Recruiting 101: What do college coaches want?

One of the most common questions asked when an athlete begins the recruiting process is “what is the coach looking for?” Most of the time, players (and parents) presume that the answers all have to do with ranking and tournaments won. This simply isn’t true. Of course, you have to be a good athlete, but there is a lot more to getting recruited by a coach. To prove that point, I asked a variety of college tennis coaches…
What is the most important thing you look for in a recruit?

“Confidence. A kid that can come out there and play freely.”
Bryan Shelton, Head Women’s Coach, Georgia Tech University

“A passion for the game. A lot of kids have played a ton of tennis and experience burnout. I want our players to enjoy tennis.”
C.J. Weber, Assistant Men’s Coach, University of Miami

“Competiveness and love of the game. They’re going to bring it every day to practice.”
Sheila McInerney, Head Women’s Coach, Arizona State University

“That they love to play.”
Jay Louderback, Head Women’s Coach, Notre Dame University

“Someone that can deal with adversity.”
Steve Denton, Head Men’s Coach, Texas A&M University

Claire Pollard, Head Women’s Coach, Northwestern University

“Character. I look for solid people with high character.”
Ricardo Rubio, Assistant Men’s Coach, University of Texas-Austin

“Hard work and dedication.”
Jeremy Wurtzman, Head Women’s Coach, University of Denver

“Potential to play and compete at the highest level of college tennis.”
Bruce Berque, Head Men’s Coach, University of Michigan

“Character and composure on and off the court. You can’t be a jerk on the court and a nice guy off the court.”
George Husack, Associate Head Men’s Coach, University of Southern California

Among all the quotes, there was one that I can’t say enough to potential recruits. It came from the Head Men’s Coach at Duke University, Ramsey Smith. It’s not always what you have done, but what you can do. In his words…

“Potential. Where they can be.”

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