The Pacific Index

Pacific coaches focus on recruitment

Pacific’s men’s basketball coach and football coach take different approaches to recruiting athletes

Max Kirkendall, Sports Editor

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In college athletics, the most critical part in building up a program is recruitment. 
At Pacific University, many of the sports teams have different techniques for recruiting and getting athletes that fit into the sport’s program and school. Keith Buckley, head coach of the football team, was given the task of recruiting an entire team when the football program started back up in 2010. Buckley has primarily recruited athletes from what he calls their ‘four core states,’ which include Oregon, Washington, California and Hawaii. “We have guys from about nine different states on our roster,” Buckley said. “But about 90 percent of our guys come from those core states.” Coach Buckley and the football program focus more on recruiting freshmen who come straight out of high school, as opposed to recruiting guys out of junior and community colleges. “Philosophically we’ve been more about the four year experience as opposed to the two year experience,” Buckley said. “The biggest challenge for transfers coming in is learning the 
system quick enough to be immediate contributors.
Sometimes it takes three, four or five games until they are really comfortable with the system that we’re running and by then they are only really productive for a season and a half. For the freshmen coming in, if they are starting by their sophomore year and they have the system down, then they are playing three full seasons which is twice as long as the transfer students.” For other sports teams at Pacific, they focus more on the recruiting of those junior college and community college athletes to address some of the immediate needs of their team. Tim Cleary, head men’s basketball coach, has recruited many athletes from junior and community colleges with the majority of his players being transfer students. “We have put a lot of emphasis into junior college recruiting because we feel like we can get guys with a little more experience and who are a little more physically developed,” Cleary said.
“That way there’s not so much pressure on the younger guys to develop quickly.” Even though most of coach Cleary’s players are transfer students, Cleary admits that having the freshmen who come in straight out of high school is more beneficial to the program. “If you can get a high school guy who is ready it’s better,” Cleary said. 
“The problem you have with junior college guys is you only get them for two years and right when they really start to figure things out and understand our system they graduate. If you can get a high school guys who is ready physically and mentally, then it’s better because you have them for four years. lot of them aren’t ready right out of high school, but that’s the ideal situation.” Although Buckley and Cleary have different approaches on recruiting, they both look for athletes who are not just talented athletically, but they also look for high character guys who fit into the mold of their programs.
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Pacific coaches focus on recruitment