The Irony Of Coaching College Athletics

The Irony Of Coaching College Athletics

Coaches that make millions rely on the decisions of high school seniors.


One of the most interesting things to study in sports is college recruiting.

It determines the makeup of your team, regardless of sport. Recruiting determines the pound-for-pound talent you as a coach will have against your opponent on any given game. We grade, promote and fire coaches constantly because of in large part their ability or inability to recruit. Football and basketball are the two biggest sports on essentially any college campus, no matter how large or small, and they have the most money to offer in scholarships, so let's look closely into the world of recruiting for those two sports, and why it is so ironic.

By most people's grades, the best coaches in college football and basketball are Nick Saban, head coach of Alabama football and Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of Duke basketball. There are many factors that play into what makes them so great, including championships but perhaps the main thing that makes their teams year-in and year-out so successful is their ability to recruit. Alabama football is more talented by pure recruiting rankings than any team they line up against at any point in time, and it typically is not particularly close. Krzyzewski's team and head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats John Calipari's team usually have the two most talented teams in basketball. Other teams such as North Carolina and Kansas will have teams that are close in talent every few years but typically not consistently like Duke and Kentucky.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Florida

Saban made more than $11 million in 2018, and he makes that yearly based on his contract through 2025. Krzyzewski makes $9 million a year, not surprisingly the second-highest paid college basketball coach was Calipari. These coaches make more money in one year than most of us have ever thought about making in 10. And for most of us, we think that if we ever made money that could even sniff that, it would be way down the road, when we are much older and have developed relationships with wealthy people to move us along in our careers.

That is typically how corporate America works. We have all heard "it's not what you know, it's who you know." We assume the "who you know" is someone already established in your field of choice. It is someone that has some real weight to their name in the industry. When they speak on your behalf, it means something.

Ironically though, for these coaches, the "who you know" is high school kids that have no money to their name at all and have done nothing at all in collegiate athletics yet. The most important relationships for these coaches to make is with kids that are not old enough to drink yet and most likely have their mom do their laundry.

If these high school seniors do not choose to attend your school as a coach, you can very quickly fall behind your competition. Recruiting is often referred to as the backbone of your team since it literally determines who is on your roster. If the athletes going to your school are simply inferior to the ones going to your rivals, scheme and inspiration can only take you so far.

So while you wake up every day and think about what hands you can shake and who you can impress that is already established in your field, think about the fact that college coaches are thinking about what hands they can shake of kids probably younger than you. They are really interested in a guy that just got his license last year.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.

I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Somehow, I Ended Up With The Best Roommate Known To Man

I've truly been blessed.


College can be a very stressful experience to prepare for. From orientation to selecting your classes for the semester, your responsibilities quickly pile up. On top of all that, you also have to find somebody who you will be sharing a room with for your first year of college.

After not sharing a room with my sister for several years, I was worried about going back to splitting a living space with someone else. Immediately after I finished submitting my application to finalize my commitment to Temple, the stress of finding a roommate sunk in. Rooms in the residential hall I wanted were filling up quickly, and I still didn't have a roommate.

I was trying to find a roommate, but everybody seemed to already have their living situation figured out. However, one day, I received a message from a girl named Tori. Little did I know, she would become my best friend. I saw her profile prior to on RoomSync, an app for finding roommates, so I was really excited when she messaged me.

We didn't meet until move-in day, which made me a little bit anxious, but right from the start, everything clicked. We have lots of similar interests and living standards. Even though our majors are totally different, hers being biology and mine is English, that didn't stop us from being friends and enjoy spending time with one another.

In just the first weekend, Tori discovered that I hadn't seen a lot of movies that I should have seen growing up. From that point on, she created a list of various movies, and every weekend we watched at least one movie together. I don't think she has shown me a movie that I haven't liked yet, and I'm so glad that we started this tradition.

On top of movies, Tori has also expanded my music taste, which is a very hard thing to do. I couldn't be happier that she introduced me to Dean Lewis and Noah Kahan and then persuaded me to go to their concert in October with her. In general, she has got me more into music and is increasing my knowledge about music overall.

As well as going to a concert together, we also recently went to see my favorite Youtubers when they came to Philly. When we found out that Cody Ko and Noel Miller were going on a comedy tour and coming to our city, we immediately planned to buy tickets. It was a night full of laughs, and I'm so happy I got to spend it with her.

Tori Ploesch

Having a random roommate who is also your best friend is rare. I've heard a lot of horror stories about random roommates, but I honestly can't picture not being friends with Tori. Along with being an amazing roommate, she is incredibly selfless and caring. Her focus is always on helping people, and I admire her for all the hard work she puts into everything she does.

Being surrounded by people in the College of Science and Technology, I know it isn't easy. Because I have a strong dislike of science, I give major props to Tori and her friends in CST. I'm so happy she is studying something she's truly passionate about and will love doing in her future career. Whenever I meet people that want to pursue a career in science or the medical field, I immediately give them immense credit. It's extremely difficult to take that career path, and I'm already excited for Tori and her ultimate success.

College is a time for making new friends that will last even after you stop going to school together. Even though I'm only in my second semester, I know I can trust Tori with anything, and she'll be there for me when I need her. I also know that she'll be 100% honest with me when I need guidance or advice.

I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to Tori for messaging me to room with her. My college experience has been incredibly positive thus far because she has been with me through it all. I'm extremely grateful for the way things worked out because I couldn't have asked for a kinder roomie.

Thank you, Tori, for not just being an incredible person and roommate, but my best friend as well.

P.S. I can't wait to bake with you in our apartment together next semester!

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