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Did You Know with Brian Shawn

Brian Shawn Columnist for Bison Illustrated Magazine

Recruiting never stops… Never.

It can get heated and it can get ugly, especially at the Division I level. I still think it is one of the most difficult tasks as a coach, no matter what the sport.

 

“To be a good coach, you have to be a good recruiter. It’s really the life blood of a program.”

It is simply amazing how National Signing Day has turned into such an event. So much work goes into trying to project what an athlete will do in five years with your program. Coaches have to ask themselves what they value most. Is it athleticism? Character? Durability? Size? Speed? Attitude? Strength? Work ethic? Leadership? Intangibles? Most coaches would say “All of the above,” but it’s just not that simple. The evaluation process is extensive and exhausting and even after all the hours put in, there are no guarantees. As soon as you go through the whole process and announce a signing class, it’s already time to recruit for next year. There’s a lot of pressure for the coaches.

I look at what coaches at NDSU have to deal with when it comes to stocking up talent for the future and would love to know how many miles are traveled by the entire athletic department in a calendar year, specifically for recruiting. My guess is hundreds of thousands.

The challenge can be geography. And although most of the athletes at NDSU are from North Dakota and Minnesota, recruiting nationally to remain competitive is critical.

Nick Goeser is the Recruiting Coordinator for Bison football and got the job in mid-December with the coaching shake-up. After winning the national championship in early January, Goeser and the remaining coaches on the Bison staff spent every single weekday that month on the road recruiting and every single weekend hosting recruits. That’s what it takes. You have to be relentless.

I spent one day just looking through the team rosters of every sport at NDSU. There are student-athletes from 20 different states.

The NDSU softball staff should have plenty of frequent flyer miles from all the trips to California with over half the roster hailing from the Sunshine State.

There is also plenty of international flavor as well. Baseball, soccer and track have athletes from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Women’s basketball has a pair of Australians; women’s track has a sprinter from Trinidad & Tobago and men’s golf even has a guy from Spain. (I’d be happy to take the next recruiting trip there.)

To be a good coach, you have to be a good recruiter. It’s really the life blood of a program. But it’s not a perfect process and developing the talent you have is equally as important. We’ve seen highly-touted recruits wash out and walk-ons become All-Americans. My hat’s off to collegiate coaches, there is no way I could do your jobs.

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