When is it too late to contact a coach?

<p>Here's my son's story. He's a senior with a B average and 2020 SAT. He's been wrestling for the last two years and showed some signs of greatness, but also got slowed down by some injuries. By the end of his junior year he had received only minimal interest from college coaches. And, he wasn't sure he even wanted to wrestle in college. </p>

<p>Now, in his senior year, he's off to a great start and his coach says he thinks he's good enough for a DI team. And his attitude is changing as his performance has taken off. He's thinking of trying for Duke and looking at other DI schools. </p>

<p>He's applied to seven Tier 2 colleges without wrestling teams and has been accepted at two of them and will probably get into all seven. He didn't apply to Duke or any DI wrestling programs, because he wasn't counting on doing so well this year.</p>

<p>Let's say he continues to have a great season. After the season ends, would it be too late to contact a coach with his highlight reel for fall admission?</p>

<p>And, FWIW, he doesn't need an athletic scholarship.</p>

<p>Sure. It's certainly worth a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.</p>

<p>Have you son get his application into Duke and the other D1 schools and began contacting the coaches when you feel your story is compelling enough to tell. Also have your son take the SATs again in January with a deliberate focus on raising the scores a bit.</p>

<p>Can't speak about college wrestling, but I can speak a little about other sports and college 'recruiting', and I do know a little about wrestling itself, having wrestled in HS.</p>

<p>First off, the chances that he will receive any help in the admissions office at this point from a D1 coach are probably slim. So, if you're looking for wrestling to help him get into a D1 school, well.... it's a reach. With that said, I can't figure out why he wasn't interested in going to Duke before, as it wasn't like he was holding off applying there because he thought he had a better chance to wrestle at a 'lower level' school, as you said that the schools he's currently applying to don't even offer wrestling. Duke has plenty to offer as a college even without athletics, needless to say.</p>

<p>So, the best you're likely to get is a coach saying that, if your son is admitted to his college, he'll give him a chance to try to work his way onto a team. So, you'll be looking for a college where a coach doesn't have so many wrestlers already lined up (via ED or simply from returning wrestlers) at your son's anticipated weight classification that it isn't worth his while to have your son even try out. I do not know whether many or any colleges even offer open tryouts.</p>

<p>But, as OS points out, there's nothing to lose. But, if the availability of a chance for your son to try out is a factor in your decisionmaking as to which schools to apply to RD, you've got to hurry. I'd go to the team's website and see if there's a questionnaire to fill out. Then email the coach with a resume showing the kid's size weight, weight lifting stats (I'm presuming), athletic accomplishments and his chances to get into the school on his own, and include a link to a brief (no more than 3 minute) YouTube video with highlights (if available) and maybe a brief (30 second?) comment from his coach about what kind of wrestler, worker and teammate he is, if you can. </p>

<p>If there's only one or two schools at which he's thinking of wrestling at (i.e., schools that both offer wrestling and are in his sweet spot academically), then it might not be worthwhile to spend the time to pull together the video until you know if there's even a possibility of him being able to wrestle. What you can do is to have him email with the 'resume' and say something to the effect of "I know it's late, but I've had a breakout senior season and know am confident that I can compete at your school's level, and I'd like the chance to talk to you about the possibility of working my way onto the team." If the kid's resume-displayed accomplishments are reasonably near what the coach needs AND the coach doesn't have all available spots locked up at your son's weight, there's a good chance he'll respond with an email to the effect of, "Here's my number, call me." If there's no chance or no spot, the coach may simply tell you that, or at best say, "We have tryouts on August __; call me before then and we'll see our needs then and give you details." (A lot of injuries can occur between now and August.) Remember, coaches are in the business of both recruiting kids and saying 'no' to kids, and won't take umbrage if you approach them. (And if they do, who gives flying bleep, right?) But your son has to be prepared to hear 'no'; that's life - how many job seekers in today's economy hear 'no' from companies 40 or 50 times before landing something? (I have an accomplished and talented relative who was out of work for two years before he landed a great job with a huge software company.)</p>

<p>My son's in a similar situation with baseball, and, because his academics likely will put him someplace where his athletic skills can't keep up, probably will play only 'club' ball. Still, we've spent a ton of time and a fair amount of money taking a shot at academically-'elite' D3 schools and don't begrudge it. Why? Because he won't - like many do - have to look back and say, "Gee, I wish I'd given it a shot."</p>

<p>So, sure, get out there and contact coaches NOW. Don't sacrifice the time he needs for his fall finals or general schoolwork, but it doesn't take that much time if you help, as you've started to do by posting here. For those schools with EA or ED, there's a good chance that the coach just finished with getting (or failing at getting) his recruits past admissions (or a recruit has suddenly told him, "Sorry, I just got admitted ED at another school"), and for those weight classes where he's short of wrestlers he's probably now working on his Plan B recruits to get them apply RD or ED2 on January 1st (or whenever), so you want to be in that mix now.</p>

<p>Another thought - your son's grades/scores put him at a level where there are hundreds of good colleges around the country that are potential matches academically. Try to find out which offer wrestling, and go from there. Since he's not likely to get a recruitment bump in admissions, Duke sounds like a real reach for him. His SAT score is barely above the 25th percentile of last year's Duke entering class, and his grades won't give him a bump up. And that bottom 25th percent is usually URMs (under-represented minorities), legacies, and recruited athletes, or maybe kids with incredible extra-curriculars or bad-luck stories. So, I'm betting his chances of succeeding at admissions, sports and fun will be better elsewhere. </p>

<p>Even if he were to get into Duke, he likely would be a near-basketcase trying to keep up with academics [remember, 75% of his peers came in with better scores] and the training demands of a top D1 school. Is that worthwhile if he's essentially a walk-on and may not actually get to compete much? </p>

<p>Obviously, you'll want to get onto the NCAA.org site and get your kid registered there, and get transcripts and scores sent there.</p>

<p>Good luck and share with us what you hear.</p>

<p>I don't have a clue about wrestling recruiting, but in baseball the recruitng musical chairs can continue literally until the week before freshman year begins - in some schools. I know of one player (personal knowledge) who received offers from UC berkley and Indiana University weeks after graduating from HS. (Recruited walk-on spot.) He chose Indiana. Applications were rushed through and he was admitted. Many schools do not have what amounts to an "athletes admission track" operating so far outside normal deadlines. But for some schools, recruiting never sleeps; there is always room for talented athletes somewhere.</p>

<p>As long as he has not been officially rejected by the college, it's never too late. Know of three cases who received admission of the wait list in May/June with coaches' help (for two the college required deferral, though). So, yes, apply and contact the coaches.</p>

<p>Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply so far. The info has been helpful to us in clarifying what to do right now.</p>

<p>@UrsaMajoric:</p>

<p>Thanks especially to you for your lengthy and well thought out response. To explain the situation re: Duke would take an even longer post, so here's the short version. My son started wrestling at summer camp before 10th grade. He immediately got great feedback and had big injuries. Both trends continued through 11 grade. By the beginning of this year he wasn't even sure he was going to wrestle again this season. He applied to colleges in his "sweet spot," as you say, and didn't even consider wrestling. </p>

<p>With a B average and a less than amazing sports record Duke isn't even a reach. So he never thought about it. This season started and he's wrestling better than ever. Now he's thinking that wrestling for four years at college would be a good thing to do. And now, for the first time it's rational to consider Duke.</p>

<p>@ stemit and beenthere2:</p>

<p>This is really great news and I guess, pretty much what we were hoping to hear.</p>

<p>So I think the strategy as of today is for him to forget about college for a few months and get the most out of wrestling. Then, if he has an amazing season, he'll have time to connect with DI coaches. If he has a good season he'll have time to connect with DIII coaches.</p>

<p>Or he'll go to one of his "sweet spot" schools and do things other than wrestle.</p>

<p>We'll continue to monitor this thread so please keep the suggestions coming.</p>

<p>If anyone wants to see his highlights video contact me b/c and I'll send you a link.</p>

<p>Whoa! Bird, I don't think Stemit and Beenthere are saying to "forget about college for a few months and get the most out of wrestling." He still needs to get the applications to the schools in ON TIME (and for Duke that's January 2nd) and contact the coaches so that - if a need arises - he's already there on their depth charts. After you get that part of the process rolling, then, yes, you can focus back on his wrestling a little bit and maybe lightning will strike later in the Winter or Spring. </p>

<p>As far as Duke goes, you seem to be saying that his success at wrestling may bring it within his reach even though his grades would otherwise make him extremely unlikely to get in. I don't know about Duke specifically, but other schools of its ilk don't reach down all that far to scoop up students unless they're superstar athletes and/or in major sports. Because of your son's injury history and late-blooming status, it doesn't seem likely that a coach in a minor sport would or could exert much weight with the admissions office for him. I'm not trying to discourage him, but saying that he may well find a better fit elsewhere. </p>

<p>But I'm guessing. The best thing to do is to contact the coaches at Duke and elsewhere today. They may be going on Christmas vacations and soon (now??!) may not be in much of a position to respond so as to give you an idea of your son's chances of making their squads. If you've already got the video done, you can pass along the YouTube link in your email.</p>

<p>PS - Bird, I've sent you a PM</p>

<p>Ursa is right. Get the applications in, contact the coaches, and keep them updated whenever anything good happens sports-wise or academic-wise. You don't want to be annoying, but they may not even respond at first, so a second or third update may be ok.
Oh, an dall this has to come from the kid's email.</p>

<p>Getting picked up after an athlete has graduated from HS is a long shot - while I know of one personally, that anecdotal evidence is not the norm. </p>

<p>Apply to colleges in the normal course - x number of reaches, z number of schools you think you can get in, and y number of safety schools. You could overlay your application decisions with schools which have wrestling teams so the result would be to apply to schools where your son could try out for the team when he gets there. If he is not satisfied with the results after admissions decisions come out, put down the deposit on the best result and continue to look for the school which may have some room on the wrestling roster.</p>

<p>Another alternative would be the JUCO touted for a year (if he is a qualified). (And if you haven't done so, he needs to be registered and cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse.) That would allow him to develop and maybe improve his wrestling and grades.</p>

<p>juco for a year isn't a bad option. </p>

<p>he could also now go right ahead and email film links to the college coaches of many colleges that are of interest to him. that way they can follow him through his season possibly. better to contact them now rather than later, jmho.</p>

<p>at this point, i would not spend any more time applying to coaches unless he has been in contact with the wrestling coaches at the college.</p>

<p>Condor, when you say, "I would not spend any more time applying to coaches unless he has been in contact with the wrestling coaches at the college", I assume this is a mis-speak and you mean that he should "not spend any more time applying to colleges..." The problem is that it sounds like he hasn't been talking with ANY college coaches yet, and he has little time to do so, as most colleges' regular decision deadline is at the beginning of January. This is one reason that I suggest that the initial approach be phrased as "here I am, can I call you?" This way, he can hopefully have a two-way dialogue with the coach and that way find out instantly what kind of openings that the program has and, therefore, at least make a first cut as to whether or not it is worthwhile to think at all of applying to that school.</p>

<p>Thanks again for the new information. My wife, my son and I have all read the entire thread and started to discuss where he is. So far, the consensus seems to be that he put so much energy into the first round of college applications that he doesn't have the energy to start a second search now.</p>

<p>He'll do the best he can this season and see if any coaches come to him. He'll be at a pretty high level camp next week and he'll keep his ears open. We don't know if any college coaches will be there, but certainly there will be people who know the coaches. And they'll be able to give him better feedback on who and what might be reasonable.</p>

<p>Also I remembered that two of the seven colleges he's applied to have wrestling teams - he wasn't even thinking about that when he applied - so that might be the resolution.</p>

<p>yep, meant to say colleges.</p>

<p>Have you thought about a PG year at a prep school? Most boarding schools have PG classes that are a second senior year often given to athletes who need more academic seasoning. At Exeter for example they have not had a "hone grown" quarterback of their varsity football team in anyone's memory--always a PG kid. </p>

<p>The present coach of the Pats who says he graduated from Andover is telling the truth-- what his biographies leave out is that the Andover graduation was his second high school graduation after he finished an Annapolis High School but wasn't quite ready for one of the top LACs. After his PG year he was.</p>

<p>Doing this will allow him the senior year break out season to "count," will improve him academically, and will allow the college advisors at the prep school to help. All of the PGs I have met through my D's school have been wonderful kids who have benefitted a great deal from the extra year. None of her PG friends have regretted it at all. And those like her who have been there since prep year welcome them completely as part of their class. Seriously, consider it.</p>

<p>@etondad:</p>

<p>Thanks for your input. Every point you say makes sense. So much so that the same line of reasoning has crossed our minds already. The only problem is that my son is at a boarding school now and can't wait to get out. No way he agrees to a PG year.</p>

<p>And while I don't mind spending $50,000 a year for each of my kids if it's necessary, anything that delays my retirement another $50,000 better be really necessary.</p>

<p>Also, as stemit and condor 30 have said, a lot of that could be accomplished via a juco year or two.</p>

<p>PG year a good option but u should also send video links to any coaches at schools you think you'd consider with a brief email. make sure it comes from son and not from you! then see who bites....i thought most recruiting is done by ED but that could just be the top scholar athletes, dunno. agree with post: nothing ventured, nothing gained but remember, the process can't consume you - the grades and results have to be there</p>

<p>I have no idea about NCAA rules on eligibility if he goes the juco route--does it reduce the number of years--if so that may make him less attractive to a coach-- seriously I have no idea. </p>

<p>I suppose you could do as most English students do regardless if they have a place at uni or not, and do a "gap year." He could work, train with a local club, travel--all of that helps. The data from the Harvard admissions deans are that students who take a gap year are statistically happier and better prepared to deal with the stressors of college-- probably a combo of being a year more mature and also having a break so as to make the return that much sweeter...</p>

<p>visit the website "recruitingrealities.com"</p>

<p>there's some good tips there. basically, there are schools across the country who need student athletes to fill their rosters. it's necessary that the student athlete contact them and let them know about them because some of these schools do not have the huge recruiting budgets. as others suggest, a email with video link will do the trick. be sure to include gpa and ACT/SAT score in the email and even better in the video. it's a numbers game. he might contact 10 schools and only get 1 response. but you never know about that one response. that coach may not have a need for him but he may have a coach friend at a school somewhere else who is looking for someone just like your son. it's best to be pro active and send the emails and video links. start now also contacting the juco's. he could go 1 year juco and then transfer. jmho but it's a mistake to not go ahead and contact coaches at schools now. they can't follow his season if they don't know about him. some coaches if interested will ask him to have his unofficial transcript sent to them. it's a back and forth kind of thing and what you are wanting is a line of communication going between the student and the coach. start establishing that now. email is a wonderful thing :) keep in mind that it's also a trickle down thing. coach A may not have any interest now but in a month after he finds out recruit 1 isn't going to come to his school, he'll move down his list and contact more recruits. jmho, but the different levels (d1, d2, d3, juco's, naia) all have their own time lines. it's not too late for your son to start communicating with coaches of all levels. he really needs to get the ball rolling now with the emails (jmho).
competing in a juco program does use up 1 year of his eligibility unless he is injured and doesn't compete. do wrestling programs red shirt?</p>

<p>@condor30:</p>

<p>Thanks, I went to the website. It's good - from our perspective - to know that there always a lot of coaches who are having trouble filling their rosters. Since my son isn't demanding a scholarship, that could make things a lot easier in the spring.</p>

<p>I get the point about contacting coaches earlier rather than later, but there's only so much psychological energy to go around. So for now, there won't be any major research on where the best programs are. But, for instance, if he meets or hears about some program of interest at wrestling camp next week, he'll follow up on that.</p>

<p>And we decided that he'll apply to Pittsburgh now. He'll probably get in on academics and, if he improves this year, can be a walkon - or rather try out to be a walkon there.</p>

<p>without a doubt, athletic recruiting is not generally a haphazard game of luck. many think it's a "back door" to better schools but they obviously are unaware of the amount of time and energy that goes in to the back and forth courtship between player and coach ---let alone peak performance under athletic and academic pressure. if you want to go this route, u must be aggressive. make the video, draft an email and send to coaches. you gotta be in to to win it.</p>