Playing the Field

Playing the Field

An explosion in the number of potential athletic recruits
has coaches searching for ability,and intangibles

By Gerry Boyle ‰78 | Photos by Fred Field


 
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Football Coach Ed Mestieri leans over the line of scrimmage during a preseason practice.
But before bringing them in the door, a considerable amount of work takes place. From April to February (yes, that's 11 months of the year), football coaches are doing what Mestieri calls "banging the phones.— Meanwhile, Holsten is talking to coaches, fielding tips, sifting through the vast amount of information on hundreds of players.

Who is strongest academically? Will a player require support from athletics through the admissions process? If so, how much support will be necessary? What else will he or she contribute to the College?

And there are other questions. Does the player have that distinguishing spark that coaches look for? Will the player fit in well with the older players? Could the player become a team leader?

Back in Lexington, Mestieri still was in the early stages of this long but crucial process. He sought out players who already had contacted him at Colby. He threaded his way through the crowds, chatted with high school coaches, was buttonholed by others. "He's had high honors, took a couple of AP courses,— said a prep school coach from Massachusetts, plugging one of his players. From another coach it was, "He's not the most skilled kid I've ever had but he's a hard worker. A great kid.—

And then sometimes it is a serendipitous moment, the play that catches a coach's eye, that starts the long process that can determine where a player spends his college years. "That guy throws the ball nice,— Mestieri said, eyeing a quarterback, running a finger down his list. "Twenty-two in purple. I've got to find out who that guy is.—
 
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