Commentary

Importance of head coaches at camps

Updated: September 27, 2011, 10:07 AM ET
By Lem Satterfield

Johns Hopkins, Dave Pietramala, NCAA(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek) /ESPNHSA majority of the NCAA head coaches like to see potential recruits in person.
EDITORS NOTE: On Tuesday's, ESPNHS release a new lacrosse story in the Recruiting Road series  featuring college coaches' answers to some of the most asked recruiting questions.

Camps can offer an out-of-season assessment of a players' talents independent of the team atmosphere, and it is often a chance for coaches to get a first-hand and longer-term view of a players' capabilities than might otherwise be possible.

But does a head coach need to be there, or can he send an assistant or another scouting representative?

ESPN High School asked six college coaches their opinions on the value of being present at camps.

ESPN RISE: How important is a head coach's presence at camps?

John Paul, Michigan

"I think it's very important to be a presence at camps. I have complete trust in our assistant coaches, but ultimately, the responsibility for this team falls on me. I need to be visible, and I need to see the players we're recruiting."

Dave Pietramala, Johns Hopkins

"We believe that having the head coach at camps and being on the road recruiting sends a message to the prospect, their families, their high school and their club coaches. At Hopkins, we want these folks to know and understand how important recruiting is to us, and that we are committed to attracting the right players. Obviously, we have great trust in our assistant coaches and their ability to identify and evaluate quality talent. However, I believe that when a young man chooses an institution to call home, they should know and feel comfortable that the head coach has seen him play, knows his talents, and has a vision for where that player fits. While our recruiting efforts are collaborative, we do believe that it is important that the head coach have a chance to watch each and every athlete we recruit play as well as have some level of personal interaction with that athlete and his family. The relationship the head coach develops with the players is very important to our staff."

Bill Tierney, Denver

"It is of prime importance that the head coach be visible at camps and take a lead role in recruiting. This is not football. We average classes of about 10-12 players, and although assistant coaches are integral to the recruiting success of each program, the head coach is ultimately responsible. With rising salaries attached to the increased number of coaches being fired for so called 'failure to reach expectations,' the head coach must understand his responsibility to being out there in the public to make final decisions on all recruits. On the other hand, with the fantastic growth of lacrosse, and rules that inhibit the head coaches from possibly attending all of the events, it is important that the assistant coaches be talented, able to evaluate, and trustworthy enough to take an important role in the process."

Charley Toomey, Loyola
"I'm not sold on the notion that it must be the head coach. I'm fortunate to have offensive and defensive coordinators in Dan Chemotti and Matt Dwan whom I trust to make recruiting decisions. We believe in getting multiple looks on a potential recruit. It is always easier in staff meetings when all three coaches have evaluated the student-athlete being discussed."

Jon Torpey, High Point
"It is extremely important for not only myself, but our staff to be visible at these recruiting tournaments. As a new program, we are really trying to establish our brand not only on the field, but off. And the more events and the more people we can get in front of the better off we are."

Dave Webster, Dickinson College
"I want to see the young man play and would prefer to do so in person rather than just with film. However, we cannot possibly cover all tournaments, so we rely on assistant coaches as well. Because of the explosive growth of tournaments and showcases, I do not work as many camps as in the past, but still find it to be very productive to be on the road. Then, we feel it is important to be on campus to meet with the recruits and their families when they come visit."

Next week: How important is a recruit's playing style at a camp?

Also upcoming: How do coaches view a recruit's ability to play other sports besides lacrosse? How do they find the needle in the haystack?