How to Get Recruited Guide
Iowa State Volleyball

Interview With Iowa State Volleyball Assistant Coach

Welcome to Interview #23.

I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NCAA Division 1 Assistant Volleyball Coach at Iowa State University, Jon Newman-Gonchar.

Jon Newman-Gonchar is entering his third season at Iowa State as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Along with his duties with ISU’s recruiting coordinator, Newman-Gonchar supervises Iowa State’s middle blockers.

*This interview was conducted in 2015. Coach Newman-Gonchar is now the associate head coach at the University of Arkansas.

What are some ways that recruits can get you to take an interest in them?

Recruiting is like a very tricky 1,000 piece puzzle. Recruits and coaches are constantly trying to make sure the pieces all fit and line up just right! Communication is a critical piece to this puzzle. We take interest in players that are proactive with their communication. As a recruit the easiest thing you can do to be recruited is to be as active in the communication and initial exposure phase of the process as possible. Communication typically is email, or phone calls. Exposure typically is any type of video, HS or club match schedules, and attending camps. Understanding that recruiting is a two way street, most of recruits had to at one point or another express a mutual level of interest. There are very few athletes that don’t have to work at being recruited. But for the rest of the recruits they need to be a proactive piece of the recruiting puzzle. The quote “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is a great way to look at recruiting; players that actively take responsibility for communication are typically the recruits that stick out from the rest.

How early do athletes need to be noticed to have a chance to play at a major Division 1 school? When is it too late?Iowa State 1

Athletes typically will get noticed their freshman/sophomore year. More than likely as time goes on less and less schools will have open roster space. However, you never know and things change all the time with recruiting.

What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the NCAA College recruiting process?

The most common mistake I see is athletes not investing the time to really learn and explore all the options that are available to them. Often times, bigger name schools take precedent when really they might not be the perfect fit and more just the perfect “shiny apple”. The other common mistake is that a lot of recruits don’t realize that if you want to be recruited showing an initial level of interest can go a very long way. Far too often, schools will start to move on in the recruiting process thinking the recruit is not interested when in reality the recruit might be interested they just never took the time to express that interest.

A lot of recruits get confused by which coach is recruiting them and what that means? Can you talk about roles and interactions recruits can expect from assistants and the head coach during the recruiting process?

A lot of coaching staffs have a coach assigned to the recruiting efforts for the program. Typically you will hear from this coach more than you will hear from any of the other coaches. As the process continues you will very likely hear from other coaches including the head coach. The head coach typically is more involved with players a school is very serious about. With that being said if a program is corresponding with you they are likely interested in you. That level of interest can range, but the bottom line is if a program is corresponding with you there is at least a minimal level of interest. In most cases it never hurts to ask where you are at with a school in regards to their future plans and how you fit in to those plans.

Should prospective athletes bring up scholarships with coaches or wait on the coach to initiate that discussion?

Recruiting is different at every school. It truly depends, if you are in a huge time crunch and need to know it is okay to ask but I always strongly encourage a prospect to make sure they do this in as appropriate and tactfully as possible. No coach wants to be put on the defensive by an off color question regarding scholarship money. I think it is totally okay to ask if it is important piece of the puzzle. It definitely should not be the first question you ask.

Iowa State VolleyballFor a major Division 1 school, how and when are scholarships offered? How much time do athletes typically have to respond?

Most often times scholarships are offered during a campus visit or before a visit over the phone. Every coach is different on this but I have heard of some coaches placing 2-4 week timelines while others allow athletes to typically have as much time as they need. Pressure is never a good reason to commit to a coach or a program. It should be about the perfect fit!

How do you use social media when recruiting? What is your advice to recruits about social media?

We have a sports information office that handles all of our social media, but we are very much a social media presence. We love that our recruits can learn about us through that media outlet. My advice would be, “don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your parents seeing”. We coaches do look at social media profiles and nothing is more discouraging then reading some with offensive content or language.

What are some things that would keep you from recruiting a player?

We want warriors on the court, so the worst thing we can see is a player who is in it for themselves or a player who isn’t fighting for and with their team! Volleyball is not an individual sport and the team comes before self always.

What involvement does the athletic trainer and medical staff have with your team? What are some ways the staff (coaches and trainers) manages both care for and prevention of injuries?

We have weekly full staff meetings with our medical staff and strength staffs. We are constantly monitoring the health of our athlete’s. We take recovery very seriously. They are all very involved. It is a long season and the best teams are typically the healthiest teams come NCAA tournament time.

What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?

Parents are very involved and rightfully so. The recruiting process is a big deal and a very stressful time for a lot of athletes. Parent’s role should be to ask the athlete the questions that the athlete isn’t thinking of for themselves, but should be. Parents should do their homework on the schools and coaches as well! Parents need to not be agents in the recruiting process but they need to be the support staff for the athlete.

Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or volleyball players in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?

Spend the time to make sure you are fully aware of the pros and cons of the schools you are considering. Ask the coaches and players the tough questions, ask them the easy questions and always listen intently to the answers. You should feel like you hit a grand slam when you commit to the school of your dreams!


Jon Newman-GoncharJon Newman-Gonchar is entering his third season at Iowa State as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Along with his duties with ISU’s recruiting coordinator, Newman-Gonchar supervises Iowa State’s middle blockers.





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