Recruiting out-of-state players difficult, worth effort

by Matt Bower

Most of Simpson’s athletic teams have no more than three out-of-state players on their roster.

The men’s and women’s soccer teams are the exception to the rule. The men’s team currently has 12 out-of-state players on the roster while the women’s soccer team has seven.

On the other hand, four teams consist of athletes entirely from Iowa. Football, volleyball, swimming and women’s golf are all-Iowan.

One of the reasons to account for such low numbers of out-of-state players is not having a large enough staff to send someone to locations outside of Iowa.

“We’ve looked at getting out of state, but staffing-wise we don’t have someone to cut loose to another area,” football coach Jay Niemann said. “Iowa is the top priority.”

Despite not being able to send someone to another area, Niemann said the football team has a contact in Kansas City, Miss.

“We’ve counted on Jason Jones, Fred Jones’s son, down in Kansas City,” Niemann said. “It helps to have someone you know down there [who] can get you names and contacts.”

Niemann said he currently has one commitment from Missouri and hopefully two or three more if things go well, but understands recruiting is not an overnight process.

“Any time you go to a new territory, it can be a slow process,” Niemann said. “Sometimes you go a year or two before you get any out-of-state players.”

Recruiting takes a lot of time and requires a lot of work in order to be done right, but recruiting out-of-state players takes more time and work. It’s not a one-man job.

Women’s basketball coach Brian Niemuth also said he gets help in recruiting out-of-state players.

“We try and use connections down in Kansas City,” Niemuth said. “We also use coaches and current players to help with names and contacts. Sometimes it takes a blind phone call to a coach you don’t know.”

Niemuth said one of the first questions he is always asked is about scholarships.

“Division III is not well-known in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri,” Niemuth said. “You usually need to explain how financial aid works but Simpson is a very good academic school – so if we hold their academic interest, it helps.”

Niemuth said the hardest part with recruiting is getting names and finding out who is interested, but he’s satisfied with the continued recruiting effort.

“We’ve done a nice job with it the past three years,” Niemuth said. “We’re continuing to grow so it’s worth our time and effort.”

Niemuth said recruiting out of state is important because there are only a certain number of players in Iowa, and the competition is fierce.

“We need to try to continue to draw from Missouri,” Niemuth said. “We do draw from Iowa, but you need a bigger pool to draw from and Minnesota and Illinois have not been good in the past.”

Junior Kenie Woodard, a member of the women’s basketball team from Missouri feels out-of state recruitment is important.

“It provides you with variety because people are different from state to state,” Woodard said. “It allows you to mix it up.”

Both Niemuth and Niemann agree it doesn’t really matter where players come from as long as the college gets the best athletes.

“It’s important to get the best players you can and also who fit the Simpson mold,” Niemann said. “Whether it’s from Iowa or somewhere else, what’s important is the quality of the player.”