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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NICK SABAN, RICK PITINO, DALE BROWN AND THE TIRELESS WORK OF RECRUITING

The following comes from a Wall Street Journal article written by Rachael Bachman.  Many wonder what the secret of success is for Alabama football and Nick Saban.  I have blogged often about his "process-oriented" approach to teaching and playing.  But the bottom line is still his tremendous work ethic and that of his staff.  If the most important part of your program is the people you have, than recruiting must be priority.  We all hear coaches talk about it "being the life-line" of a program but do they approach it every single day as the top priority. 

I was told once that when he was at Kentucky that Rick Pitino and his staff met each and every day, first thing in the morning, to go over recruiting.  I was told that if you were to contact a player the night before you had better got it done -- no excuses.  You better have the phone number to his parents, his girl friend, his coach, his assistant coach, his friends -- anyone you might need to track him down on that particular night. Coach Pitino was also quoted as saying "real recruiting occurs after they say 'no' to you."

During my tenure at LSU on Dale Brown's staff, we had the "War Room" which is designated for recruiting and video breakdown.  Dale was intensive in how we contacted recruits as well down to the letters and notes we sent out -- to the recruit, his parents, his coach, his principal, his counselor -- anyone that we considered to possibly be in his "circle of influence."  In fact, Dale would travel to a school and make sure he got the name of everyone he came in contact with that day.  That might include a math teacher...a guidance counselor...the custodian in the gym...the cashier at the Dairy Queen -- and when we got back to Baton Rouge he wrote a short hand written note to each.

Here is what Bachman discovered about Saban and recruiting from Paul Finebaum:  

Perhaps the Crimson Tide's boomerang success with  (Rueben) Foster should come as no surprise to most of the college-football world, which has watched Alabama win three of the past four national championships.

"I talked to an Alabama assistant coach Sunday morning fairly early," Finebaum said. "I said, 'Where are you?' He said, 'Where do you think I am? I'm at work.' We were talking about coach (Nick) Saban, and he said, 'He is the hardest-working recruiter I've ever been around and it's no different today than it's been over the years.'"

Finebaum said Alabama even has a "situation room" dedicated to recruiting.

"No one is allowed in there other than key personnel," Finebaum said. "There's a board of every player for four years, their grade-point average, where they're leaning—any nuggets of information. There's not a day in the year, other than two weeks in the summer when coaches are off, when they don't go into that room and look at that board and talk recruiting." An Alabama spokesman confirmed there is such a room.