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September 21, 2021

Recruiting Horror Stories™: The Coach Who Enjoyed Making Recruits Cry

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**Recruiting Horror Stories are posted every Tuesday to provide athletes’ first-hand experiences of what can go wrong during the recruiting process.

Since I was little, I dreamed of stepping on a college campus and talking with coaches about reaching my goal: playing college basketball. During the fall of my junior year, I began taking unofficial visits for basketball. After a long summer of training, AAU tournaments, and speaking with coaches, it was finally time for the fun part of the recruiting process. I was fortunate to have been recruited by a wide range of Division I and Division II schools and I needed to start taking official visits and making important decisions about my future. 

My First Division I Visit
When I arrived on campus for my first Division I visit, I was met by the assistant coach who had been recruiting me. All of my contacts had been with her as she attended many of my AAU games, reached out through social media, and called me to schedule the visit. Even though my adrenaline and nerves were running high, I was so excited to be on my first Division I visit. My initial impression of the coaching staff and school was great. The facilities were beautiful, everyone on campus was nice, and I connected well with the team. 

After a long day filled with a campus tour, meeting with admissions, team lunch, and speaking with the assistant coaches, it was time to meet with the head coach. Coming into the visit, I did some research on the school to make sure I was familiar with the program and school. However, little did I know I should have researched the coach and his history as well.

Related: How to Prepare for Your College Visits 

Meeting the Head Coach
The meeting started out great. I remember us laughing, talking about the visit, and asking questions about the team and culture. It was then, however, time for the coach to ask me questions. He had three to four questions pertaining to his old program’s record, their mascot, and questions about him. Fortunately, I did my research beforehand and was able to get some right, but that was not good enough. 

The Coach Enjoyed Making Recruits Cry?
Following my response, the coach looked at me upset and asked, “Why are you even here?” Confused to his response, I apologized and politely responded that I was in the process of learning about the different coach’s recruiting me. He continued with “If you do not feel the need to get to know me, why should I get to know you?” in an aggressive tone. He went on to say “You are one of the only girls I have ever had not leave the meeting crying, so congrats.” Not knowing what to do, I looked at my parents stunned at the way this meeting was going. This was my third visit and I had never seen anything like this before. The coach enjoyed seeing if his recruits would cry?

Related: Recruiting Hid a Toxic, Unhealthy Culture

Advice
The tense mood only lasted a few moments, but I began to question this school’s program and culture. No person, especially a coach on a first meeting, should come in with the intent to make a recruit cry. I was scared off and had no intention of keeping contact with this program. One piece of advice I was always given throughout the recruiting process was “go where you are valued and wanted.” I did not feel valued, and I surely felt pushed away rather than wanted. 

A Happy Ending
I used this experience as a driving force in knowing what I wanted out of a program. I wanted passion for the game and coaches who would push me past my limits, but I also wanted to have a positive relationship with my coach. I continued going on visits and committed to a school that I love. I have the best relationship with my coaches and teammates, and as for the other coach, he ended up getting fired not long after our meeting. I can now look back on this experience, thankful it happened and it led me to choosing the school that was right for me.

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE