Texas Wesleyan head baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat says that when he recruits players, he’s looking for gamers.
“I look for guys that are going to find a way to win,” Jeffcoat said. “We try to find the best hitters and place them into positions we feel that suits them, and as for our pitchers we don’t necessarily look for speed, we look for location.”
Jeffcoat is one of four coaches interviewed about recruiting and what he looks for in athletes. He, head track and cross country coach Natnael Amare, women’s golf coach Kevin Millikan, and head softball coach Shannon Gower all agree that hard work and dedication, along with being coachable, are traits all college athletes should have.
There are no set guidelines for what coaches should value when they are recruiting. According to an article on Recruiting-101.com, there are five attributes that coaches look for: ability, character, work ethic, size, and grades, in that order.
On the other hand, a 2013 article on varsityedge.com says the top attributes are, “1) – Good athletes, 2) – Good athletes at their particular sport, 3) – Good academic students, 4) – Interested in their college, and last but not least, 5) – A good person.”
“Skill level, academic qualifications, and in general just a good college student with a great personality is what I look for most,” Millikan said.
In contrast, Gower said she looks for “players that will come in and make an impact, that show attitude and work ethic.”
Gower said she also recruits or tries to recruit players who display personality, chemistry with other teammates, and composure.
Similarly, Amare said he looks for athletes who show dedication, determination and desire.
“I love giving athletes that have the three Ds the opportunity to be successful and to push themselves, if they want to,” Amare said.
Wesleyan athletes have a variety of reasons why they decided to play sports here. Several of them, including senior cross country runner Becky Lavarn and junior softball player Shelby Reddington, like the small school atmosphere.
“I wasn’t ready for a big school so Wesleyan fit the bill for me,” Lavarn said.
Sophomore women’s golfer Alex Schies, from Mansfield, said she was actively recruited by Millikan, and liked the fact that she didn’t have to go far from home to play collegiate golf. Also, Schies loves that Wesleyan plays in tournaments in different parts of the country.
“We get to go to cool places like Georgia and Florida as well as Puerto Rico, and it expands our skills because we aren’t just playing the same courses all the time,” Schies said.
Senior baseball player Jake Davis, who grew up in Weatherford, also wanted to stay close to home. He also likes how small Wesleyan is so he can interact with his professors.
“I’ve never experienced not knowing my teachers well, like high school it’s nice to be able to talk face to face to my professors so I can know what to improve on,” he said.