Tag Archive for US collegiate volleyball

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Mar 27, 2015

I applied for a Division II head coaching job in the middle part of the country. I also put in for a Division I assistant job in the Northeast. Of considerable interest is the head job I put in for which would be for a brand new volleyball program.

On the jobs I won’t be getting front is the Eastern Illinois head job, which I never really thought I’d have much of a chance at.

I will spend the weekend in Berlin at the men’s CEV Champions League Final 4 hanging out in the VIP area between matches. I’m hoping to make some additional contacts who can help out in the job search process.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Mar 13, 2015

Daniel Webster, the Division III program where they posted for a joint men’s and women’s coach to which I applied, has hired. This was a pretty quick turn around, at least from the posting date, which is a little surprising given the men are currently mid-season. I was thinking this wouldn’t be filled until after the season ended. Makes me think maybe they had their person in mind already.

Miami has filled their assistant vacancy. Likewise with Arkansas State and Eastern Michigan. The College of Charleston will be filling their position with a former player, from what I was told.

I applied for one Division I head coach position in the south and one Division II assistant job in the west this past week. I also applied for another assistant job at a school where I previously applied for the head coach vacancy.

On the professional front, I committed to going to the CEV Champions League Final 4 in Berlin. Part of it is just to go to an event I might otherwise not have a chance to see, being hosted by a club I’ve visited a couple times now. There is definitely an eye toward doing some networking as well, though. I expect some of the professional coaches I know to be there. Hopefully I can meet a few more. I went with the VIP ticket to help facilitate that.

Thinking about volleyball recruiting

It occurred to me the other day that I had yet to really take on the subject of recruiting on this blog in any meaningful fashion. At I haven’t least from the coach’s perspective (see Inside College Volleyball for a different angle). The realization came on the back of having to give serious thought to my own recruiting track record and how I present it following some feedback I recently received in the job hunt process. Recruiting is a massive part of coaching collegiately in the US. Really, in some fashion or another is a feature of competitive volleyball at just about any level. As much as we might all like to think our great coaching is why we win, having quality players is a big part of the equation. Identifying, attracting, and retaining them is thus an important part of coaching successfully when you get paid to win.

My plan is to run a series of posts covering different aspects of recruiting. To that end, I’d love to hear from you. What aspects of recruiting do you want to learn more about? What do you feel like you need to be better at in recruiting? Do you have any personal insights into recruiting you’d like to share? Maybe you’ve got a story?

I’ve got the framework of an idea for how I’ll take on the subject, but input and contributions are very welcome. Feel free to leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can email me through the contact page or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks in advance.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Mar 6, 2015

Only one head coach application submitted this week. That was for a job in the Northeast.

I applied for another of what looks like a 2nd assistant position. This is for a program where the 1st Assistant moved on to take one of the head coach jobs I applied for, but obviously didn’t get. I took a slightly different approach with my initial contact to the head coach there. We’ll see if it pays off. I followed that up with applications to a pair of stronger conference teams for their assistant vacancies which also look like they would be 2nd assistant positions, but at that level there is often less of a distinction.

I also applied for a Division II assistant position in the Northeast. That’s the first non-Division I assistant job I’ve put in for up to this point. It’s full-time, though I don’t know if there are any additional duties attached, which can be the case at that level. Nothing was indicated in the job posting. The program has been pretty consistently strong and regularly in the NCAA tournament.

I got a rejection note from Cornell for their head coach position. They’ve elevated their assistant, who had already been given the interim tag. Also got a head coach rejection note from West Virgina, which I never really expected anything out of anyway. East Carolina has filled the assistant vacancy that I submitted for and I received a polite “you’re not on our list” email with regards to Utah.

Upon request, I finally was able to get some useful feedback this week from one of the schools to which I applied for a head coach position (but didn’t get). It went like this:

“Perhaps in the future, it would be worthwhile to provide more context about your work with the Exeter club, and to highlight similarities with recruitment there and NCAA D1, high-caliber play, and so on.   Emphasis on continued expansion of US recruiting networks would be important here since we have such a limited pool of international financial aid, though other institutions may be keenly interested in recruiting networks abroad.”

My takeaway is that basically I need to do a better job of translating my experience in England into NCAA coaching terms and give more attention to the recruiting side of things. Not unreasonable. I’ve sent follow-up emails to schools where searches remain active to try to address that, have adjusted my resume, and will incorporate it into future applications.

I had a conversation with one of my German professional coach friends this week. He told me to email a contact of his in Finland, suggesting that is a good place to get a start in the pro game. I did and heard back basically that he’ll keep me in mind.

Also connected with a coach I used to battle against in the Ivy League, and who was a fellow coach in the same Juniors club back when I got started. He coached at one of the schools I’ve applied to, and apparently still is connected with them. Said he’d put in a good word for me.

Saving perhaps the best for last, I finally had someone actually express interest in me! It’s for one of the 2nd Assistant positions in the Midwest I mentioned putting in for last week. The coach emailed me the other day. Officially, they cannot do anything just yet because the posting needs to be active for a certain amount of time before they can begin screening. It’s a start, though.

I made the decision at the end of last week to strip the UK address and phone number from my resume when applying for jobs in the States. I’d already been using my US mailing address in the online application forms – partly because some of them just didn’t handle overseas addresses well – and had begun leaving my address off my cover letters. I also changed my LinkedIn profile to show a US location. I’m hoping this will at least avoid any kind of initial automatic screening out on that basis. I can always explain my situation in an interview.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Feb 27, 2015

I had a lot of back-and-forth thinking over applying for a couple of Division III head coach jobs that recently got posted. I think I’ve decided not to go the full-time route at that level, though, since mainly it means having some other job that I wouldn’t normally be too excited about. If I were to end up doing DIII it would be part-time in conjunction with a normal job of my choosing – in which case I could alternatively do high school and/or club coaching. The one potential exception is a combined combined men’s and women’s position, which is definitely something I find appealing at that level. One of the jobs in frame is just such a position, and I’ve applied for it. I’ve enjoyed have that kind of joint role the last couple years at Exeter, especially in the way the two teams have worked together, supported each other, etc. The problem with applying for a men’s related position at this point is that they aren’t likely to hire someone officially until after the season ends, so the process could drag out for a while.

I’ve applied for another head coach job at Division I program in the Northeast. It’s one where a successful coach has moved on to become an assistant at a big conference program. The roster of the program looks like a professional one with the bulk of it being foreign. My guess is the history winning there will attract a bunch of applicants who want an easy path to getting an NCAA tournament appearance on their resume.

I applied for the assistant job at one of the schools where I previously applied to be the head coach. No doubt there are a few others like that which will open up in the weeks ahead as coaches get going in their new jobs.

I put in for a few 2nd assistant positions at mid-level programs in the Midwest. I wasn’t going to go that route because they are essentially a step backwards in terms of my coaching progression and the pay won’t be great, but I ended up changing my mind. They would still get me back into NCAA Division I coaching, and I would be in an area of the country where volleyball has a decent level of respect – unlike the Northeast where I’ve done most of my coaching (never mind England!). I’ve seen the posted salary for one of them. It’s predictably low, but even at that it’s quite a bit higher than what I was getting in my 1st assistant days at Brown. Sad, but true. I have some other side sources of income that will help keep things from being too lean in any case.

Also put in for what is likely a 2nd assistant position at a top conference program. No doubt the list of candidates for that job will be a mile long.

Of the follow-up emails I sent out last week, I got one response basically right away with respect to a head coach job. I’d emailed the Assistant A.D. with oversight over the volleyball program. He responded telling me they would begin reviewing resumes this week. No other communication as yet, though.

On the rejection front there’s the Northern Kentucky assistant job. Didn’t even get a call and the new guy definitely can’t match my qualifications. Could have been other considerations at work, though.

I’ve started slowly trying to put out feelers in the professional volleyball world. They are still largely in-season, though. Germany, for example, just finished the regular season, but will have play-offs running right through April. The CEV Champions League Final 4 takes place the last weekend of March.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Feb 20, 2015

I applied for a Division I head coaching job in the Mid-Atlantic the other day, as well as for a combined men’s and women’s head coaching position at an NAIA school in the central part of the US. Not sure about the fit for either one, but it doesn’t cost anything to submit. Also submitted for a second Mid-Atlantic head coach job at a school where the current coach just took a new position. It looks to be a re-building situation as the team is graduating about a half dozen foreign seniors and basically just has freshmen left.

I finally bit the bullet and applied for a Division III head job near Chicago after dragging my feet for a few days. The “additional” duties thing always gives me pause. Many of the ones I’ve seen up to now have involved teaching duties, but this one did not specify. The school looks to be in prime recruitment territory, which makes it intriguing, especially since recent performance hasn’t been very good.

I also put in for a DI assistant job in the mid-Atlantic area. It was one I didn’t initially go for as the staff is already all-male and it looks likely to be a 2nd Assistant job. It’s a decent geography, though, so I figured what the heck. I doubt anything will come of it, but it’s another chance to get my name out there for potential future benefits. I skipped a Division I assistant job where they wanted Gold Medal Squared knowledge/experience and another where the salary was too low (middle to upper 20s).

Word came down the the other day that the Alaska-Fairbanks coach had been sacked for recruiting violations. That opens up a Division II head job, but not exactly one in a location I’m overly keen to try out.

In terms of rejections, add the Coastal Carolina, and Florida International assistant positions to the pile. No posting of a new hire yet, but I got “…your application is no longer under consideration” emails. The UNC Charlotte and Eastern Michigan head job have been filled.. Likewise with the Albany assistant post. I’ve also heard that they are close to filling another head job I thought I had a really good shot of at least getting a call for, which is annoying.

I did a couple of follow-up emails this week for jobs I’ve recently put in for. We’ll see if they spur any higher level of interest.

I actually had a friend ask if I thought being in England was causing me problems. I’ll admit, it’s something I’ve thought about.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Feb 13, 2015

The head coach job I mentioned last week hearing rumor about being filled has indeed now been. That was Hartford. Interestingly, they didn’t go for a female candidate as I’d heard suggested they wanted. That’s a tough job, though. As I understand it from my contacts in the region, the prior coach left because of the lack of resources. The new coach has good names on his resume from assistant coaching. I can’t help but wonder how he’s going to deal with things in this much less well supported program. I applied somewhat out of curiosity myself. Never heard anything from them, though.

In other rejection news, I heard at the HP Clinic that the East Tennessee State assistant job is/will be filled (by a former player). Haven’t seen anything posted officially. Also saw that the George Mason head job was finally filled. To this point I haven’t found all that much fault with the selections made, but in this case I have to ask the question why I wasn’t even contacted. The new coach has zero head coaching experience and her four years as a Division I assistant were spread across three different programs. I’m not suggesting she may not end up being a perfectly good coach for the program, but her qualifications beg the question why someone with more experience wasn’t at least contacted.

After seeing that news, I reached out to one of my former coaching bosses. She made the observation that my time away from US volleyball and the fact that I’m a male aren’t helping me, which I’ve known would be the case. She suggested I might need to go the assistant route – which I’ve obviously been doing – or going Division III, which I haven’t done yet.

I also had another head coach I worked under suggest people might be afraid of me because of the PhD thing. I’ve definitely wondered about that. He also expressed the idea that going after a head job would be difficult not coming from a major program in the US and that women seem to be favored. He also asked “Are you sure you want to do this?” 🙂

The head coach job at another lower level program in the Northeast has opened up that I’ve applied for. It’s in a difficult competitive situation in that basically there’s one dominant team in that conference, with everyone else playing for second. If I were to go for it I would do so from the perspective of a potential stepping stone and/or being in a position to help develop volleyball in the region.

I also put in for another Division I head coaching job in a better part of the country. It’s one I initially thought not to go after, but I’ve since figured “Why not?” I’ve applied for a handful of DI assistant jobs as well. I’m now up over 40 jobs applied for since things started.

I emailed the A.D. of a couple of the schools I applied to earlier just to follow-up and reiterate my interest in those jobs and will do the same with a few others, and some head coaches as well.

In other interesting news, word has it one of the schools I submitted for a head position at has sent out “thanks, but no thanks” notes a couple weeks ago. I didn’t get one, suggesting I passed at least the first cut. I haven’t heard anything beyond that, though, which implies I’m not near the top of the list.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Feb 6, 2015

After last week’s update I had a lengthy internal debate about whether to apply for a head coach job I’d seen posted. It’s in Division III and back home so to speak. By that I mean it’s in New England where I did all my coaching before spending time in England. Unfortunately, New England is not one of the stronger volleyball areas of the U.S. That means there isn’t a deep high caliber player pool from which to recruit regionally and the coaching salaries are not great, relatively speaking. This particular school is a strong one academically, though, so it’s able to attract players from all over. Still, it’s Division III, which means in order to make up a reasonable salary coaching has to be combined with some other duties. In this case teaching P.E. courses is the add-on. It’s a situation I’m not overly keen on for a number of reasons, but I’m old and wise enough to know that sometimes the thing you don’t think will be good turns out to be quite positive.

In the end I decided not to go for it for two main reasons. First, it’s too early. There will be loads more jobs posted in the months to come, and opportunities in the professional game may develop as well. Second, taking a job like that very likely would limit any potential upside I might look for later. In other words, were I to decide at some point to move on, I would probably be very limited in my options for doing so.

I did, however, apply for a Division I head coach job that got posted. It was vacated by a coach who was hired for one of the positions I previously put in for. This is a job I would definitely go in thinking stepping stone position. Which of course isn’t to say I couldn’t find myself really enjoying coaching there and decide to stick around long-term.

Of course going through the job hunt process means having to think about salaries. I have seen job application instructions explicitly state that salary requirement be included in the cover letter. That got me revisiting some AVCA salary survey data I mentioned in the third part of my comparison of coaching collegiately in the U.S. vs. professionally in Europe. It provides a helpful starting point. I’ve also seen some of the position listings mention salary level or range, which helps further get some idea of relative levels – especially for assistant coaches.

On the rejection front there’s the Bowling Green assistant job and the Coker head job on the women’s side.

It’s kind of amazing how some positions remain open after two months or more. Rumor has it one of the jobs I put in for early in the process is starting things over. Actually, it’s more than just one of them now that I think about it. Word is one of them has finally been filled, though.

Volleyball Coaching Job Search Log – Jan 30, 2015

I applied late last week for head coach position for which I think I’m extremely qualified. Actually, I initially emailed the Athletic Director my resume as there was no online posting yet. This is a position for which relevant experience is not a question at all as I spent a lot of time in this particular conference. That means if I don’t at least get a bit of interest there’s some other factor at work. As it turns out, the A.D. responded (while traveling) to my email indicating that I would have to apply online officially when the posting went live. Late the same day I received a note from someone in H.R. letting me know it was up. The fact that they were proactive about that sort of thing suggests at least some interest. So does the fact that the A.D. (or at least someone in Athletics) scoped out my LinkedIn profile.

Also in the showing some interest category is an assistant position I’ve put in for. I saw the job posted, and was surprised. I’d been in touch with the head coach there over the break, but not in the context of him having a job for me. I passed him my resume, but from an “in case you hear of anything interesting” perspective.I didn’t think he’d have an opening having just hired a new assistant last year, and I got the feeling he didn’t either, which suggests something developed fairly suddenly – as certainly can happen. Anyway, when I dropped him a note to ask if he was looking for a 1st or 2nd assistant he passed me along to his HR person and I received an invitation to apply, which I have. This job wouldn’t pay as much as a head job, I’m sure, but it’s with a team that made the NCAA tournament last season in a desirable part of the country. Trade-offs.

Added to the list of jobs I didn’t get are Montana and Akron on the head coach side, along with the Florida State, Notre Dame, LSU, and Indiana assistant positions. Those jobs filling have opened up other positions in the usual domino effect.

Believe it or not, I found an actual letter from Mississippi State waiting for me when I got home the other day. You’ll recall I found out about that job being filled a couple weeks ago. The letter is dated the 15th, has a postage date of the 20th, and got to me in England on the 27th. I appreciate the personal touch, but it cost them $1.15. Email would have been fine.

With all the job dominoes falling, just about as many new positions are opening up as ones I’ve put in for are getting scratched from my list. In the past week I’ve put in applications for three other assistant positions and one head coach job above and beyond the ones mentioned above.

Actually, that latter head coach job was one I went back and forth about pursuing. The program has been poor for a number of years and seems to have turned over several coaches recently. The A.D. is relatively new to the position. I don’t know enough about the school or program to be able to gauge whether it’s somewhere that a real turn-around is a realistic expectation or not. I figured I’d put in for it, though. I love the idea of taking on a struggling program and getting it turned around. If it ends up not looking particularly appealing I could always turn it down.