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Over the last several years we’ve had the incredible opportunity to interview college coaches from all over the country, at every level and in almost every sport. Every interview is different and I believe our readers have learned a lot about the recruiting process from every answer. I firmly believe that when you want the answer to a specific question or you need advice, you should ask the experts, so that’s what we’ve been doing! For this week’s recruiting tip, here’s some great recruiting advice on three different topics, from three different college coaches.
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Louisville Cardinals head coach Dan McDonnell heads to the dugout after meeting the umpires prior to the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, in 2017. (Photo: Bruce Thorson, USA TODAY Sports)
Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell
Question: Does the scholarship amount you offer a young man predict his playing time?
Answer: Not at all. This is not a situation where mom or dad is running the booster club, therefore their son has to play type thing! This is the best players are going to be on the field type thing. Scholarship or no scholarship, playing time will never be determined by anything other than who the best nine players are, on any given day. As a staff, we are extremely transparent with our guys during the recruiting process. We don’t make promises and we make sure we’re very clear that if you get on the field at Louisville, it’s because you’ve earned it.
For us to recruit you and make you an offer simply means we like you and we feel you have a great opportunity here. But, understand that you’ve got to perform. You’ve got to produce between the lines. We want to win championships and get you ready for pro ball. If we played you based on your scholarship amount, we’d be doing you a tremendous disservice. That’s just not how baseball works at the college level and beyond.
FSU softball coach Lonnie Alameda at the Unconquered Campaign announcement. (Photo: Wayne McGahee III, Tallahassee Democrat
Florida State Softball Coach Lonni Alameda
Question: What separates the best players from everyone else?
Answer: A commitment to growth is what separates the most successful athletes from the rest, regardless of the sport they play. But, that’s life, too. Successful people are constantly growing. They’re constantly learning. You always hear about the blue-chip athletes and how impactful they’re going to be at the next level. Yes, the physical component is big, and you would rather have it, than not. But any good coach will tell you that it’s not just about getting those kids into their program.
A team full of blue-chippers that are content with where they’re at isn’t going to win you a lot of games. It’s about getting the kids that are always striving to get better. They want more for themselves and more for their teammates. It’s hard to define success with one word or one idea. But I am certain that as long as you see consistent growth, success won’t be too far behind.
Mississippi Rebels infielder Errol Robinson (6) hugs head coach Mike Bianco after the loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in game twelve of the 2014 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Virginia defeated Mississippi 4-1. (Photo: Steven Branscombe, USA TODAY Sports)
Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco
Question: Tell me something you would want every high school athlete to know about the college recruiting process.
Answer: Quite honestly, we pay attention to how you fail. If we’re recruiting you, it’s a given that you have some physical talent. So, we pay attention to the moments you wouldn’t want us to see, or the moments you don’t think we’re watching you. How do you handle a strikeout? Do you run out fly balls? Do you have that competitive spirit during the pregame in and out? Most guys we recruit haven’t experienced a lot of failure, prior to getting to Ole Miss. And, I would say that’s typical for most college programs, too. If you want to play college baseball, especially for a school in one of the power five conferences, you’ve got to be mentally tough. You have to be able to handle tremendous adversity and there has to be a fire inside you that is undeniable to anyone who watches you play.