Online recruiting service helps link athletes with colleges

“It won’t do your work for you,” said Jake Prodoehl, a swimmer from Pewaukee, Wis., who will attend Miami of Ohio in the fall. “You need to be committed throughout the whole thing. You can’t wait and sit back for schools to come to you. It’s hard for kids my age to approach big college coaches, but it has to happen. Staying up to date with your profile is so important. When you see a coach has looked at your profile, you have to touch base with them or nothing will happen.”

The service is also extremely helpful to coaches, who are able to recruit wider areas despite shrinking recruiting budgets.

For Kevin Licht, the cross country coach at NAIA Roosevelt University in Chicago, it was essential when he took over a program at a school that reinstated intercollegiate athletics in 2009.

“Part of the challenge we faced was getting in front of kids,” Licht said. “They didn’t know us. We had to cast a wide net in pulling kids not only from the Chicago area but across the country. The first recruit I signed was from San Diego.”

More than half of his team was discovered through beRecruited, with athletes coming from Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Michigan, and California, as well as the Chicago area.

“This has really helped us build our brand,” Licht said. “This is unheard of, to have a database of end consumers sitting there waiting for your call. Typically, it’s the other way around. I have to seek out the customer. Here thousands of customers are waiting for your call. It’s a great site.”

For Rick Younger, a volleyball coach at Butler Community College, the site has helped differentiate his program from the nearly 20 junior colleges in Kansas he competes against.

Since starting to use the service, he has been able to supplement in-state athletes with others from Colorado, California, and Texas to remain competitive in his conference.

He has the site on his cell phone and home computer and is constantly checking it to see what athletes are checking out his program.

“I always joke and call us bottom feeders,” Younger said. “The big boys will get their stuff. We generally have to deal with Division II, the NAIA, and the other community colleges. The database they have is tremendous. It has allowed us to fill holes in the program and compete in our conference.”

One facet college coaches like best is the ease with which they can communicate directly with the students and their parents without having to go through club or high school coaches.

“You can contact the kid directly,” said Jim Brewer, cross country and track coach at Concordia College in California. “They’re putting out there that they want to be recruited. It’s frustrating when you hear from coaches that they don’t have kids good enough. You can’t limit kids’ potential. Sometimes a kid no one is talking to has the desire to succeed.”

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