Since arriving in Las Cruces in 1998, Mike Jordan, New Mexico State’s head volleyball coach, has redefined the Aggies’ program. In 2003, he led the team to their first Sun Belt Championship, NCAA tournament appearance and 30-plus win season. The WAC 2005 and 2006 Coach of the Year just wrapped up his 11th season and is now contending for conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances.
STACK went one-on-one with Jordan as he dishes out tips on all things recruiting—from writing college coaches to passing lame serves.
STACK: How have your recruiting practices changed since you first started at New Mexico State?
Michael Jordan: When we were rebuilding this program, we were just trying to recruit seniors. I would see some juniors, but we never looked at the sophomore class. The lay of the land has changed over the last five or six years, especially for us, going from a team that was pretty good, to a team that’s a more consistent top-25, top-40 kind of program.
STACK: When do you begin to evaluate potential recruits?
MJ: We are looking at sophomores now, more and more. The dominant amount of time is spent on the junior class. We’re trying really hard to evaluate those kids as much as we can. I think it changed a lot over time because of the early commitment stuff that’s going on. Now, you’ve got to get out and evaluate these kids and try to get them to call you, get to know their club coaches better and get to know them a little better before you offer them a scholarship.
STACK: How do you discover these athletes?
MJ: We’ve got a ton of [athletes] that write every week. We’ll put them in the database and make sure we get out and see them when we can. If they’re not playing club, we’re going to ask them for some videotape.
STACK: What are some important features to include on the videotape?
MJ: I mostly care about how close the camera is. It gives us a better idea of arm speed [and] jumping ability. It’s also easier to evaluate athleticism.
STACK: Do you prefer a game or skills tape?
MJ: I’d much rather see a skills tape as long as [the player is] being challenged. If you’re a libero and [the opponent is] serving lollipops at you, who cares? Anybody can pass a lame serve pretty well.
STACK: What other materials should athletes send to coaches?
MJ: All [of] your vital statistics. We want your address, we want your phone number, we want to know what position you play, who you play for, and we want your game schedule. Those things are really important, and we do the best we can to get out and see as many kids as we can.
STACK: What advice would you offer a high school volleyball player who wants to get noticed by college coaches?
MJ: Stay proactive, and don’t assume that you’re going to be seen. There are so many schools out there, it’s important that you contact as many as you can and stay active during the recruiting process. I still get phone calls and e-mails from kids who are seniors and are looking for scholarships—and it’s the first time they’ve contacted us. Maybe we e-mailed her during her junior year and she didn’t do any recruiting work, so she kind of dropped off our radar. Now, she’s decided, “Nothing’s happening for me,” but [by that point] it’s too late. Our scholarships are gone.