Learning From The Pros: Taking it Slow

The regular season of the NCAA’s college football FBS division has drawn to a close, meaning that bowl season and the highly anticipated four-team playoff is just around the corner.

It’s no coincidence that the four teams in contention for the national championship - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington - all are led by coaches with reputations for being excellent recruiters. What most people - even avid fans - may not know is that there is more than one way to run a great recruiting program.

Today, we’re taking a look at University of Washington head coach Chris Petersen’s approach to building a competitive program.

Petersen’s resume speaks for itself. A two-time winner of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, he compiled an incredible 92-12 record at Boise State University and sent multiple players to the NFL. He took over a middling Washington football program in 2014, and has summarily placed the Huskies in serious national title contention for the first time since 1991.

When it comes to recruiting, Petersen takes a more unorthodox approach.

In an article for USA Today Sports, Petersen mused that "the whole recruiting thing is going down a really bad path. Recruiting's becoming such a bunch of hype and a bunch of stuff that makes it harder on everybody to do an honest, good job and find the best fit for both sides. And that's what it's all about."

Opposed to the flurry of scholarship offers which most programs push out to any prospect who seems promising, Petersen prefers a slower and more methodical approach. It’s even been described as “a snail’s pace.”

The philosophy behind the approach, which Petersen honed at Boise State - where landing top prospects is difficult - is that they don’t want to simply find good players. They want to find players who buy into their message. This means Washington’s coaches don’t just rely on watching highlight tapes. They also get to know their prospects and their personalities.

"It's easy to put the tape on and see a good player,” said Petersen to USA Today, “but the reason we did so well at Boise and had so many of those guys get drafted and be NFL players was because we got the right guys who bought into our message. We were able to develop them. Plus, we liked coaching them, they liked being coached by us."

In today’s professional hiring environment, not enough organizations place emphasis on methodically building a stable pipeline of talented prospects who are not only interested, but are also a good fit for the organization.

STEM Premier’s platform is built around the ability to build personal relationships with users, whether they are potential students, potential scholarship recipients, or potential colleagues. Our messaging system facilitates communication with both individuals and groups, and our ManageOpps™ feature allows organizations to post scholarship offers, events, and other opportunities for talent to become engaged with them.  

Now you know Chris Petersen’s recruiting strategy. What’s yours?