BY JEREMY HOECK
Earlier this spring, I was interviewing an area high school athlete at a track meet, and asked them about a different subject: College.
“Have you decided on college plans yet?” I asked.
That led to a lengthy conversation, most of which I didn’t actually use in my next-day story, but it got me thinking. This was a rather high-profile athlete and they sat there talking about college options, not wanting to disappoint their friends and family, playing time, scholarships, conferences and other general thoughts about choosing a college.
Right then, I shelved an idea for a potential college recruiting series, in which those kinds of issues were tackled — among other topics. I put the idea on the back burner for the summer.
Well, here we are, in the early stages of summer.
Thus begins a project by the Press & Dakotan to take you, our readers, inside the world of college recruiting, told from the perspective of athletes.
My idea for the series of 4-5, maybe 6, stories is a kind of “case study” (in which video interviews will be recorded). We’ll touch on a broad topic, like NAIA vs. Division I, and talk to high school and college athletes for their thoughts. We will also touch on AAU summer basketball and non-sanctioned sports, like softball and soccer, in which recruiting is especially key during the summer.
Another issue will attempt to answer the question, “How do you recruit to a program with no history?”
That’s where we will take you inside Mount Marty College’s women’s tennis team, which will begin action this upcoming fall. Head coach Rob Klimisch has already made waves on the recruiting trail, but as he has admitted in the past, it’s not all that easy to entice kids to a new program with zero background. On the other hand, tennis in our surrounding area is especially strong, and some kids might like the idea of starting from scratch.
These are a few of the issues our series will focus on, all the while keeping the focus on athletes and telling their stories.
The multimedia portion of the series is especially key, as well, as my plan is for us to record interviews and other game action (including upcoming basketball, softball and soccer tournaments).
We hope you follow along in our journey.