Coaches recruit ‘gifted’ students, athletes

Coaches recruit gifted students, athletes

by Sara Sonderman

There is a number of qualities a coach looks for when they are recruiting a Division III student-athlete.

“At Simpson we set high standards,” head athletic director and baseball coach John Sirianni said. “We look for someone who is a gifted student academically and athletically, but also an overall good person to be around.”

Depending on the particular sport and the season it is being played determines when a coach begins the recruiting process.

“The problem with basketball is that our seasons overlap with each other,” head women’s basketball coach Brian Niemuth said. “Usually if one of our coaching staff is unable to see them play we make sure to get them on a campus visit.”

According to Niemuth, by getting his prospective student-athletes on campus he is able to sell himself, the quality of the program and the overall atmosphere of what Simpson has to offer.

Because track and field is done in the spring, head coach Tim Byers finds other ways to meet his recruits.

“I actually go and watch my recruits basketball games if they play. If they are some of my top recruits I will try to see them as early as first semester,” Byers said.

So where do coaches discover probable student-athletes?

“In baseball we look at All-State selections, we call professional scouts who evaluate the athlete for us, and we also talk to a number of umpires,” Sirianni said.

Byers also said that he receives information by word of mouth, state qualifiers and also from former alumni.

One problem Niemuth noted was that there are approximately 20-30 schools in Iowa going after the same athletes.

“We have had to expand our recruiting out of the state of Iowa. Between the Iowa Conference and all of the Junior Colleges around the state it is impossible not to look to other states,” Niemuth said.

Each sport at Simpson has a general recruiting budget and there is a separate budget for phone calls and mailing.

Junior Tarra Rawdon is this year’s undergraduate recruiting coordinator at Simpson.

“The coaches give me a rough draft letter and I type it up and have them proof-read it before we send it out. Then we send packets and books that Sports Information Director Matt Turk makes up,” Rawdon said.

“After a visit we make a thank you letter and then make grids for each sport so the information is easier to access.”

At the Division III level there are no athletic scholarships available.

“We normally send out about 150 questionnaires each year and get about 8-10 athletes to come here,” Niemuth said. “We usually have to wait until the late spring or early summer to have the athletes commit because they are waiting for their financial package to come through.”