Jennifer Wilson is the fourth head coach of the Forester women’s hockey program. Wilson coached at Buffalo State, in her first season she guided the team to a 13-11-2 overall record in 2017-18. The team was 9-6-1 in conference play. They earned a home game by placing second in the standings behind perennial national power Plattsburgh State.
Coach Wilson played at Manhattanville College, where she was part of the 2006 ECAC-East Championship team that posted a 23-4-1 record.
LRT Sports: What is the most important quality you look for in a recruit?
Coach Wilson: An individual who is not only a good hockey player but a good person. We look for recruits that are kind to their teammates, respectful of their opponents and have a can’t fail attitude.
LRT Sports: What is the best way for a recruit to get on your radar?
Coach Wilson: An email with your reasons why you are interested in the college. The days of generic mass emails are over! Express why you are truly interested in the college with proper grammar and spelling. If you have a schedule attached to it, if you have a video of you playing (and not just a highlight reel) even better!
LRT Sports: When should an athlete contact you, what is the best way? (age, grade, time of year, email, phone, or other)
Coach Wilson: At the Division 3 level, we pay very little attention to anyone who is not a Junior Status as we can’t discuss our program with them due to NCAA rules. The end of summer heading into the big fall tournament time by email or mail.
LRT Sports: What are your expectations for incoming players in the classroom, in the weight room, and on the ice?
Coach Wilson: We hold our classroom standards very high. You must be a good student and we have a mandatory 3.0 GPA that all must uphold or they will attend 6 study hall hours a week. In the weight room, we take our time to show new recruits and freshmen the proper form and encourage them to ask questions of our strength coaches when they are unsure. A common understanding of general full-body lifts is encouraged prior to coming into the season. On the ice, we are looking to kids who are eager to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Who put the team first and hold themselves accountable on and off the ice.
LRT Sports: What are the do’s and don’ts of being recruited?
Coach Wilson: Do be as honest as you can with a coach. If you have no interest in attending that program..let them know. It will save a headache for both of you. Do take a visit! Most programs can’t sell you verbally what a visual could. Take as many as you can and start those in the summer of your Junior year. Figure out what is important to you (Location, Size, Majors, Student Life etc) and don’t settle for a school that doesn’t meet your standards. Don’t write off a college coach and not respond. You never know when you may need to reach back out to them. The hockey world is a small world and everyone talks…be respectful at all times even when your answer is no. Don’t send mass generic emails and forget to change the mascot or coach’s name. Most will stop reading at the first line. Don’t take it as NOT INTERESTED when a coach doesn’t get back to you right away. We are very busy individuals and may be focused on numerous things. Reach out and express your interest again and make the coach make the decision for you.
LRT Sports: What is the best advice you can offer a recruit?
Coach Wilson: Take the initiative to set a campus visit date. Request this from the coach and have a plan for when you will be there. Contact the admissions department to make sure that you can meet with them as well to get more information on the University. Send videos, stats and, schedules as soon as you get them and remind coaches of when you will be in their area.
LRT Sports: What really jumps out to you when reviewing a recruit’s highlight tape?
Coach Wilson: When reviewing a tape, I like to see what the recruit is doing when he/she doesn’t have the puck or is the main presence of the clip. A highlight reel doesn’t tell me how hard you back-check when you lose the puck, it doesn’t show me your defensive positioning to prevent the other team from scoring. I want to see how you battle into plays and how you react to plays that go poorly. Scoring goals is great and we always like to see a player skate end for end but at this level, you will be forced to use your teammates so let’s see it now!
LRT Sports: What are the main do’s and don’ts for a recruit’s highlight tape?
Coach Wilson: Do have it be of good quality. Watching a film that is jittery and blurry typically will result in a frustrated and motion sick coach. Do make sure that you are circling or highlighting which player you are on the ice at all times. If this service is not available list what number and color jersey you are for each clip and what times you complete what you are trying to showcase. Don’t make a highlight reel. Don’t make it more than 5 minutes. If we see something that we like, we will take the time to come to a full game..no need to film the whole thing.
LRT Sports: When do you recommend recruits put together and share their highlight reels? Is it best to make their highlight reel during offseason, in the middle of the season, or after each game?
Coach Wilson: I recommend that they are constantly adding games to their reels. The end of the season in junior year, start of the season fall and hopefully you have a pretty good idea going into Winter where you will be attending.
LRT Sports: What advice do you have for recruits who get turned down by their dream schools? What are their options if they don’t gain the recruiting attention they desire?
Coach Wilson: Be persistent. I think the best way to keep a coach’s eye on you is to let them know how passionate you are about the school. Take the visits, watch the team play. Ask yourself a very hard question if you can see yourself on that roster…if the answer is no and you don’t have a good relationship with the coach..be open-minded and look at other options. There are dozens of great schools to choose from that may be similar to the things you like about your dream school…don’t pigeonhole yourself into just one school.
LRT Sports: How big a factor is social media when recruiting players? What advice do you have for athletes regarding social media?
Coach Wilson: Everything that is on the internet you can’t take back. If you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to see it…then you shouldn’t be posting it. It’s hard for a recruiting coach to get to know you over the phone or email so a look into your social media sites gives us an impression of who you are. Make it a good one!
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.