You will obviously forge relationships with the staff throughout the recruiting process and most of choosing a school is about relationships. But what happens when there is a coaching change?
**The most important coach to ‘get know” is the strength coach.** Your son will spend THEE. MOST. TIME. with the Strength coach. I’m sure someone mentioned that to me at some point but I missed it, he missed it, we missed it. But what I DO remember is every strength coach I met was your “Standard issue” strength coach: Musclebound, crazy eyes, loud talking, overly excited way too early in the morning. Just what you’d think they would be. Your gym trainer to the tenth power. With that being said nothing about any of them really stood out to me. We focused most on the position coach, head coach, offensive coordinator (O.C.). But the one you really need to get to know is the strength coach. If your son early enrolls all of the coaches that recruited him will be off campus still recruiting. Yep, flying to other recruits games, practices, schools, homes, etc. All that courting they just did for you and your family, continues on. This means during winter conditioning the only coach your son sees everyday, is the strength coach and his staff. Not the guy who recruited you, who you’ve spent the last year getting to know. No matter when they enroll they will be spending the MOST time with the strength coach and the academic tutor/counselor/mentor that meets them EVERY day at study hall. These two people are most important!! Remember this!
In our case at Maryland, the strength coach ended up being at the center of an incident involving the death of a player, which lead to the eventual upheaval of the ENTIRE coaching staff. But not before removal of the head coach, the strength coach and some of the training staff in the Spring. This in addition to the loss of a teammate within the first 6 months of my son being on campus. Obviously my initial thoughts were, “We made a mistake.” and I had this sickening feeling that I had sent my son far away from home to be “treated like their own” (catch phrase from coaches you’ll hear during recruiting implying they will treat them like their own son) by these monsters. It was terrible. Talk about a crash course in maturity for those boys. I would check in and tell him “You say the word and I’ll get you outta’ there!”. However, the team was banding together to honor their teammate and the coaching staff was in a mess. But he wanted to stay. It was bigger than football at that point.
Back to coaches. They leave. They probably wont last your entire college career. Unless you are at a VERY successful program where the coaches are paid top dollar, and even then they’ll still probably leave. They will usually take a job at the next level. If they have a losing season or (in our case) a scandal and they get fired, the A.D. or president will usually wipe out the entire staff. When head coaches come in they bring in “their people“. Usually coaches from their previous staff, G.A’s (Grad assistant) they coached, assistants they trust, etc. How great it must be to be a first time head coach and get to call all your favorite, most qualified, most admired colleagues and friends you made along your journey and offer them a job. #Goals
Anyway where does that leave you and your son?? Your son now loses a coach and has to get to know someone new. When they fire a coach he doesn’t really get a chance to say goodbye to anyone. It’s literally here today and gone tomorrow. It’s jarring. But get used to it. In some cases your coach leaves to a school that recruited you but you didn’t pick, or a coach you met during recruiting ends up now taking a job on the coaching staff at your current school. Remember when I told you “not to burn bridges” and “the coaching carousel always comes back around“. Well, it’s happening. Due to tampering and transfer rules it’s an NCAA violation for that coach to contact you. Coaches from other schools can’t contact the athlete once he’s committed and enrolled. This keeps coaches from continually recruiting an athlete. These network connections made during college will last a lifetime. So don’t be sad. You will definitely cross paths with these coaches again. Here is a diagram from last season just to give you an idea.
So now the entire coaching staff has been replaced and you have no point of contact at school but your son. I would hope that the new coaches would reach out, however your son is grown and at this point that would only be a courtesy. ( I had to remind myself of this as I was waiting for a call from a coach, any coach on staff) Like I mentioned above the new coaches are back out recruiting and getting ready for spring practices in addition to filling any open positions still left on the football staff. This is a life lesson in transitioning. Your son needs to stay focused now more than ever, remember why he’s there and his ultimate goal. Although he may not know or even like the new coaches, he needs them to coach him to get to the next level. Keep this in mind and use them as they will most definitely use him.
For my mid-year moms, I know its hard right now and you miss him. It will get easier. Get you a good “Mom Tribe” for support and stay busy. For my Fall enrolling moms, keep your sons busy, they should have received an off-season workout and playbook after signing with their schools.
Any questions or if you would like me to come talk to your parents at your “Spring Football Parent Meeting” please fill out the form on my site for questions and bookings.
Vocabulary to know
O.C. – Offensive Coordinator
H.C. – Head Coach
Position Coach- The person that coaches your sons specific position group (Receivers, O-Line, Running Backs, Corners, Quarter backs etc.)
G.A. – Graduate Assistant- Grad student that acts as coach in a apprentice type position.
Strength Coach- The coach in charge of weight lifting and off-season conditioning. Spends the MOST time with the student athletes. Most important coach to get to know.
Winter Conditioning- Off-season strength training and cardio conditioning. No coaching or coaches allowed to coach during this time.
Spring Football- Coaches are allowed to coach and there is an inter-squad game held to get an idea of personnel to use during regular season.