I am excited to bring you this interview with NJCAA Softball Coach Traci Harrison, of Enterprise State Community College.
Welcome to Interview #112.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen? If an athlete personally contacts you by phone or email, what will you do next?
Sending their high school or travel ball schedule is always a good thing. I sometimes like to see a video, but majority of the time I will do some research on that athlete then find some dates where that athlete is playing and go watch OR invite them to one of our prospect camps.
How do you find players for your team?
I recruit a lot, that’s part of my job. I attend lots of showcases and camps to see what is out there that I may have not gotten to see and promote my program as well.
What type of student-athlete do you focus on recruiting?
We’re looking for the best players in the U.S. that we can find. We’re also looking for what type of student are they in the classroom.
Having good grades is a big thing in order to play softball. Besides grades, we’re looking for athletes that can come in and get the job done for our program as well as representing us on/off the field.
Why do you think athletes should consider a community college? What are the benefits of attending a community college?
I personally believe a community college is the best fit to go for two years then transfer out. Coming into a junior college increases you’re playing time as well as being see by other 4 year schools. Who wants to go sit on the bench at a 4-year school for 2 years?
Junior colleges transform athletes and make them a better student-athlete so when it’s their time to go, they will be already prepared. Also junior colleges have 24 scholarships, so not having to take out any loans for two years to play ball and attend school; who would want turn that down?
What are some myths or misconceptions about junior colleges?
I believe athletes think it’s just a junior college, there’s no competition, no playing those big schools, etc. But there all wrong. A lot of junior colleges are ranked in the nation with softball and some are better than D1,2,3 schools. You have a huge advantage being recruited to top division programs right after junior college then struggling to go to a big school right after high school.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your roster? How many players are typically on your roster and how does this affect how much each player receives?
My roster comes from everywhere. We are located in Alabama, and that doesn’t mean I have to recruit in that State. This program is treated like a business and in order to be successful we have to go out and recruit very well. I try not to go above 20 players, more than we need to handle.
Our scholarships consist of 18 full rides, with a few walk-ons if needed. Each of the 18 players on our roster who is on scholarship are all given the exact same amount, there are no brownie points in giving more.
When looking at a 2-year school, what are some questions student athletes should ask about the help they will receive to get into a four-year school and to continue playing?
Each fall, we are allowed to play 10 dates, and during these 10 dates I like to schedule the best D1 & D2 schools that I can fine. We are not playing to get out butts’ whoop, we are playing to face good competition, compete and win. These games that we schedule in the fall will prepare us for the spring when it comes down to conference games.
A lot of questions I get is do a lot of my players transfer on …. And YES! That is a major team rule that all sophomores must go on after their two years here and transfer to play ball. Softball is your education, why only come play for 2 years? There’s a lot more fun in your next 2 more years. I like when athletes ask questions about how we get the players seen by four year coaches etc.
What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
I do believe that parents do play a part in the recruiting process, but at the end of the day, it is the athlete that needs to make her own decision on the school she would like to attend. The athlete is the one who will spend hours a day with her teammates and coaches for 9 months out of the year. I also tell my recruits to talk it over with your parents but I always tell the parents this is the athlete’s decision not yours. She has to be happy about her choices. This is about THEM, not the parents.
Can you share a creed, quote, or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?
We talk a lot about “LOSING is not acceptable here”. We’re here to win and take care of unfinished business.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes as they navigate the recruiting process?
Do a lot of research on schools? A lot of things you hear about programs are not always 100% true. Do the research and ask questions.
Next, check out: 10 Benefits of Choosing a JUCO
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