College High School Recruiting Teammates & Coaches

College recruiting: Intro

Outside of questions directly related to coxing I get more questions and emails about recruiting than just about any other topic. I’ve wanted to do a regular series of posts on recruiting for awhile but got really motivated to finally put something together after I had the chance to listen to three really great talks from some of the top coaches in the country at the two camps I was at this summer.

So, on Tuesdays for the next seventeen weeks there will be a recruiting related post going up that covers nearly everything you need to know. Some of the things that’ll be discussed include the general timeline you should follow, what to do when contacting coaches (with tips on what coaches want to see from the coaches themselves), and what the recruiting process is like for coxswains (from the perspective of a current Ivy League coxswain).

Here are the coaches that participated in the talks at each camp:

Sparks (Middletown, CT):

Marcus McElhenney (9-time National Team coxswain)

Wendy Wilbur (University of Texas women, D1)

Kate Maloney (Williams College women, D3)

Nancy LaRocque (Wisco women, D1)

Kevin MacDermott (Trinity men, D3)

Chris Kerber (Cornell lightweight men, D1)

Michiel Bartman (Harvard lightweight men, D1)

Northeast Rowing Center (Raymond, ME):

John Lindberg (Boston University men, D1)

Ed Slater (Trinity College men, D3)

Graham Willoughby (Brown University men, D1)

Wendy Wilbur (University of Texas women, D1)

Kate Maloney (Williams College women, D3)

Andriel Doolittle (Bates College women, D3)

Holly Metcalf (MIT openweight women, D1)

Three current student-athletes (two rowers and a coxswain) from Brown, Princeton, and Yale

All the recruiting posts that I’ve posted on the blog will be linked at the top of each post but to follow this series specifically you can check out the “college recruiting 101” tag to stay up to date with the latest posts.

I wanted to start this off by sharing some of the initial comments made by a few of the coaches. Coach Lindberg kicked off the panel discussion at NRC by saying that the two most important attributes you can bring to the recruiting process are initiative and sincerity. You’ve gotta take the initiative to contact coaches (because as Marcus said, this isn’t football – the coaches aren’t gonna chase you, you have to chase them), develop those relationships, work hard in school, train hard during the season, etc. and be sincere not only with what you want in an academic program but also what you want out of your collegiate rowing experience.

This was reiterated many times by all the coaches that it is  very easy to differentiate between the kids who are genuinely interested in rowing in college and the ones who are only going through the process in the hopes that this is the golden ticket that gets them admitted somewhere. Holly followed up by saying that you have to define within yourself very clearly if you need to row (as in your college experience will be incomplete without crew) or if you want to row (you enjoyed it in high school and want to keep doing it in some capacity in college).

Recruiting in rowing is a lot more “civilized” than it is with other sports because compared to ones like football, basketball, soccer, and baseball it is very heavily based on academics whereas the other sports are more athletically based. (Not to knock my college team or anything but a good example of this is Cardale Jones’ infamous “we ain’t come here to play school” tweet.)

The academic interests of the recruits will always be first and foremost to the coaches you’re talking to so it’s important that you’re challenging yourself with the classes you’re currently taking and have spent time considering what you might be interested in pursuing in college since those two things will be discussed regularly. The admissions departments of most schools, especially those with outstanding rowing programs, expect the rowers to be good students which is why getting in on skill alone doesn’t fly here.

Image via // @beantownkmd

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