Division III athletic recruiting is tougher and much longer than you would think for college coaches

For those that want to continue playing athletics in college while getting a strong education, looking at the Division III level may be worth it.  Athletes don’t exactly aspire to be Division III athletes but those that plays sports at this level are true competitors who are basically playing for free.

But what many athletes who are being recruited by Division III coaches don’t realize is how difficult it is for the coaches.  They are not making the millions of dollars like Urban Meyer or Nick Saban and never are for sure that their recruits are 100% coming to the school until they show up in August.  I tracked down an interesting article about how difficult it is for some of these Division III coaches.

This older article was written out of a newspaper based in Iowa.  The state of Iowa has a number of Division III colleges that seem to go after many of the same in-state recruits.  Here are some of the most interesting quotes with a little commentary:

“It seems sometimes coaching is minor compared to recruiting,” said Coe head coach Steve Staker.

While coaching is always vital at any level, if you don’t have talent, then you likely are not going to be that successful.  You can only do so much with a team that is laden with athletes who have no abilities.  So you do have to put in a ton of time tracking down the best players.

“I have friends at D-I colleges who say they’ll never go back to Division III,” said Cornell College Coach Vince Brautigam. “Because the recruiting is just never ending.”

“Until you see the whites of their eyes, you don’t really know what your recruiting class is,” Brautigam said.

I think this is the best quote of the article.  An athlete could tell multiple Division III schools he is coming to their school.  What is exactly going to stop him outside of trying to stay true to his word?  There is nothing binding outside of not being able to get your deposit back.

The phone is the D-III coach’s best friend. While there are “dead” periods in Division I and II, D-III coaches can call or have in-person contact any time with seniors in high school.

“It is a year-around thing for us,” Staker said. “Division I and Division II have these windows where they can do and can’t do certain things. Where they can go watch these kids play or talk to the parents. We can call them all the time, we can visit them all the time, we can watch them play basketball games or go to track meets at any time.”

These coaches can do all this and but some don’t.  I know there are some coaches at this level who don’t do all that much recruiting and make the assistants do the bulk of it.  It really depends from school to school.  I do know that if there is a coach who really gets after it, he can bring in some top notch recruits because of putting in a ton of time on the road and on the phone.

“Everything starts early,” said Luther Coach Mike Durnin. “You’re spending more time developing that relationship. That’s one of our advantages, to get to know that person and develop a relationship with him.”

One of the toughest things for Division III coaches all over the country is when they start a relationship early on and a Division II school comes in with a scholarship at the last minute.  A lot of athletes like to say that they got a scholarship for athletics so many of them normally take up the Division II program.

“A lot of people don’t realize it,” Durnin said. “But the heart and desire to be successful is the same at every level.”

A lot of people also don’t realize that there are a lot of good players at the Division III level.  Hard work will be required to be successful even if you are not going to get a scholarship to play.

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