At this time of year, the college world is abuzz with coaching changes. In the newspaper and on TV you will mostly hear about big changes at NCAA Division 1 football programs— Greg Schiano leaving Rutgers to go to the NFL, Urban Meyer taking over at Ohio State and of course the whole affair with Joe Paterno at Penn State. These are the stories that get the media’s attention and national airplay, but there are also similar changes going on at NCAA D3 soccer programs as well. It affects the players that are on the current team for sure, but it also affects those recruits who the coach had been working with prior to their departure.
At the D3 level, there can be frequent changes of coaches. The reason being is because, unlike their D1 counterparts, many D3 coaches are part-time and not getting paid very much money. As with any low-wage job, there is a high-turnover rate. The D3 coaches that are longer tenured, are generally full-time coaches and getting paid as such. As we discussed in the post The More You Know…, it is important to ask questions of the coach such as the following:
- Are you full time or part time?
- How long have you been at the school?
- How long do you intend to stay at the school?
- Is this position a stepping stone for another coaching job?
Knowing this information, can help you find out if that coach will be there for your four years. Also, you can research on the website to see how frequent the turnover of coaches has been at the school over time.
Now it happens- the coach that recruited you leaves for another job at another school. What do you do? This is something that you need to be prepared for. The coach may encourage you to go with them to their new school. The coach thought so highly of you as a player that they still want you to be part of their new team before they even meet their new team. Changing schools like that can be a tricky proposal because of location, major selection/programs, school size or finances.
An important thing that I tell my players as well as my recruits is that playing collegiate soccer (or any D3 collegiate sport for that matter), is a privilege that most students do not get to do. Therefore, at the D3 level, you should not be making your selection of school based on the athletic program nor the coach. The coach could leave at any time or you could be cut from the team or you could sustain a career ending injury where you are not able to play anymore. You must ask yourself the question—will I still be happy at the school without soccer or if the current coaching staff changes?
The bottom line is this— pick your school because it is the SCHOOL that you like; the programs you like; the campus you like; etc. Do not pick your school exclusively because of the coach. With all other things being equal, you may pick one school over the other because of the coaching staff, but it should not be the sole criteria for your decision. As always— ask LOTS of questions to find out as much as you can!
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