Blogging, e-mails ease recruiting process for coaches

by Brandon OrtaleStaff Writer

The Simpson cross country team is using technology to its advantage. Given the popularity of blogging Web sites such as Myspace and Facebook, the team has created their own blog to assist with recruiting.

Todd Deely, Simpson’s cross country coach for the men and women, described the page as more than a blog with a team picture and other random pictures taken during the season.

“The team puts the content into the page, but I’m the only one that has access to it with a password,” Deely said. “It’s MySpace-like.”

Deely came up with the idea, thinking of how popular sites like these are among high school and college students.

“I think, anyway, we can get information out to high school students through a medium is great,” Deely said. “It seems as though students are comfortable with online interaction, so we need to keep informing them.”

According to Freshmen Jess Christensen, the blog eases Deely’s recruiting proces by allowing him to communicate with multiple prospective students interested in Simpson’s cross country program each week.

“We receive 200 to 250 interests in the cross country program each year,” Deely said. “With the blogs and pictures we can keep people looking here for recruitment and it saves us work.”

Deely hopes to have the blog up and running by the end of this week, and plans to have a new athlete write a blog about topics including their experiences as freshmen, team captain, and as a college athlete in general.

“The blog is just another way to get information out to high school students,” Deely said. “It’s a diary of our season.”

Deely said the content of the page will still need to be approved before it is posted.

“(The blog) still needs approval by me and my boss before I can post it on our cross country page,” Deely said.

Christensen is excited about the blog and what it means to the team.

“The page will be a way to get the word out about who we are,” Christensen said. “It will talk about what we do, how much fun we have, and it brings us unity as a team.”

Christensen finds the blog to be interesting and has even gained knowledge of her teammates.

“I think it’s really cool, because it gives different perspectives of the team and cross country and it’s not one-sided,” Christensen said. “It’s interesting to see how other teammates think, since we don’t usually talk about cross country stuff.”

Dunning thinks it’s a good tool to get recruits here and that it’s very accessible.

“It’s an easier way to decide if Simpson’s cross country program is for them,” Dunning said.

Deely feels the page will be beneficial to recruiting and will be fun for the team to create. He said he does have to be careful about what is written in it.

“Eventually, anything put on the page represents Simpson College,” Deely said. “I do feel high school students would go on it. It is a good way to just keep the recruits updated.”

Other Simpson coaches must develop their own tactics to recruit players during the off-season as well. Bob Darrah, head women’s golf coach, openly admits the difficulty of finding new additions to his team.

Recruitment is the toughest job as a coach,” Darrah said.

When recruiting women to play for Storm athletics, Darrah encourages them to visit, stay overnight with some of the women, go out and have pizza and maybe go to a basketball game.

Darrah also points out that, when it comes to recruiting, while the athletes he searches for may not be Division I material, they are still solid Division III athletes. He doesn’t try to recruit too many golfers, due to the size of Simpson’s team and lack of a JV schedule.

“Most school budgets for golf in Division III can’t afford to have (a) JV schedule,” Darrah said.

According to Darrah, most of the coaches will communicate with possible recruits through phone calls and e-mail but typically will only contact someone interested three- to four times. After this initial communication, it’s up to the prospective student to make the decision to play golf for Simpson.

“I just will be honest with them and try to entice them to come, ” Darrah said.