"Act Without Expectation"
Bowen Sargent has coached the University of Virginia Men’s golf team for 10 seasons and he played professionally for 9 years. He was kind enough to sit down with SFA’s director of golf, Josh McCumber, and share his knowledge about the recruiting process.
SFA: At SFA, we try to explain to our clients that the recruiting process is like being on three year job interview; is that how you view the recruiting process?
BS: To some extent yes. As coaches, we certainly want to see a “body of work” over a period of time to better indicate what we’ll get when they enter college.
SFA: What advice do you have for the parents of high school student athletes about the recruiting process?
BS: I would recommend starting early in the recruiting process. Often recruits are left behind because they don’t know how quickly the process unfolds. I would also put more value into the coaching staff and recognize that what a program has to offer will compliment or make their child better. I think this piece is lost in the process a lot of times.
Also, I would advise any recruit that has been contacted directly prior to September 1 of their junior year is being recruited illegally. I wouldn’t want my kid playing for someone willing to cheat. After all this is a game of integrity and I think the recruiting process should be treated with the same respect.
SFA: Assuming that they have the academics and golf level to attend your school, when should junior players begin to contact you or send you their resume?
BS: Given the new change in NCAA rules, I think no later than your sophomore year, preferably by their freshman year. This will allow potential student athletes (PSA’s) to visit schools in their sophomore year and make a decision soon thereafter which seems to be the current timeframe for a commitment.
SFA: How important is it for potential recruits to build strong relationships with you and the players on your team?
BS: Building a relationship with a potential coach is vital. I think this is a piece of the recruiting process that is often missed. The coach will be with you for four years and will help shape your athletic, academic and social life.
SFA: What are your coaching philosophies?
BS: I feel my job is to motivate and encourage my student-athletes to achieve the most of their academic and athletic skills. So I want to see each student athlete graduate from the University of Virginia having achieved their full potential thus setting them up for a successful future whether it’s in golf or business.
SFA: What should athletes do or not do while taking their unofficial and official visits?
BS: I would encourage PSA’s to come prepared for a visit. Think about what you want from a college athletic program and ask good questions to make the most of the visit. Talk with former student athletes who played for or against that coach/school, and see what they think of that coach.
SFA: What would you like to see more of from high school athletes?
BS: If I were a recruit and knew what I know now I would go to college tournaments and see what actually happens at college events. I’d see how coaches prepare and develop their young men. I think attending a college tournament tells you a lot about how a team is prepared and how they are coached.
On the academic side, I’d like to see more PSA’s taking the SAT/ACT in their freshman and sophomore year.
SFA: Why do you think so many college student athletes quit and transfer?
BS: Great question, no doubt it’s because the PSA didn’t do his homework before making a decision. As I mentioned previously, the recruiting process is about getting the most out of your college experience and finding the college and athletic program that’s the best fit for you! All too often, PSA’s get too consumed with the material side of the recruiting process whether it is rankings or facilities, etc… In the end, it’s people and knowledge that make you better. So a recruit’s relationship with a coach is vital. Be leery of any program that has a lot of transfers or kids dropping off the team. Do your homework with rosters and check the history of the athletic programs.
Professional Golfer, Golf Coach, Director of Golf for SFA, #UF, #Gator Grad, sports fan, musician, student of life & all things social. Married to an amazing woman with two incredible children.