After months of emails back and forth, conversations at clinics, and phone calls, I had finally done it! I had verbally committed to my dream school, Wesleyan University, to play volleyball. It had everything I was looking for — great academics, an awesome campus vibe, and a great volleyball program. In October of my senior year of high school, I organized an overnight visit with my future coach to spend time on campus and getting to know my teammates. I was ecstatic to visit, and the entire drive up with my mom we raved about the school and how exciting playing for the team was going to be.
When my mom and I arrived at Wesleyan, our first stop was my coach’s office. As my mom peppered her with questions, I took a look around her office; I noticed it was covered in photos, plaques, and memorabilia, all memories from her 30+ years as head coach. Behind her sat a huge whiteboard filled with notes, drills, and diagrams — it was clear to me she had a lot of experience, this made me excited to think about my first season as a Cardinal.
As we wrapped up our meeting and I gathered my belongings, my coach exhaled slowly and said, “Madeleine, before you go meet your teammates, there is something you should know.” My heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach, and I immediately began to think worst case scenario. Had my acceptance been revoked? Did she no longer want me on the team? “I am retiring this year,” she said, “so I will not be your coach. We are in the process right now of finding a new head coach for the program, so we will let you know as soon as we have found a new coach.” I was completely shocked; throughout my entire recruiting process, not once did she mention the possibility of her retiring. I could not believe I was only finding out after I had already decided to apply early decision and ended the recruiting process with every other school I had been talking to. I felt utterly blindsided, mainly because I had spent so much time building a relationship with a coach that was never going to coach me. After the shock, the first emotion that rippled through my body was fear; suddenly all of my hopes and dreams of what my collegiate volleyball experience was going to be had flown out the window, and what faced me in the future felt so uncertain. Before I verbally committed I felt as though I had so much say, especially in what type of program and what type of coach I was going to play for, and I now felt trapped.
I tried to recover from this blow, but I could not stop thinking about it as I left my coach to meet the team. Walking over to the dining hall, I felt as though I was going to cry — the news felt like a punch in the gut, and I now felt more scared than excited about applying early decision. When I walked into the dining hall, however, I was greeted by one of my teammates, Sarah, who immediately ran over to me and gave me a huge hug. She welcomed me with open arms and brought me over to the rest of the team, who were all sitting together in the dining hall. Even though I was staring at 12 unfamiliar faces, everyone was smiling at me and immediately made me feel so welcomed; they asked me about my interests, gave me advice on what classes to take, and made me feel included in all of their inside jokes. They were all so approachable and kind, which eased my worries about the change in coaching staff — even if I didn’t know who would be coaching me, I at least knew I would be surrounded by an inclusive and friendly group of girls.
While I briefly considered not applying early decision after finding out about the coaching change, I ultimately decided to apply. A few months after getting accepted to Wesleyan I found out who the new coach was — he was previously the head coach of Roger Williams College. He had transformed their program for the better and was now coming to bring the same winning culture to Wesleyan. To this day, I am so grateful that I still decided to apply to Wesleyan, and I now have a great group of teammates and an awesome head coach.
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.