Recruiting Basics

West Virginia assistant football coach Chris Beatty has become the darling of those Mountaineer fans that follow recruiting for the early commitments he snared from players in his area. While quickly being anointed as the next big thing in recruiting circles, Beatty knows that the "secrets" to being successful in recruiting are, like most success stories, based in fundamentals.

Beatty, like all NCAA coaches, can't comment on recruits, but he can speak about the process. He readily admits that his ties in the Tidewater area of eastern Virginia are certainly one of the building blocks of his success, but he also notes that the idea of doing things the right way is one of them as well.

"You just want to make sure you do all the right things in recruiting to give yourself the best chance you have to get the players you want," he said of his basic approach. "I don't ever want to limit the type of athlete we go after. We're a top 10 program, so we should be recruiting the best players, whether it's in my area or across the nation.. My area just happens to be one that has a lot of great players, so you want to make sure you can do everything you can do, and not fail because you didn't bust your tail."

That process includes making the NCAA-mandated limit on the number of calls and contacts, and also following it up with written correspondence, which is one form of communication that isn't limited. Recent West Virginia commitment Pat Eger recently noted that WVU's blitz of letters from coaches let him know how serious they were about their scholarship offer, and offers even more reinforcement to the notion that the old fashioned letter or postcard, often ignored in today's electronic communication society, still carry weight.

"I'm going to write them as much as I can, and do that more than anybody," Beatty said, acknowledging that the limits on texting have pushed snail mail back to the forefront of recruiting. I just don't want to not get a recruit because I didn't do everything I could."

Despite the acclaim he has garnered, Beatty is well aware that renown as a recruiter can be fleeting. Any number of factors, such as a downturn of talent in a recruiting area, a mismatch between available players and a team's needs, or simple circumstance can turn the tide. That's an accepted fact for recruiters, but for fans always wanting more, it can set up unrealistic expectations.

"Some years you might get eight or nine, but some you might get just two or three," Beatty noted. "Even if you don't get a player, what you want is to just be in the running, to make sure they know about West Virginia. If the [high school] coaches know you and they know you worked hard at what you are doing, that's a big thing."

Of course, with Virginia and Washington D.C. as his primary recruiting areas of responsibility, Beatty isn't likely to see a serious downturn in talent anytime soon. There are still challenges to be met in those areas, however. After making a big inroad in the Tidewater area already, Beatty would like to do the same in the D.C. metro area. The key there, as it was in Virginia, would be to get one or two top tier players in order to build around – and that's his big goal in this year's recruiting process.

Beatty is also well-grounded, and doesn't let the adulation for his early successes go to his head. He's also quick to acknowledge the groundwork laid by others that he has used in his first months in the West Virginia program.

"Coach Stewart had great relationships with the coaches down there," he said. "Those guys, they trust coach Stew. That was one of the things that made it easy for me to go in and sell our program. They know he is honest, up front and a great guy. They know that when they say they are going to send a kid to West Virginia and play for this guy, they know what kind of coach they are going to play for. That helps me out tremendously.

"Every name I bring up in our meetings Coach Stew will say, "Oh yeah, that's my buddy!"," Beatty says while breaking out a good imitation of the head coach. "Of course, with Coach Stew I don't know if there's anyone that's not his buddy. But you talk to all the high school coaches down there, and you will hear the same thing. So it makes it much easier for me. Coach Stew is a special guy. He's different than any coach I've been around, and I've been around some great coaches. Having been down there, and having the relationships he does with the high school coaches, it just makes it easier for me."

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