WSU's Rasmussen: A passion for recruiting

RICH RASMUSSEN, Washington State's recruiting coordinator, was born to recruit. Any debate on the matter begins and ends nine years ago in a Spokane hospital. Rasmussen was with wife Teri, who was in labor in the delivery room for the birth of their second son. The delivery was going along great, but the problem was that Jacob had decided to be born on Letter of Intent Day.

The week before the 1999 Signing Day had been beyond hectic for Rasmussen. He was running all over the state on the final round of in-home visits while continually working the phones to solidify the class.

And there was also the small matter of his wife being pregnant. False labor a few days earlier while he was in the living room of a recruit had sent him racing back across the state.

Teri went into labor for real the night before Signing Day but on Wednesday morning, Wulff called with news. A player who had verbally committed and who Rasmussen thought was all wrapped up had not yet faxed in his Letter of Intent.

Rasmussen, in the delivery room, while his wife was in labor, reached for the phone to call the high school.

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HE WAS EVENTUALLY able to talk to the recruit. It turned out the player had talked to another school at 10:20 p.m. the night before. That school had promised him he would be able to play both ways, an unlikely scenario at any level of college football.

At one point in the conversation, Rasmussen jokingly broached the possibility of naming their son after him if he signed, a scenario his wife immediately vetoed. Rasmussen continued to carry on the conversation with the recruit for about 25 minutes, trying to get him back in the fold.

All the while, the doctor, nurses and his wife were there in the same room as Rasmussen, as Teri went through the initial stages of birth.

"It took a little while to get out of the doghouse on that one," said Rasmussen.

The recruit in question ended up signing with the other school. But two years later when Eastern played them at their place, the player came across the field to meet Rasmussen.

"He said, 'You were right coach Raz. I haven't had an opportunity to play both ways and I probably should have listened to you,'" said Rasmussen.

RECRUITING IS INDEED something Rasmussen thinks about constantly. He never truly gets way from it regardless of whatever else he might be doing -- whether that's watching one of his kids play on their sports teams or when he's playing a round of golf.

"I wish I could get away from it," Rasmussen laughs. "I'm constantly leaving myself voice messages, texting myself to remind me of things that pop into my head and people I need to contact. It's truly a passion for me. It's one of the aspects of this job that I really enjoy doing."

His approach is multi-faceted, one that requires a lot of work. Rasmussen looks to develop a relationship not only with the player but also the people he's closest to -- that could be an older brother, sister, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, coach, someone else at school, or any and all of the above.

"We really try to build those relationships. It takes a lot of homework, said Rasmussen. "I think you have to truly get to know the individual and what the important things are to them. And we really try to build those relationships with the high school coaches so we get an absolute feel for if this individual is going to be a good fit in our program or not.

"We need to find the best players that we can possibly find, first in the state of Washington and the broadening our scope, that are going to be a great fit in Pullman."

THE DECISION ON whether to extend a scholarship offer to a prospect at Washington State under Wulff will, as is the case with virtually every school, rest solely with the Cougars' head man. And a recruiting coordinator's duties vary depending on the school.

Under Wulff at Wazzu, Rasmussen has more responsibilities than most, and he's also probably on the road more than most recruiting coordinators.

And with a new staff will invariably come new ideas and different ways of doing things in the recruiting game.

Read about that, plus much, much more soon on

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