Recruiting Column: The who, what, when, where and why of emailing a college coach

Recruiting Column: The who, what, when, where and why of emailing a college coach

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: The who, what, when, where and why of emailing a college coach

USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. is an industry leader in college recruiting.  Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.

One of the most common questions we receive at Playced is, “How do I send an effective email to a college coach?” That’s logical, since all high school recruits seem to be on a never-ending quest to get noticed! And, the reality is that if college coaches aren’t blowing up your cell, sending an email is most likely something you will have to do, if you’re wanting to get some attention. Bottom line: you need to get the conversation started.

Listen, I totally understand that having a conversation isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Whether the person you’re wanting to talk to seems disinterested, or you just don’t know what to say, sometimes, a conversation can seem more like nails on a chalkboard! And unfortunately, a conversation with a college coach can seemingly make those nails on a chalkboard even more cringe-worthy!

However, your chances of playing at the next level greatly increase with each conversation you have with a college coach. It must happen. And in order to have a conversation, you must understand how to start a conversation! In other words, you need to know how to introduce yourself to a college coach.

So, to all you recruits out there stuck on the whole introduction thing, here is the who, what, when, where and why of emailing a college coach.


Typically, a conversation takes place with another person. And, when it comes to college recruiting, you want to make sure that you aren’t talking to yourself! So, to make sure you aren’t going back and forth with just yourself, you need to be emailing coaches at programs that you could actually play for. Not only should you be able to play for that school, but you should also be sure that you’re academically qualified for that school. Because one guarantee that you can count on when emailing a college coach: if you can’t make the grade on or off the field, you won’t be getting any replies.

Once you’ve determined your target schools, simply identify the coach or coaches on staff that handle the recruiting and use them as your contact(s) to communicate with. I would highly recommend you “cc” (carbon copy) every coach on staff that might have a say in recruiting you. For example, if you’re a quarterback, use the “recruiting coordinator” as your main recipient and “cc” the other offensive coaches. If you are a basketball player interested in a NCAA Division II program, use the “recruiting coordinator” as your main recipient and “cc” all the other coaches on staff. Your goal should be to create accountability within that coaching staff to respond to your email. Because, you want to hear back from the coaches you send emails to, regardless of the answer. Feedback is always a good thing.


If you were applying for a job, what would you say to the employer that you’re interested in working for? Well, you would show your interest in that company, ask about job openings or opportunities and include your resume/qualifications on why they should even consider you. You would learn as much as you could about what it would take for you to get to an interview.

That’s precisely how it works in the college recruiting process, too. If a college coach doesn’t know who you are, it’s on you to make the introduction. Present yourself in a manner that will logically get you to the next step of the recruiting process. Express specific interest in the program, attach some game film, ask the coach for an evaluation of your abilities and include your academic & athletic qualifications. The question isn’t “what do I say?” The question you should be asking yourself is “what do I say to make sure that I get some real feedback?”


Send an email to a college coach when you’re ready to be seen by that coach. The recruiting process is all about evaluation. It’s all about you evaluating what programs you want to play for, and those programs evaluating whether you can play for them. Every high school athlete will experience the recruiting process, differently. That includes the timelines in which colleges start expressing and showing interest. That said, stick to the rule of evaluation. Look at an email to a college coach as a start to that process. If you’re ready to be evaluated and seen, send an email.


Every relevant coach, for any college program, will be listed in the athletic staff directory on the school’s website. Names, job titles, emails and phone numbers are generally included within the staff directory. Any coach that you need to be communicating with or introducing yourself to, will be listed there. Simple enough.


Have you been noticed yet? Do college coaches know who you are? Are you really being recruited? If you answered “no” to any or all those questions, that’s why! If you aren’t sure whether a coach will eventually find you, go find them.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been around college athletics for most of my adult life. During that time, college recruiting has changed so much. But in that time, there’s at least one thing that hasn’t changed about college recruiting. And, that’s who ultimately controls the process. It’s you, the recruit. You’re the one that controls your own destiny. You’re the one that decides where you want to go, who you want to play for and what degree you’ll pursue. So, why do you have to send an email introducing yourself to a college coach? Because it might be the only option you have.


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