Coach Russell’s Ruminations – December

Happy Holidays to all! I’ve just returned from a month on the road recruiting. So, for this for this month’s post, I’d like to share some general thoughts on recruiting, and high school visits.

The month of December tends to be very busy for high school coaches and players as it pertains to football recruiting, particularly in highly recruiting areas. College coaches are in and out of the school all day long. Since, in a way, we’re all in this together, I’ve noticed some things which I think can “help” us all.

Over the years, I’ve encountered some high school coaches who want you to make an appointment, at a specific time, to visit their school and their players. I also know quite a few coaches who don’t mind if coaches just swing by when they’re in the area. Regardless of the high school coach, I lean toward being as organized and regimented as possible; not having my days mapped out from start to finish kind of stresses me out. Due to this, I make specific appointments, on specific dates, for all my high school visits. I don’t believe that I am right, and anyone else is wrong – that’s just how I operate. Because of how busy December is for visits, I frequently find myself at a school at the same time as another coach, or coaches. Since, more or less, we’re all looking to meet with the same players, this usually results in some sort of “turn-taking”. If you don’t have an appointment, and are “swinging by” because you’re in the area that day, volunteer to go last in the “rotation” of coaches. You’ll make everyone’s day smoother.

Different programs have different “protocols” in terms of their appearance on the road. I’m not one to judge how any one program operates. What I do know, however, is that I mentally note how guys present themselves out there. I can’t help it; it’s just something I do naturally. One of my former head coaches once told me that you’re always interviewing, whether it’s on the field, in the office, or in a high school.l While you’re obviously there to represent your program, you’re also representing yourself. Things happen quickly in this profession, and you never know when a potential future employer is watching. Just because your current head coach allows a certain approach doesn’t mean the next one will. Make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward, in both your appearance and your communications.

Finally, take advantage of the opportunities to network. Many times, you’ll find yourself sitting in the main office, or some other room, with coaches from different schools. I’ve seen young coaches too shy to start a conversation, and more established coaches who are too “big time” to talk with younger coaches. Both scenarios are a shame. Success in this profession, whether it is on the field or moving upward, depends greatly on the connections you are able to make with other coaches. You  may start a friendship with a guy who you can talk ball with and learn somethings which will benefit your team. You also may make a connection with someone which leads to a job opportunity down the road. Either way, sitting in a room together in silence won’t help either of you. Outside of each other, no one truly understands what we do. Embrace the camaraderie.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, and successful 2016. As always, I accept any and all feedback at