watch this "process" as it has started to evolve. It seems to be a lot slower pace then what other divisions are doing. It appears because they have to wait and "see" how the academic side falls out as well! Plus, they seem to what to make sure that you "really want them" as well.

    As a libero/ds player - we realize that her position is going to be the last to be filled (no matter the division) but we are trying to figure out at what point we can expect some "solid" information and when, she tells a school that she is really interested in their school and program. She is going to two programs that are at the top of her list for their VB camps in just a couple of weeks. Both have been to watch her a number of times at tournaments and have sent emails back and forth. Should we expect them to broach the subject more firmly with her while at Camp? Should she broach the subject herself if they don't? One is definitely her dream school, both with VB and academically and she should easily qualify on the academic side. We just aren't sure how we approach it at this point. Thanks for any insight!


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