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D111 - how much influence/pull does head football coach have?

mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
Please bear with me - this is all new to me & I feel like my head is swirling but need some insight/opinion/help/advice.

Background: HS senior being recruited by small d111 private top notch liberal arts & science school. They found him during football season.He sent film. There were a few emails back & forth. He was invited on unofficial visit. Did that. Son liked what he saw(academics & athletics) on his unofficial visit. He applied. One of the coaches came to town to meet with him for breakfast(he was meeting with other players from other HS in our area as well). Coach said they were very interested. Asked some about grades, future plans etc. Also met with him again & a few other players at his HS.

Son was invited on official visit. During one part of the official visit, head coach came and sat down with our family for Q&A. Head coach visited with very few other families. It appeared he made it a point to visit with us. Son felt great about the visit.

Son sent head coach thank you email for the official visit(.cc'd the other coaches) Head Coach responded by saying he was glad son enjoyed visit, etc and his last exact words were 'We want you here'.

In the meantime, son had phone interview with assigned admissions counselor. He sent a thank you as well. Counselor wrote back hoping to get us a decision as soon as they get 7 semester transcript which will be sent this week hopefully.

Son's ACT scores do not meet this schools requirements. We have done all we can at this point(essays, recommendations from teachers, counselors, etc.) I felt he should have retested for ACT to bring his score up but he was stubborn and didn't retake. Now he tells me he wishes he had retaken them. Then tells me that he registered to take the next ACT test in 2 weeks - but is on standby testing so not sure if he will be able to get a seat! I hear a big glass of pinot noir calling my name!!

Finally, my question: How much influence do D111 head coaches have when it comes to admissions? If the head coach wants my son - what kind of input will he have? Do the coaches view transcripts, essays, recommendations, etc?

We are learning as we go through this process so I apologize in advance if it's too much info. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!









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Replies to: D111 - how much influence/pull does head football coach have?

  • varskavarska Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    edited January 2015
    In D3, some coaches have a great deal of influence and are able to support kids through the admission process. The standard disclaimer is that they can promise nothing, but if the academics are reasonably within range, the coach support can be very strong - at some schools.

    At other schools, the coach has very little or zero support. He may still 'recruit', to get you to apply and sell the school and program, but you'll be on your own in the admissions pile.

    The only way to tell if the coach can offer support and if you are the recipient of it is to ask him.
  • mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thank you for your response. My son's ACT composite score is below what is listed as a requirement on their website. by quite a bit. The admissions counselor indicated that he wanted to look at his 7 semester transcript and then hopefully have a fairly quick answer for him. He's a good student(A's & B's), had the admissions interview, submitted all the essays, recommendations, etc. It's puzzling to me that they are waiting to see his updated transcript to make a decision because his ACT composite score is not going to change.

    When you say my son should ask him whether he has the coaches support...how do you word that so it sounds polite and respectful?

    Also, it would seem like a waste of time to continue to 'recruit' if there is no chance that he would get accepted. I can certainly understand the recruiting part before you have his transcript, scores, etc but once admissions received his info, I would think it would be a done deal.
  • varskavarska Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    "When you say my son should ask him whether he has the coaches support...how do you word that so it sounds polite and respectful?"

    It's not an unusual question, and one the coach is probably asked frequently. Something along the lines of, 'Coach. I really want to attend _______, but I'm a little concerned about my test scores. Are you able to help support any athletes through the admission process?"
  • mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    This whole process is very confusing. Thank you for putting the question into words. You seem to have tons of insight to this process...If my son's test scores are below the minimum requirements and admissions has had all the proper documents prior to the official visit invitation, what are your thoughts as to why admissions hasn't sent us on our merry way?
  • varskavarska Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    Well, no real great insight here, but it appears the "minimum test score" may not be written in stone. If the OV offer is extended, he apparently passed the first hurdle with admissions. But really, he shouldn't be afraid to call and get some clarification.
  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase Registered User Posts: 487 Member
    Mofp97,

    We've all been through the confusion and pins and needles with athletic recruiting. One thing I can say with authority -- it doesn't matter how many times you have been through it. It is still a lot of work and nothing does away with the anxiety until you find out the official admissions decision.

    That said, typically there are a number of truisms with D3 sports and admissions. 1. At a number of D3 schools, the coaches have significant pull with admissions. The NESCAC is emblematic of coach pull. There are other schools that I understand the coach has less pull with admissions (e.g., the Claremont Colleges, MIT, Chicago, WashU - by reputation). 2. The so-called helmet sports. At D3 schools, more lee-way in admissions is given for the so-called helmet sports. So, for example, let's say your son is at the 25 percentile of ACT scores (meaning that 75% of the admits are above his ACT score), a healthy number of those lower scores may be representative of helmet sports. 3. Coach Experience. My guess is that the coach knows exactly what he needs to do to recruit. He would not be recruiting your son unless he misjudged admissions or he wants to keep your son from being recruited elsewhere (rare, but has been known to have happened). 4. Pre-reads. Pre-reads are great to give an idea to recruits whether they are over their heads or they have a decent shot. I think you are saying that the pre-read was up in the air ("he wanted to look at his 7 semester transcript"). I think this is your answer. It sounds like your son is in the mix, but not a sure thing.

    How can you push things along? If you have not applied ED, have your son tell the coach that he will attend and play football if he is admitted. If you have applied ED, then you are pretty much at the mercy of admissions. Anything more would help your jitters, but may not affect the outcome. Certainly, as Varsky suggests, touch base with the coach. You may get more information from the coach, and I think they are used to trying to calm the athletes. Or, perhaps he knows what your son could do to advance his chances. Other than that -- at this point -- keep your fingers crossed.

  • zenatorzenator Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    I defer to more experienced posters, but hope these additions may be helpful. There are a number of football coaches at non-Ivy D1AA and D3 schools with real pull to make things happen for a limited number of players with sub-standard academics that the coach really wants/needs The problem is to identify whether the coach in question has "real pull" and whether he wants your son really badly. In the absence of a favorable LL or a pre-read, asking the coach directly, as suggested by Varska, is the way to go. If you receive a positive response, then go into "trust but verify" mode. First, go check the roster and confirm that there is not a freshman/sophomore glut at your son's projected position. Next, go to a third party who can confirm the accuracy of what the coach is telling you, such as one or more similarly situated players from your son's HS, who have recently gotten into that particular college or university. Finally, if your son is fortunate enough to play for a really respected and connected HS head coach, ask him to call the college head coach directly to find out where your son really stands.

    By way of caveat, I am new to the football recruiting game as my youngest son is a junior so I am just parroting the advice I am being given. That advice comes from a recent D1AA Ivy coach, a recent D3 coach from a top academic college and present D1AA and D3 football players, who got into amazing colleges with substandard grades and scores. They mostly confirm the insight provided by Varska, Fenwaysouth, Chicagomama and other knowledgeable posters.
  • mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thank you SO much for y'all's input and time!

    I don't believe this coach misjudged admissions. He appears to be right on top of things. He seems like a very sincere man however, this is our first rodeo so I feel pretty naïve. Son was invited on a few other visits(official & unofficial) but we declined because of the expense involved. He has applied to several other colleges but not to play football. After our HS football season - he said he just wanted to focus on academics. He's been playing football since 5th grade. However, once he saw this school and this football program, he was all in! If accepted, he would be there tomorrow!!

    I do agree that my son is somewhere in the mix. And his assigned admissions counselor did say once they received his 7 semester transcript they would have a fairly quick decision so as not string this out any longer.

    We did not apply ED. In my son's Thank you note to the head coach for the OV, he wrote that this school was a perfect fit for him academically and athletically. He also indicated that he has a strong work ethic and felt he would be an asset to his program as he is familiar with this programs blocking schemes and would love the opportunity to grow and learn at this school. I hope that was clear enough for the coach to know that if accepted he would attend. Do you feel that was clear enough?

    I think we will touch base with the coach again. There are so many half-truths and pieces of this puzzle that it gets overwhelming. I want to be sure that we are doing the right things. I'm glad I found this blog. Y'all have given me more insight than anyone.

  • mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thank you for your input Zenator.

    1. We do know, without a doubt, that this program needs players in his position. No glut there.

    2. Unfortunately, we only know 1 person who was accepted - female, different sport.

    3. Unfortunately again, HS head football coach is not interested in helping his athletes - especially his Seniors. Not a good situation. Last years parents have said that he should have retired years ago.
    He is stuck in the 80's. Nice man but doesn't know his players. I've been told he's been best friends with the Superintendent of our district so he's not going anywhere. The past several seasons have been disappointing to say the least.

    4. I agree with all of you, we will contact the head coach.

    Best of luck to your son! This is such a confusing process. I'm so thankful to have found this blog.





  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase Registered User Posts: 487 Member
    mofp97,

    Once you get past all of this, you will be on top of the world -- until you have to do it again (hopefully not). Until then, it is a bumpy ride.

    My view -- for what it is worth -- is that your son should be as direct with the coach as he would like the coach to be with him. I suggest the son telling the coach specifically that if he is accepted, he will attend and play football. Then I would ask the coach if there is anything else that son should do to improve admission chances. The coach will probably say "no," and then it is just a waiting game.
  • mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thank you gointhruaphase. My son emailed the coach. He was very clear, that if admitted, he would play football. Son also asked where the coach see's him in his recruiting process.

    This sure is a bumpy ride. Will most likely have to do this again - at least I will have had some practice and not worry about what to say & what not to say and how to handle things better.

    Once we hear back from the coach, I will post here. Who knows maybe a little of what we've been through could help another family. Again, many thanks for your kindness and patience.
  • BarflyBarfly Registered User Posts: 1,456 Senior Member
    From my experience, the coaches are very clear on the athletes' acceptance odds. My son was told by Ivy League football coaches and a few others exactly the odds (for example, one coach told him that he gets 1/4 of his supported athletes, and that he writes 100 support letters to admissions and will get 25 athletes accepted. But without a support letter, only 7% of applicants are accepted). So asking the coach is your best bet of getting good info.
  • TmvwhvTmvwhv Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Son is in a similar situation. Deferred to regular round by his ed1 choice. Went regular to several others. What he didn't do was specifically ask what his level of support was from the ed1 coach. They were very vague about it. Just before Christmas break a d3 lac coach contacted him to let him know he was visiting son's HS coach at school that day. Blindsided son as there wasn't much contact between himself and said school. Also, son didn't think he was in the ballpark numbers-wise. After break, letter came in the mail offering 100% support from this program and asking son to switch from regular to ed2. Son returned from visit yesterday, where he loved it. This staff has been totally up front (and the only staff to request a meeting with us parents). Fingers crossed until 2/15. All schools involved are d3 LACs, nescac and non-nescac top 100.
  • mofp97mofp97 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Update: Son emailed coach. Made it very clear that if he is admitted he will play ball for him. Asked coach where he saw my son in the recruiting process. Coach responded saying If admitted - he wants him on the team, no doubt about that. Coach also said he was excited to hear that son would attend this school and " hopefully, we'll all get really good news soon."

    So good news, Coach was straight up about wanting my son to play for him.....but the rest of it gives me the willies. I have no idea what it does or doesn't mean and if he knows something and can't say or doesn't know anything at all.

    Anyone want a shot and tell me the gut honest truth?

  • TmvwhvTmvwhv Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Sounds to me like coach didn't want your son bad enough from the get go to use his influence or support for your son. Several schools have told my son that they'd have a spot for him on the team if he got admitted on his own (no support, tip, slot, etc.). You mentioned the "we want you" by the head coach at a meeting. Too vague to be certain. Also, you stated hat son didn't have the numbers for this particular school. Maybe the coach doesn't wanna waste a spot lobbying for him, hoping that admissions will see something in him holistically. The language sounds similar to what we've heard from coaches who didn't have son high on their lists.
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