Welcome to Interview #77 Part 2.
This is the second of a 2 part interview with David Neville. He is currently the Head Track and Field Coach of NAIA, Taylor University. David is an Olympic Gold and Bronze medalist.
Today, David shares great advice to prospective college athletes. In case you missed it, make sure to read Part 1 of our interview Pursuit of Faith and the Finish Line, in which David opens up about his journey to the Olympics and his faith in Christ.
Where do NAIA track & field and cross country coaches most often find players for their teams?
We find our athletes through databases like milesplit and athletic.net. We also research results from meets that are held within a state or at the national level. Finally we are recommended some athletes from high school coaches.
Why do you think athletes should consider an NAIA college? What are the benefits of an NAIA school specifically?
One of the key components that make an NAIA college unique is the intended desires of the division to develop certain core characteristics in their athletes. It is our desire to produce great athletes, but even more important that we provide these young men and women with the knowledge, character and tools that will help them in the future.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen? If a track athlete personally contacts you by phone or email, what will you do next?
If a high school athlete is interested in our program they should go on our athletic site athletics.taylor.edu/recruiting and fill out our form. This will come directly to our coaching staff and we will reach out to you.
- Note: You can find a recruiting form or questionnaire on any program’s website. This is a must for reaching out to schools you are interested in.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your rosters?
We do our best to combine track and field scholarships with other school scholarships such as Academic (gpa and test scores), department or government. This gives us an opportunity to field a bigger team with more depth.
What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
We invite the parent or guardian to come on the visit with the student and ask questions as well during the process. It is our desire that parents know and understand everything that is going on, as they are entrusting their child to us for the next 4-5 years.
Track and field recruiting is all about recorded data, right? Or is there more to it?
Recruiting is not just about the numbers. Being a great athlete goes without being said. However, more than anything I want to see if this student-athlete matches us with what kind of culture I am trying to create for my program. Will they get along with others on the team, or will they be a problem? Are they open to developing their relationship with Jesus (Taylor is a Christian University)? Do they communicate will with me? These are just a few of the other items I look for in a recruit.
How do you use social media when recruiting? What is your advice to recruits about their use of social media?
Social media is crucial. Sometimes it is used to reach out to athletes I’ve had trouble getting in contact with. Most if not all high schoolers have social media accounts.
Be smart! When it comes to recruiting if you have crazy (party) pics, horrible post (bigotry, slander etc.) I most likely won’t even give it a second thought no matter your talent. Your posts whether you are a high school student or an adult, will say a lot about you and about your character.
What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the college recruiting process?
Not asking enough questions. Ask what you really want to know. Whether it is about meets, coaching staff, scholarship money, team gear, university cost, whatever ask. You don’t want to be surprised when you arrive on campus in August.
Taylor College is a Christian school. Will all religious schools be similar? What are differences that recruits should think about when choosing a religious school?
I cannot speak for all religious schools, only Taylor University. I know that there are others which are less conservative, and some which are more. We are a non-denomination school, so we recruit any athletes who have expressed that they are saved and have a relationship (no matter the depth) with Christ.
The mission of the Taylor University Athletic Department is to provide comprehensive and competitive experiences that promote the achievement of excellence and the building up of Christ-like character for the purpose of developing lives of eternal significance.
What should players expect from a Christian college athletic experience?
It is my desire that their experience is the same that they may get had they gone Division 1. We may not be funded to the same degree, but we invest more than ever into the lives of each student-athlete that comes through our program. At the same time we work like crazy to help our athletes develop their gift in the sport they love, and our coaching staff has the same goals.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or track and field athletes in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
It’s important to check out every level and size of school big or small. You never know if you come across a situation that fits you just right.
David Neville is the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Taylor University. For more information about David check out the following links. The first is his athletic biography and the second his coaching biography from Taylor.
Next, check out: 5 Tips for your campus visit so you don’t end up a school you hate!
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