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When Your Coach… Isn’t Your Coach Any Longer

By Jim Seavey

So…you’ve chosen your dream school.

You’ve spoken to the head coaches, the assistants, the director of operations, the managers and practically everyone associated with the program whose uniform you are going to proudly put on and represent for the next four years.

Everything has fallen into place.  Everything is right with the world.

And then…the coach leaves.  Or gets fired. 

The person you’ve put all of your trust in for nearly your entire high school career isn’t going to be at your dream school when you arrive.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens frequently.  Another opportunity comes along.  An administrator decides the “program needs to go in a different direction”.  College athletics is a results driven entity.  In this day and age, with lucrative television contracts mapping the landscape across Division I and other factors rearing their heads across other divisions or levels, there are many things that happen which are beyond any one person’s control.

More often than not, student-athletes are the forgotten ones in these dramas.

The first thought you may have is “Does this mean I have to start my recruiting journey all over again?”  The answer is probably somewhere between yes and no, but not maybe.  Confusing?  Let’s think this through.

One of the points we emphasize throughout the mygotgame Recruiting Playbook is to make your final decision on several factors, not just the sport you want to play.  Do you feel comfortable on the campus?  Are there other things to do that will enhance your overall experience?  Is your school close enough to home so you can be with your friends and family, but far enough away where you can do you own thing?  Is it a big school?  A small school?  Something in between?  Is the major you want available—after all, just about everyone goes pro in something else, right? 

The coach and coaching staff recruiting you always has your best interests at heart.  If not, and you experience any doubts, you need to ask yourself one very serious question—is this the place I want to spend four of the most important years of my life?

You’ve developed a relationship – almost a bond – with a coach who has absolutely convinced you that you are the right fit for their team.  Will you have that same feeling with the new coach?  Only time will tell.  The key point in all of this is to choose wisely—and choose for all of the right reasons. 

If your coach isn’t your coach any longer, sit down and do some serious thinking.  Undoubtedly, you will find that your instincts, along with the trust you’ve placed in others, will guide you to the best positive outcome.  Consider:

  • Is this still a great school even though the coach isn’t here anymore?
  • Will I be able to have a memorable experience with a new coach and new staff?
  • Will the playing opportunities that I thought I had still be there?
  • Will my academic focus be affected?
  • What if other recruits leave?
  • What if more recruits come in? 

Another pillar of the mygotgame Recruiting Playbook is communication.  We’ve said over and over that it’s important to established those lines of communication as early as middle school (7th grade).  Those concepts don’t change as you get older—they get reinforced.  And you’ll find that you lean on those key life skills you’ve been instilled with by others (family, teachers, coaches, community leaders and many other individuals) over the years. 

So now what?

Reach out to the new coach, coaching staff or recruiting coordinators.  If you’ve signed a National Letter of Intent, find out if it will still be honored by the new coach and the school.  If you’re in a non-scholarship situation, find out what the direction of the new coach/staff is going to be.

In other words, open your mouth.  And your ears.  Use your eyes.  Not all communication is verbal, but it is the most important is these situations.  The only way to know the answer to a question is to ask it. 

No one wants to be put in a situation where the individual they’ve chosen to play for isn’t going to be the one to lead the way through their college athletic journey.  As Ferris Bueller (Google him if you don’t know) said:  “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

And know that we are here to help you.  Your journey with mygotgame doesn’t end when you’ve made your decision.  We’re not going to take you to the front door of your freshman dorm, wave and say “have a nice life!”  We have your back — over your four-year college journey and beyond.

Hopefully, you’ll never be faced with the scenario of seeing the coach you wanted to play for leave.  But remember—you have the insight, the knowledge, the tools and the support from your family and friends behind you to tackle the challenge.  And you’ve got a company who has your back every step of the way.

We know you got game.  And you’ll always have mygotgame.

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