The title of "recruiting coordinator" has been a hot topic among a segment of Mountaineer fans since the former coach in that position, Chris Beatty, departed the program for Vanderbilt . In the eyes of some, a vacancy in that position means West Virginia is falling behind in the process, and that not having a coordinator puts the Mountaineers at a competitive disadvantage in attracting players to campus.
The reality is that the title doesn't confer any special status on a coach that may hold it. Some programs use it to recognize a good recruiter, while others use it as justification to give a staffer a bump in pay, but many times the title wasn't necessarily given to the best recruiter on the staff. While a mythology may have grown up around it, the fact is that programs have to have multiple coaches that are good recruiters -- individuals that can hit the road and sell the program. The title of "recruiting coordinator" doesn't help in that regard, and that's exactly the stance Holgorsen takes on the position.
"I don't agree with a position coach being a recruiting coordinator, because it's all organization," Holgorsen told Patrick Southern of BlueGoldNews.com. "If that guy is out on the road in Florida, how is he going to organize where the other eight guys are? So I think the recruiting coordinator is all organization, mailings, just getting information to recruits, getting information to coaches. The best way to do that is a guy that's in-house."
Holgorsen believes it doesn't make sense to load down an assistant coach with the many duties that he will assign to a recruiting coordinator. Between their own recruiting efforts and their game and practice duties, most of their days are full to begin with, and adding on the tasks of paperwork, coordination and organization of recruiting would be an overload -- and not the best use of the resources at hand. He uses one of his current assistants as an example.
"Robert Gillespie is as qualified as any recruiter in the country. He's as good as any recruiter in the country, and he's as qualified as anybody in the country. We could tag him as the recruiting coordinator, but I would rather tag him as the best recruiter in the country and let him go recruit, then have somebody in house who is organizationally gifted and can make sure that he knows where everybody is at, what everybody is doing."
In a way, Holgorsen's outlook on the position mirrors his approach to offense. Identify what people can do well, put them in position to be successful, and let them do their jobs. While the recruiting coordinator position is an important one, it's not one where he sees the best return coming from an assistant coach.
"I think the recruiting coordinator is a guy that's not a coach," Holgorsen reiterated. "He can't have any contact with kids on a daily basis, so it's just in-house organizing where everybody is, making sure you're hitting the correct schools, that we're following compliance and not overlapping in areas -- which is hard to organize. Send two guys to Houston, and if you're not organized, they could run into each other. I mean, that's just the way it is. It happens. It happens every year in recruiting. So that guy needs to understand where everybody is at, where they're going, and just keep track of it, develop your database and make sure these guys are building absolutely the best database they can and getting as much information as they can."
The makeup of football staffs at FBS schools could change in the coming year, and that could have an effect on how the recruiting section at WVU is manned. One proposed bit of legislation would increase the number of graduate assistants allowed on the field from two to four, and Holgorsen might use one of those spots to help with the in-house aspects of those recruiting duties. Still, he sees a full-time staff position holding down the title.
"We'll have a recruiting coordinator, and then we'll probably have a GA that's underneath him to help with all the mailings and stuff," Holgorsen explained. "You want a recruiting coordinator that wants to recruit. You want a recruiting GA as a guy that wants to be a recruiting coordinator. Then you have an offensive and defensive GA, and if they give you a fourth, that just gives you an extra body that's out there on the field."
With his plans lined out, Holgorsen hopes to make a move and fill the coordinator position sometime this month. May, of course, is a big travel month for the coaches, as they hit Mountaineer Athletic Club and other fundraising events around the state in order to promote the program, but the anticipated timeframe is to have this position filled before football camps in June.