Bates & Bowdoin

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    • #12937

      Does anyone know what attracted Casares to Bates. He seems to be one of the rising young stars in D3 coaching … and has picked up a program that is pretty near rock bottom. It will be very difficult for him to recruit …

      Is there something other than coaching that led him to Bates?

      Just curious.

      And the Bowdoin swimming program seems to be in steady decline. I remember the glory days at Bowdoin under Coach Butt where they were competing at the national level. They have a great heritage, great facility … what’s the problem?

      Just curious.

    • #42640
      Psimon3
      Member

      @d3swimmeranddad wrote:

      Does anyone know what attracted Casares to Bates. He seems to be one of the rising young stars in D3 coaching … and has picked up a program that is pretty near rock bottom. It will be very difficult for him to recruit …

      Is there something other than coaching that led him to Bates?
      Just curious.

      Pete and his wife are from the northeast originally and I think is was a good opportunity to develop a program a little closer to home. This is pure speculation but it would make sense

    • #42641
      griz
      Member

      Regarding Casares, I think that the NESCAC coaching positions are some of the best out there in division III because of the high reputation of both athletics and academics (“baby Ivies”). I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned the Bates program around quickly. I’ve heard that Bates has lower, but maybe just different admissions standards that would allow him to get some kids that other schools couldn’t. But this is just speculation too. However, if that’s true, I’m not sure why Coach Mul or Mike McCollum did not take advantage of it.

      On Bowdoin, I’m not so sure it’s on a steady decline. I think they’ve been pretty stable over the last few years (if not steadily improving). I’ll admit that they probably do not have the national presence they once had. The women’s team is pretty good this year after a good recruiting class (they beat MIT only a few weeks into the NESCAC season). The men’s team is fairly solid as well. Both teams should compete for the CBB title this year. Also to note, Brad Burnham has a much different style of coaching that involves a lot of technique work and drills instead of yards. I think there was some loss when he initially took over, but he is a good coach. He’s coached some all-americans over the last couple of years. They just haven’t had enough to bring relays to the meet, which we all know practically gets you a top 20 finish and more recognition.

    • #42642
      Nescacfan
      Member

      Casares will benefit from a strong diving program for both the women and men at Bates led by Coach Bartley.

    • #42643
      griz
      Member

      @Nescacfan wrote:

      Casares will benefit from a strong diving program for both the women and men at Bates led by Coach Bartley.

      That’s a good point. I hadn’t thought of that. There seems to be a steady flow of all-american divers at Bates through the years on both sides.

    • #42644
      Colbybr
      Member

      Yeah I’m going to go ahead and agree with previous posts that the Bates job is more attractive then it seems. Surely some people are attracted by the beauty of Maine, although in that case you probably shouldn’t go to Lewiston. I’ve really been harping on it in this forum, but really there is no reason why schools like Bates, Colby, Bowdoin and Trinity should not have competitive programs within the league. Not talking about them contending for a championship, because we all know that the upper echelon of the conference support their athletics a lot more than these schools. Still Bates should be able to attract at least one or two talented swimmers a year, throw together a good relay, and get some people to nationals. I think thats a reasonable goal for them and its something thats worked quite well for the other Maine schools over the past few years.

    • #42645
      polarbear
      Member

      Based on my handle I think you can probably guess where I went to school, but I feel a need to stick up for Brad as well. He brought in a great class for women this year, and got 5 guys early decision for next year — none of them studs, but all good swimmers. His women’s medley should make some B cuts with all freshmen (freshwomen?). One of his best female recruits has yet to swim this year because she was a member of the DIII champion (did I emntion undefeated?) field hockey team.

      I believe (don’t laugh here) that recruiting for NESCAC is tougher than most DI places. You don’t have scholarhsips to lock up swimmers (although some coaches do a good job of using early decision to do that) and everyone is looking at exactly the same schools so coaches are fighting over the same swimmers. The ivy guys (Kuster and Nichols, even Benvenuti) have done that before and I think have an advantage in recruiting. Coaches who come from the traditional programs take longer to get used to it, and sometimes don’t adapt to it as well. Instead of talking to 20 swimmers like they used to, now its probably 60, where 40+ apply and 15 get in and 14 go to Williams. Its easier on the bigger teams — Amherst, Williams, Midd, Tufts, because you can farm out some of the work to the team. Its pretty tough when you have a team of 15 kids and end up hosting a recruit every weekend or end up getting asked to call someone 3 nights a week. I will admit that Brad has not adjusted to this recruting situation as well as could be hoped, but I think he has done well. More importantly, and understandably, I know that he would prefer to focus his time on coaching and being on the deck rather than recruiting kids on the phone who will either not get in or go to Williams.

      Anyways . . . I for one have been very impressed with what Brad has done. His kids, for the most part, get faster, and he has instituted some VERY innovative techniques, including towing with multiple cameras, etc. Its a speed work, low yardage program that I think would appeal more to ex-club swimmers who want to be cerebral (the natalie coughlin type who wants to be smarter instead of just pounding out yards), and in the end thats what you need to do to succeed in the shorter NESCAC season.

      As for those of you who remember the Charlie Butt glory days, I love Charlie to death, but as captain of his second to last team, the glory days were long over — check the results. (my opinion — the rise of Middlebury, and their increased willingness to take an admisisons hit for swimmers and other athletes in the early 90s affected Bowdoin more than the other schools but thats just semi-informed opinion).

      if you want to swim in an awesome pool for an innovative coach — I highly recommend Brad. If you want 12,000 yards a day with someone who will be jumping up and down all over the deck — well, go somewhere else.

    • #42646

      Polarbear:

      Some excellent insights .. and your right on about the “glory days” … I stand corrected (I plead old age as my images go back to the 1970’s).

      Your point about the larger teams having an advantage in the recruiting game … farming the work out to the team.

      But Brad needs to get his head out of the pool and balance his time with some recruiting. If your a good recruiter, you can quickly assess those that are serious about your school … focus on encouraging them to apply ED … and then when they do, put the “full court press” on the admissions department. Here’s my sons story: he was a marginal NESCAC student (academically … I would guess less than 10% chance of admission on academics alone). However, I knew that he could handle the academic work if he got in, but he neded to get in first. I told him the only way he was going to get in was to get the coach to support him … and the only way the coach would do that was if he applied ED … which he did, and he got in. I’m pretty sure that the coach would not have supported his as strongly if he applied RD .. and he would not have been admitted. Just an educated guess … but I was looking at his numbers and they just did not add up academically.

      Seems like a formula that Brad should be using (IMHO). Don’t bother wasting your time on the regular decision kids, they will most likely end up at Williams (until he can get the program back to it’s former glory). And as you said, get a couple of solid performers each year and in 4 years you have a shot at relays going to NCAA’s.

      Anyway, great comments and insight about the Bowdoin program. Thanks.

    • #42647
      Colbybr
      Member

      Almost all recruiting is ED based for non-scholarship schools these days. Its the only way they can ensure commitment on the part of the student athlete.

      With regards to Bates and Bowdoin, and even Colby to some extent, I agree with D3Swimmeranddad. At the Kenyon Invite i spoke personally with Aaron Weddle, who worked for Coach Benvenuti for two years at Conn College. He told me that Benvenuti had little to no recruiting budget but went to meets to recruit in person regardless. I was recruited by Colby, Bates and Bowdoin and I am pretty sure that these coaches never travel to see recruits. This simple thing can make a huge difference in recruiting, and is easy enough if the kids are swimming in your figurative back yard! I also have trained masters with a Bowdoin alum, a former school record holder and national champion, who expressed a lot of disappointment over the lack of effort in recruiting.

      Look at Colby’s male freshmen class this year. It seems to be made up entirely of walk ons. For women there may be one “recruit”. You can find a similar situation at the other two schools. Bowdoin women are an exception, but where are the recruits on the Men’s side? What does it mean? There is little to no recruiting going on. Brad and Tom Burton have very effective training programs as evidenced by the way their athletes perform at the end of the season. But they just aren’t getting talent to the schools for whatever the reason. I would give Casares a fews year of recruiting to see what he can do. If he can’t recruit in the Nescac maybe I will believe it truly is an institutional problem.

    • #42648
      griz
      Member

      @Colbybr wrote:

      He told me that Benvenuti had little to no recruiting budget but went to meets to recruit in person regardless. I was recruited by Colby, Bates and Bowdoin and I am pretty sure that these coaches never travel to see recruits.

      I’m under the impression, for some reason, that you cannot recruit off-campus for either division 3 or NESCAC…

      I found this at a NCAA site…”Coaches may not speak to prospective student-athletes at competition sites until the prospective student-athletes’ competition has concluded and they are released from their coach.”

    • #42649
      Colbybr
      Member

      That’s correct. You can go to the meet. You can’t talk to them until they are done swimming and their coach at the meet has authorized you to do so. But this is pretty common practice.

    • #42650
      polarbear
      Member

      ColbyBR:

      I believe the rules that you site is the general NCAA (although please correct me if I am wrong) and that NESCAC has an even stricter policy which expressly forbids all off campus recruiting. What Benvenuti and some of the other coaches who I will not name (I only name Benvenuti because he was already mentioned) are doing is expressly against the NESCAC rules. Part of the problem, if you want some sort of parity, is that some of the schools / coaches have decided to abide by the NESCAC academic index and recruiting rules and others havent. Brad has decided to play by the rules and others have either dcided that Brad’s interpretation is incorrect or decided not to — frankly, there are no penalties and no enforcement mechanism, so I see no reason not to do what Benvenuit does. While I wish Brad had made a little more progress over the last few years (or a lot more progress) I cannot begrudge him for playing by what he thinks are the rules.

      When Charlie was coaching the team recruited for him. If you are swimmin with the national champion that i think you are (is he a not very recent butterflier?) tell him to beat the bushes and get some swimmers interested in Bowdoin. (i know that may be tough as a Colby grad, but I still recommend it).

      As for D3swimmeranddad’s son getting into the school of his choice ED, let me tell a little story (and I hope that I am not giving too much away here). This year we had an athlete with 3A cuts out of one of the national powerhouse swimming schools apply ED1. The swimmer had solid grades, a lot going for him/her besides swimming, etc, and the admissions department told us that if this person applied early they would be in. When decisions rolled around last week the swimmer was deferred and will now most likely go ED2 at Williams. Certain schools at the top of NESCAC academically (not to name any and get people angry) have decided that they will take certain athletes that other schools at the bottom would not take. Thats their decision, and I am sure that they have weighed the costs and the benefits, but Bowdoin decided to make a different decision.

      The league is splitting, in every sport, into two factions — those that want to bend for athletic admissions across the board and feel that they can take the necessary hit, and those that don’t; those that want to play by the academic index rules and the limited recruting, and those that don’t. Swarthmore for one has been very successful in raising its academic profile by taking very few athletes (and cutting its football team) over the last few years. Bowdoin and Bates are two of the smallest schools in NESCAC, and they have decided that they need to limit their number of athletics admissions slots. While I believe that there are some structural ineffeciencies in the Bowdoin admissions department that compund this, a school with 1600 students will always find it difficult to compete against a school with the same number of sports and 2600 students. Its not that Brad doesnt recruit, its that he has been given what some consider a less than fair playing field to work with.

    • #42651
      griz
      Member

      I agree. Good points. I think it applies not just to Bowdoin, but many other schools in the conference.

    • #42652
      Colbybr
      Member

      Great discussion. I did not know about the NESCAC rule banning off site recruiting. It certainly puts the action of a lot of coaches within the league in a new light. I definitely applaud Brad for sticking to his integrity.

      Re: Farming out recruiting. When I attended Colby we repeatedly begged Coach Burton to allow us to help in whatever we could. And we were repeatedly rebuffed. I can’t speak for other situations but I still feel like more can be done by these coaches programs. I am not denying that Williams, Midd and Amherst among others are way more willing to stretch out of their regular applicant pool to pick up athletes. They certainly are.

      However you slice it in any conference teams will not be able to play by the same rules. Its going to take some ingenuity above and beyond by these coaches to become more competitive in the league.

    • #42653
      polarbear
      Member

      I respectfully argue that it will take more than ingenuity for the teams in the middle to do better. If the top academic schools in the conference are willing to take kids who fall outside their profile (far outside their profile) it creates a vacuum in the middle of the conference where those schools either lose kids because they cannot get in (and sometimes still get in to the higher schools) or barely get in but also get in to the higher schools. In the past that problem was somewhat minimized by the imperfect market of NESCAC schools — not everyone has heard of these schools, and if you could find a kid from outside NE, CA, or Chicago there was a chance he wasn’t looking at the otehr NESCAC schools. Now that all the schools have higher profiles that happens less and less.

      By the way, public TV (not sure if it was Independent Lens or Nova) did a show on college athletics a few weeks ago. Amherst figured heavily in the program — including an interview with the school president. The show discussed, in part, how far Amherst bent on certain athletes, including a very frank discussion by one football player on how he fell below the academic standards and struggled mightily at the school despite receiving extra assistance (I commend him for his candor). A few years ago there was very serious talk about the league breaking apart over athletics, and further in the past one school was even kicked out of the league for its athletic recruiting practices. A president of one of the NESCAC schools told me a few years ago that his greatest concern is athletics — greater than money / fundraising, academics, etc. Just some food for thought.

    • #42654
      Colbybr
      Member

      Yeah actually ESPN did a special once where they talked about a basketball player that got 1100 something on his SATs that got into Amherst. It really blew my mind that it could happen. Of course it does. I dont think that the middle tier of schools can compete with the ones that are bending more academically. But I dont want to see Colby, Bates and Bowdoin concede the conference to Trinity, Conn especially. The Maine schools have more to offer to potential high level recruits and I hope they continue to do so.

    • #42655
      Nescacfan
      Member

      Polar Bear:
      Your alma mater, Bowdoin, has done a good job with several women’s sports:basketball and field hockey [a national title this fall]. I’m sure they compete against Williams, Middlebury and Amherst for the best D-3 student athletes in these sports. I think Bowdoin can be do the same thing in swimming. It may be easier with the women, given that the pool of men swimmers is smaller.

      I do agree that the academic/athletic divide is of a big concern for many NESCAC college presidents. However, I was on the Bowdoin campus for the NESCAC men’s championship early last March. At the same time, the Bowdoin women’s basketball team and men’s hockey team were hosting NESCAC conference championships. During the Saturday afternoon break in swimming, I visited the other championship venues. The Bowdoin fans were there in full force supporting their teams. I noted that President Barry Mills was at both events for at least part of each game. It was a pretty special afternoon. Bowdoin won both semi-finals games.

      I am certain the NESCAC presidents will find a away to maintain the high academic standards and field top-notch athletic teams. Do you think Williams is about to downplay athletics?

    • #42656
      polarbear
      Member

      Nescacfan:

      I agree with you that Bowdoin has been very successful in certain sports, and I wish that I had been there that afternoon last winter. But the school has also decided, from both a funding and admissions perspective, that it can, or will, only support certain sports at that level. Even with a vested interest in the swim team I can agree that the hockey team should take precedence. I think that you proved my point — in certain sports that the school has decided to focus on it should be able to consistently field national level teams. The list of those sports is quasi-public, and the other coaches know that they will not get what those coaches get (and I think for the most part they accept that). There will be occassional teams that do well outside that core group, and there may even be some self-sustaining success without that assistance (cross country / track come to mind), but its unlikely to be consistent.

      Williams will not devalue sports — but with a school population of 2600 instead of 1600 and fewer varsity sports it can afford to be strong across the board. And, there is a much stronger link between the admissions and athletics departments at Williams then there is at Bowdoin — you don’t want to know what Kuster gets for admissions help, and thats less than what Sam got. To Williams’ credit it is much more efficient with its athletics recruiting than Bowdoin is, for reasons that we don’t need to get into here (and that is also my main complaint — the two groups have never gotten on teh sam epage at bowdoin and in the end it costs the school greatly). And I also agree that Barry Mills is more receptive to sports than the previous president was (which is one of the reasons that I believe the formerly serious talk of splitting up the league has died down).

      My point is that there are structural inequalities, both internal and external, that may make it more difficult for Bowdoin to have a NESCAC champion swim team than some other schools. I don’t mean to imply that those structural inequalities are unfair or that they have not been exacerbated by Brad, but they do exist. I am very happy with some of what Brad has done with teh team, but in the end I do think they need someone who is more willing to focus on recruiting.

    • #42657

      All:

      I’ve been away a fews days …. lots of great discussion.

      I’m surprised (shocked) at the decision by Bowdoin to defer a swimmer who had three A cuts and “solid grades”. I assume by “solid grades” you mean that he was below the schools midpoint but not below the bottom 10% of the schools admitted students (academically). Someone like this with extracurriculars (swimming + other) in the top 1% of applicants should be a real catch for the school (instant All-American). It tells me that either Brad is ineffective in working with the admissions department or that the school is just plain not serious about achieving excellence in the swim program. If the latter, and Brad is an ambitious coach … he should give the school an ultimatum: let me get a couple of pushes per year … or adios.

      Another interesting note about my son: we visited Cornell and met with the coach (Lucia). Great guy and real straight talker. He told my son that he was academically “admittable” (grades and test scores) … but he would not support him in the admissions process unless he had some Jr. National cuts (which my son did not). We were left with the clear impression that if my son did get the cuts … he was in … so long as he told the coach that Cornell was one of his top choices. Again, from a purely academic standpoint, my son would have been near the bottom of the admitted student pool. In the end, my son preferred the smaller NESCAC type school so it became a mute point.

      Colbybr: I’m also surprised (shocked) that your coach rebuffed your efforts to help in the recruiting effort. From my sons perspective, the chance to meet the team first hand “sold him” on his school. And I’ve watched kids on my son’s club team get recruited at D1 programs … and I would have to say that 50+% of the recruiting is done by the team (in terms of having an impact on the student/swimmers decision). I’d have to conclude that the coach is making a BIG mistake (IMHO).

      Lots of good fodder for discussion ….

    • #42658

      Some more points on this thread:

      My son also visited UC Santa Cruz. Coach Musch is a great guy and has a great perspective on D1 versus D3. Read this:

      http://www.goslugs.com/teams/swimming/swiminfo/LetterToRecruits_2005_06.pdf

      I can vouch for the fact that he has no influence in the admissions process … but he’s at a school with 20,000+ students and a bargain basement tuition for in-state students. He sends out monthly emails to all prospective swimmers … does a nice job with what he has (IMHO).

    • #42659
      griz
      Member

      Just to verify, swimmers are involved in recruiting at Colby, in the form of hosting and hanging out with the recruits. I think what Colbybr was saying was that there is no calling the recruits or writing emails/letters/postcards.

      A lot of the discussion towards the latter half of this topic have readily accepted the sacrifice of academics at NESCAC schools for the sake of athletics. There are many professors at this school that are adamantly against athletics since it takes away from the academic experience. I disagree with that, but I think that the professors probably have a huge say in admissions (probably much more than coaches). I’m not sure there is a solution to this. Some of the issue may be attributable to a particular coach, but I believe the root of the problem is institutional.

    • #42660
      Colbybr
      Member

      Griz’ correction is accurate.

      D3Swimmeranddad: I coach in the Ivy League. An advantage that our league has is that it has a clearly defined, numeric system. While it differs a bit from school to school, it is my impression that Coaches have WAY more control in our league over who does and does not get in and can say with 99.9% certainty whether kids will be admitted. The reason this is great is that it allows coaches to be very straightforward with kids after getting a look at their grades and times. Perhaps the NESCAC could use a similar Academic Index. After all, if its good enough for the Ivy League it should be alright for the NESCAC right? I say that with full knowledge that NESCAC schools are significantly more restrictive than Ivy’s with regards to athletics.

    • #42661
      polarbear
      Member

      NESCAC has an academic index — nobody follows it because it would prevent pretty much everyone’s recruits from getting in as it was written. Plus there isnt a strong enough league commissioner to enforce the index like there is in the ivy league. In my experience (some firsthand) the Ivy’s definitely are willing to bend more than teh NESCAC schools for strong athletes.

      The decision to defer the swimmer that I talked about was shortsighted in all respects — instant all-american (by far) from a national powerhouse school (to start a pipeline), solid grades, filled a good hole on the team (with this years class I think all 5 relays would have solid B cuts next year) — torpedoed by one small thing after being told the swimmer was in. Brad can push for more, but honestly, where is he going to go? He is from Maine, Bruwnswick is a nice place to raise a family, and he hasn’t had a slew of all-americans to help him jump to a better job. INHO, pushing for more slots is easier said than done.

    • #42662

      Thanks for the clarification on the Colby recruiting … I think that is the practice is consistent with my son’s experience … but I would think that sending follow-up emails or letters should be okay.

      Griz: I understand what your saying about many professors, but really the issue of academics versus (any kind of) extracurriculars is something the President and the Board of Trustees should be deciding. If the professors ruled the campus (who have tenure) there would be organized “hate Bush” conferences every week. It is up to the President and Board to decide what product they want to offer to the marketplace … and from an earlier comment it seems that Bowdoin does support some athletic teams over other and does make a conscious choice to pursue athletic excellence in that area. That’s fine … their choice to make in a free market.

      Colbybr: seems like your 1st hand experience is consistent with my impressions. The Cornell coach’s statement were very clear and credible (since he has been the coach for 10+ years).

      Polarbear: shortsighted is perhaps and understatement … I would suspect some hostility in the admissions department toward the swimming program. If Brad is happy where he is and the cards he’s been dealt, so be it … but it does not present a lot of hope for the future (men’s side at least) … for a program that has a great history.

    • #42663
      Colbybr
      Member

      If you don’t mind me asking, what does the academic index for NESCAC schools entail?

    • #42664
      polarbear
      Member

      Sorry — I was away for a couple of days. If I remember correctly, the AI tied your athletic admits to your average SAT and GPA — in other words, your athletes could not fall below a certain threshold percentage of what everyone else scored. There may have been a limited number of exceptions allowed, I honestly don’t remember. Tieing the index to the average obviously allows for the differentiations between the academic profiles of the schools.

      Some of the schools were unhappy about being limited in who they could take, but others were (understandably) unhappy that someone else would be overseeing their admissions process.

    • #42665
      Colbybr
      Member

      Yeah I was just wondering exactly what it was. Is it the same academic index (based on gpa, sat’s and sat2s or a composite act) or is it a different way of doing the math. I’m asking because I think the ivy league system makes sense and allows for the confidence that D3swimmeranddad referred to from Joe Lucia and Cornell.

    • #42666

      The decision to defer the swimmer that I talked about was shortsighted in all respects — instant all-american (by far) from a national powerhouse school (to start a pipeline), solid grades, filled a good hole on the team (with this years class I think all 5 relays would have solid B cuts next year)

      There are many hidden jewels in swimmers who have not reached their full potential. Coaches should look at the program these swimmers are coming from, high school results are not a good barometer. I know a couple D1 schools that might be regretting letting a few swimmers slip through their fingers but for our D3 schools, they were a great catch!

    • #42667
      Colbybr
      Member

      @BreakingTheSurface wrote:

      The decision to defer the swimmer that I talked about was shortsighted in all respects — instant all-american (by far) from a national powerhouse school (to start a pipeline), solid grades, filled a good hole on the team (with this years class I think all 5 relays would have solid B cuts next year)

      There are many hidden jewels in swimmers who have not reached their full potential. Coaches should look at the program these swimmers are coming from, high school results are not a good barometer. I know a couple D1 schools that might be regretting letting a few swimmers slip through their fingers but for our D3 schools, they were a great catch!

      Yeah particularly in the New England area. I grew up there and lets just say the club or high school swimming isn’t what it is in other parts of the country. If you can scoop up a kid who swims exclusively for his high school team that goes 56 in his 100 fly, chances are he could be a 52 or 53 with college style training. It happens time and time again but I think coaches in the NESCAC tend to focus on getting someone who they know is good rather than betting on potential, especially since they purportedly cannot recruit off campus, which would enable them to get a better feel for potential.

    • #42668
      griz
      Member

      @Colbybr wrote:

      I think coaches in the NESCAC tend to focus on getting someone who they know is good rather than betting on potential, especially since they purportedly cannot recruit off campus, which would enable them to get a better feel for potential.

      I feel like you can get a good feel for potential by looking at and verifying their times after you see the kid walk into your office. If I were a coach and had a kid from some low-key New England swimming program walk into my office with a 56 in the 100 fly and he was 6’4″, I’d think he would have a lot of potential. You could even go as far as looking to see if the kid has “grandma shoulders”… It’s kind of like basketball teams recruiting players with “tremendous upside” because they are athletic and have a large frame.

      I had never heard of this index for NESCAC schools and wonder if this is something that varies from school to school in terms of enforcement and standards.

    • #42669

      I was not aware that the NESCAC had any formal “athletic admits”. My son was never assured of admission by the NESCAC coach or the admissions office … until he received the formal notification from the admissions office. What I believe happened (and I could be wrong on this one) was the coach informed the admissions office that my son would be a strong contributor to the team and his performance in high school showed a real commitment to excellence in a particular area … thereby “elevating” the importance of his extracurricular activities (athletics) in the evaluation of his application.

      I would imagine that the admissions office tries to do the same thing when evaluating any applicants extracurricular activities (who evaluates how good a cellist or chess player is?) … it just helps when you have a coach to “qualify” an applicants extracurricular activities.

      Any comments?

    • #42670
      Colbybr
      Member

      @griz wrote:

      @Colbybr wrote:

      I think coaches in the NESCAC tend to focus on getting someone who they know is good rather than betting on potential, especially since they purportedly cannot recruit off campus, which would enable them to get a better feel for potential.

      I feel like you can get a good feel for potential by looking at and verifying their times after you see the kid walk into your office. If I were a coach and had a kid from some low-key New England swimming program walk into my office with a 56 in the 100 fly and he was 6’4″, I’d think he would have a lot of potential. You could even go as far as looking to see if the kid has “grandma shoulders”… It’s kind of like basketball teams recruiting players with “tremendous upside” because they are athletic and have a large frame.

      I had never heard of this index for NESCAC schools and wonder if this is something that varies from school to school in terms of enforcement and standards.

      Griz,

      I love that you worked “Grandma Shoulders” into a post. As a coach its still one of the most important factors in judging potential. Also, I noticed as I started to lose muscle in my upper body my shoulders started to appear grandmaish and sought to rectify the situation immediately.

    • #42671
      polarbear
      Member

      @d3swimmeranddad wrote:

      I was not aware that the NESCAC had any formal “athletic admits”. My son was never assured of admission by the NESCAC coach or the admissions office … until he received the formal notification from the admissions office. What I believe happened (and I could be wrong on this one) was the coach informed the admissions office that my son would be a strong contributor to the team and his performance in high school showed a real commitment to excellence in a particular area … thereby “elevating” the importance of his extracurricular activities (athletics) in the evaluation of his application.

      I would imagine that the admissions office tries to do the same thing when evaluating any applicants extracurricular activities (who evaluates how good a cellist or chess player is?) … it just helps when you have a coach to “qualify” an applicants extracurricular activities.

      Any comments?

      Respectfully submit that NESCAC is full of athletic admits, and some of the schools will now bend as much as the ivies will. I know of one school at the top of the league where each swim team gets 4 swimmers (used to be 7) who are in so long as they broke 1100 on their SAT’s and are in the top half of their high school class — nothing close to the rest of the school’s academic profile. Of course it varies from school to school and sport to sport, but the idea that there are no athletic admits or slots has gone by the wayside. Some schools do not let their coaches tell recruits that they are in prior to recieving the admit letter, but some do the exact opposite. Just because the student doesn’t get a formal notice of admittance (such as an ivy league style “likely letter,” which was considered a few years ago) doesn’t mean that athletics and admissions weren’t working together. In fact, I have even heard stories of some coaches in the league making fun of other coaches for the students that they have gotten in who fall WAY outside the academic profile.

    • #42672

      Polarbear:

      Okay, you speak with such specificity and conviction that I believe you … I guess I was living in a dreamworld. Since this information seems to be known by all, why can’t Brad get any athletic admits? Is there hostility towards the swim program somewhere in the administration? They have a great facility …

    • #42673

      One more comment on the athletic admits. I imagine that Casares was told that he would get some athletic admits to entice him to come to Bates …. so maybe this means a bright future for Bates swimming program. It’ll be interesting to see his 1st class next year.

    • #42674
      Wally
      Member

      Actually, I know Casares very well and there was no such promise at all. In fact, he was hired before their new athletic director was even announced – he hadn’t even met him yet.
      The fact that Bates is one of the top academic institutions in the country, coupled with it being part of the fastest DIII swimming conference was a draw enough. How could recruiting to that be more difficult than to a college for men in the middle of Indiana?

    • #42675
      griz
      Member

      @Wally wrote:

      How could recruiting to that be more difficult than to a college for men in the middle of Indiana?

      Have you been to Lewiston?

    • #42676
      griz
      Member

      @griz wrote:

      @Wally wrote:

      How could recruiting to that be more difficult than to a college for men in the middle of Indiana?

      Have you been to Lewiston?

      Oh, and I’m kidding….mostly.

    • #42677
      polarbear
      Member

      @d3swimmeranddad wrote:

      Polarbear:

      Okay, you speak with such specificity and conviction that I believe you … I guess I was living in a dreamworld. Since this information seems to be known by all, why can’t Brad get any athletic admits? Is there hostility towards the swim program somewhere in the administration? They have a great facility …

      Bowdoin has among the smallest (if not the smallest, I am too lazy to look) student body size in teh NESCAC. The school has simply decided to focus on certain sports over others and has made the executive decision that football, hockey, field hockey, w basketball are the priorities over other sports such as swimming. I don’t think there is any hostility towards the program, and I also think that Brad needs to do a better job of highlighting the right swimmers.

      This years women’s class and next year’s men’s (based on early decision) are actually pretty good — maybe the corner has turned. The key for the team will be to recruit swimmers from outside NE who won’t get eaten up by the other league powers.

      And in closing, I don’t think that some of the other league schools are very different — Trinity has excellent football and the best squash program in the country, good baseball, etc., but their swim program has truggled. Some schools need to pick and choose, nothing wrong with that.

    • #42678
      griz
      Member

      @polarbear wrote:

      Trinity has excellent football and the best squash program in the country, good baseball, etc., but their swim program has truggled. Some schools need to pick and choose, nothing wrong with that.

      I’ve heard of shady recruiting at Trinity with football, hockey, and baseball. It’s also hard to compare Bowdoin and Trinity admissions standards. I’d imagine squash is good because it is an actual high school sport in CT (I believe), and how many d3 schools outside of New England have squash? I mean, Colby is usually ranked nationally in squash, and I have the feeling that I could have made the team (not to knock Colby…).

    • #42679

      Casares will have a real uphill battle to climb if he cannot get any athletic admits. The program he inherited is near the bottom of the league and little more than a recreational program.

      Without athletic admits, the only thing he has to offer is himself and a great academic opportunity … and all the other NESCAC schools can offer a great academic opportunity as well (and maybe some help in the admissions process).

      If Casares can build Bates into a top 4 NESCAC team within 5 years, he will deserve to be named NESCAC Coach of the decade!

      Bowdoin: okay, maybe hostility is a little too strong … maybe apathy toward the swimming program is a better word to apply to an admissions department that will not ED an instant All-American with good academics (how good?). Maybe if Brad can turn the corner as you suggest, there will be a little less apathy toward the program. Bowdoin has about 400 to 500 students per class. I assume they admit 1,000 to 1,500 to get the 400 or 500 students … so 2 admits per year would be less than 0.2% of the class (correct me if my numbers are wrong).

      In any event, good luck to Brad and Casares … it would be great to see the NESCAC get stronger and more dynamic (more teams challenging for the top spots) !!

    • #42680
      polarbear
      Member

      Its a slippery slope — 2 slots leads to 3, which lead to 4, etc etc etc. Multiply that by 26 sports and you can see how it can start to cycle out of control. Some schools do a very good job of setting hard floors (1200 on the SAT’s and 3.5 GPA, or something of that sort) over which the applicant will be admitted. Bowdoin, and some of the other schools, evaluate the applicants on a case by case basis. Without giving up too much, because I may have already violated someone’s privacy, I believe that the swimmer I spoke of earlier will be admitted — there was a low grade from the fall that will hopefully be remedied.

      And I think Brad has turned the corner — I count 8 female freshmen with a chance to final this year.

      Allison Palmer — 24.4 / 53.4 free
      Megan Sullivan — 54 high / 1:58 / 1:00 fly so far this year
      Rachel Gang — top mile time would have placed 8th last year
      Erin McAuliffe — has been 1:00 in backstroke and 1:02 low this year
      Caitlin Callahan — currently ranked 9th in 100 breast
      Emma Chiappetta — currently ranked 3d in 200 fly
      Ginger Leone — solid diver, but probably consolation finals
      Molly Homoki — best times could put her in top 8 of 400 IM
      Jessie Small — hasn’t swum much this year because she was a valuable member of the national champion field hockey team, but has best time of 1:57 / 5:16 free

      Thats a pretty deep class. And next year’s men, based on early decision, are very deep as well.

    • #42681

      @d3swimmeranddad wrote:

      Casares will have a real uphill battle to climb if he cannot get any athletic admits. The program he inherited is near the bottom of the league and little more than a recreational program.

      Without athletic admits, the only thing he has to offer is himself and a great academic opportunity … and all the other NESCAC schools can offer a great academic opportunity as well (and maybe some help in the admissions process).

      If Casares can build Bates into a top 4 NESCAC team within 5 years, he will deserve to be named NESCAC Coach of the decade!

      Although I understand that it is not your intention, I really want to caution you about belittling the Bates Swimming and Diving program. As a junior, I have swum under three different head coaches in my college career, all at Bates. With such a quick turnover of administration, and an impossible-to-predict future, how has it been possible to recruit? “Hello, my name is Mike McCollum. I don’t quite know who your coach is going to be next year, but please, come swim at Bates!” This promise of uncertainty is, with good reason, a red flag to potential recruits. Somehow, though, we managed to recruit 5 men and 3 women swimmers for this season. This is one of the largest recruit classes in recent Bates Swimming and Diving history, and they chose Bates, not because of the coach (they didn’t even know who it was going to be when they applied), but because they knew they could effectively contribute to this “little more than a recreational program.”

      On your second point, Casares has much more to offer than himself and a similar academic opportunity as the other NESCAC schools. He is able to offer recruits a spot on the ground floor of a new era in Bates Swimming and Diving history. Even though this sounds somewhat melodramatic, I wholeheartedly believe that it has a strong allure to prospective students. It seems to be working, too. Just ask the several (not sure I’m allowed to say how many) students that have already been accepted early decision round 1, not to mention those applying round 2 and regular decision who haven’t found out yet.

      Even if Casares were only able to offer himself, the team, and Bates to prospective students, the deal would still be promising. Casares, for those of you who have not met him, is probably the most enthusiastic, positive, and goal-oriented people I have ever met. He also knows his stuff. Check out http://www.bates.edu/x57691.xml for more info about him.

      So, in conclusion to this long post, I want to reiterate that “recreational” is not the right word for the Bates Swimming and Diving program. As the father of a swimmer, I’m sure you realize how much hard work your son devotes to swimming. We may not win a lot of meets, but that doesn’t mean we don’t work as hard as any other team in the NESCAC. With a firm and stable road ahead, keep your eyes on Bates in the next few years. After all, one of Casares’s favorite quotes is, “Recruiting is like shaving. If you don’t do it every day, you look shabby.”

    • #42682

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you still think Bates is “not much more than recreational,” Annie Barton, a senior on the team, is this week’s NESCAC Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week. http://www.nescac.com/2007-08/sports/swimdive/Report01-07.htm, if you’re interested. Thanks.

    • #42683
      griz
      Member

      I think mostly what people are saying is that Bates has fallen from a mid-low level NESCAC team, and that it will take some work to get it competitive again. Even though McCollum was there for one year, I’m told he did a good job with the team. Personally, as a Colby guy, I’m afraid. I saw what Casares did at Wabash, and he can very well do it at Bates (if not better, as you’ve already mentioned many recruits going ED1). Although Colby has won the CBB three years in a row, four years back we lost to both Bates and Bowdoin on the last relay. We were a small team (11-15 guys) and I think we came in 10th (out of 11…beat Bates 😀 ) at NESCACs. But with some recruiting and some luck, we improved to the middle of NESCAC for the last few years.

      Bates has plenty of potential, but it is going to take a few years. Look at the way Conn has surged in just a couple of years. Anything can happen…

      @bobcatswimmer wrote:

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you still think Bates is “not much more than recreational,” Annie Barton, a senior on the team, is this week’s NESCAC Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week. http://www.nescac.com/2007-08/sports/swimdive/Report01-07.htm, if you’re interested. Thanks.

      Not to burst your bubble or anything, but this new NESCAC performance report doesn’t seem to be catching on with a lot of coaches in NESCAC as the report that you are linking to is not very filled out…Also, not many teams would have anything to report from this past weekend or from their training trips. I mean, good news is good news and not to take away from the accomplishment, but I don’t think it helps your defense much.

    • #42684
      Colbybr
      Member

      Very interesting conversation. Polarbear brings up a good point. Bowdoin is likely admitting somewhere around 600-700 students year to fill out classes of about 400 actual students. If you give that amount of athletic admits to every sport, you are talking about in excess of 1/4 of the admitted students being admitted on the basis of athletic ability when their academic standards may not match up. At small NESCAC schools, thats a pretty hard pill to swallow.

      Re: Casares and Bates. I think Bates’ reputation as a recreational program developed during the Mulholland era. I know Dana, I think he’s a great guy and I can’t speak specifically to anything he did as a coach, this was just the rumor. Rumor was also that McCollum significantly changed things and that the team is getting a lot more serious under Casares. Even as a Colby grad I still hope that Casares does well, I would like to every team in the league field a competitive team and send some kids to NCAA’s as I think all the schools and programs benefit from the greater success of the league.

      Lastly, the point made by polarbear about out of New England recruiting is a very important one. Remember, Bowdoin last two most high profile male swimmers came from Colorado (Roger Burleigh) and California (Max Goldstein). There are opportunities if coaches cast their net beyond the New England area. All these NESCAC schools get tons of applications from New England but not too many I’m guessing from Colorado or Oklahoma, and yet all of the schools want to say they are represented by students from all 50 states. The next challenge is finding kids with the right mix of athletic ability and, more importantly, academics outside of the education rich northeast.

    • #42685
      polarbear
      Member

      At one point (it may still be the case) coaches at Bowdoin were required to have a certain amount of their “recruited” athletes (I believe 30%) from outside New England. For some teams, where all the talent was from New England (Field Hockey comes to mind) it was a loser, but the idea was to cast a wider net and not admit kids who were going to go to Williams instead.

      The best way to keep a kid from going to Williams is to recruit one who has never heard of the place!

    • #42686
      silentp
      Member

      @bobcatswimmer wrote:

      It seems to be working, too. Just ask the several (not sure I’m allowed to say how many) students that have already been accepted early decision round 1, not to mention those applying round 2 and regular decision who haven’t found out yet.

      It’s only up to your coach as to what you are allowed to say. In fact, with Early Decision (unless it has different names for different schools) the student is legally bound to attend the school assuming they get in. Therefore, you could give us their names and there is nothing anyone could do (to my knowledge, perhaps loopholes exist). I am not saying you should do this, I am just excited to hear more about what Caseres is doing with Bates because I believe he will be very successful there.

    • #42687
      N Dynamite
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      In fact, with Early Decision the student is legally bound to attend the school assuming they get in.

      That’s just a rumor – I have a friend who is a high school guidance counselour and she said there is nothing that binds a person to a school if they get in early decision, it’s just that a huge percentage of people who go ED go to the school if they get accepted. I wouldn’t bother listing names until they show up for the second week of practice next year.

    • #42688

      bobcat swimmer: the simple fact is that Bates Swimming is currently at the bottom of the league and is currently performing at little more than a recreational league level. I’m delighted to hear that Casares is infusing the program with enthusiasm …. he clearly has the reputation of a first class coach … and seems to be delivering (per your email). And if he delivers on the results, he should be Coach of the Decade!

      And the “new era” that you refer to is actually the “Casares era” … I have to believe that is what he is selling to potential recruits (it’s actually a strong message).

      I applaud your perseverance in sticking with the program through the coaching changes and your enthusiasm. I wish you the best of luck this year and hope that Casares can have the team competing for the top spots in the league 5 years. Competition is always more exciting … and the real excitement at the NESCAC’s this year will be whether Amherst, Middlebury or Tufts gets the 2nd spot (and watching how close Connecticut can get) … and it would even be more exciting if they were ALL competing for the top spot.

    • #42689

      Polarbear: I agree with your comment about an academic “floor” (1200/3.5 or similar) … but I don’t buy your slippery slope argument and some of Griz’s numbers. If you cut out the track and cross country overlaps and eliminate the non-NCAA sports, I think you are left with about 20 sports. Let’s say you keep the academic “floor” and keep the admits at 2 (maybe 3 for Football), your left with about 40, academically qualified athletic admits. Lets say the coaches do a great job recruiting and 75% of the athletic admits matriculate … that leaves 30 well rounded (true) student athletes in your class … about 6 to 7% of the class.

      What is wrong with this?

      Griz: I wold be very surprised if Bowdoin only admits 600 to 700 to get 400 (60 to 70% matriculation rate). My guess is that matriculation rate is somewhere near 20 to 30%. Remember, many of their admits are also admitted to Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, etc.

      But again, I see nothing wrong with 5 to 10% of the class being athletic admits (meeting the academic floor). I am a big supporter of a well rounded student body … athletically, the arts … or some other passion … in addition to the classroom … and allowing all to pursue excellence inside and outside the classroom.

    • #42690
      polarbear
      Member

      Really? 3 admits for the football team each year? Is it going to be the old days when people played both ways and there were 15 people on the team? Remember, not everyone who gets in as an athletic admit attends, its more like 1/3. And don’t forget the hockey team — thats what the school (and alumni $$) really follow. At one point the number of athletic slots — not all of whom were admitted and an even smaller % of whom attended — was around 600.

      Yield last year was over 35%

      5200 and change applications
      1200 admits (around 22 or 23% admit rate last year)
      450 or so final number

    • #42691
      griz
      Member

      @d3swimmeranddad wrote:

      Polarbear: I agree with your comment about an academic “floor” (1200/3.5 or similar) … but I don’t buy your slippery slope argument and some of Griz’s numbers. If you cut out the track and cross country overlaps and eliminate the non-NCAA sports, I think you are left with about 20 sports. Let’s say you keep the academic “floor” and keep the admits at 2 (maybe 3 for Football), your left with about 40, academically qualified athletic admits. Lets say the coaches do a great job recruiting and 75% of the athletic admits matriculate … that leaves 30 well rounded (true) student athletes in your class … about 6 to 7% of the class.

      What is wrong with this?

      Griz: I wold be very surprised if Bowdoin only admits 600 to 700 to get 400 (60 to 70% matriculation rate). My guess is that matriculation rate is somewhere near 20 to 30%. Remember, many of their admits are also admitted to Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, etc.

      But again, I see nothing wrong with 5 to 10% of the class being athletic admits (meeting the academic floor). I am a big supporter of a well rounded student body … athletically, the arts … or some other passion … in addition to the classroom … and allowing all to pursue excellence inside and outside the classroom.

      I think you mean Colbybr.

    • #42692
      Colbybr
      Member

      @griz wrote:

      @d3swimmeranddad wrote:

      Polarbear: I agree with your comment about an academic “floor” (1200/3.5 or similar) … but I don’t buy your slippery slope argument and some of Griz’s numbers. If you cut out the track and cross country overlaps and eliminate the non-NCAA sports, I think you are left with about 20 sports. Let’s say you keep the academic “floor” and keep the admits at 2 (maybe 3 for Football), your left with about 40, academically qualified athletic admits. Lets say the coaches do a great job recruiting and 75% of the athletic admits matriculate … that leaves 30 well rounded (true) student athletes in your class … about 6 to 7% of the class.

      What is wrong with this?

      Griz: I wold be very surprised if Bowdoin only admits 600 to 700 to get 400 (60 to 70% matriculation rate). My guess is that matriculation rate is somewhere near 20 to 30%. Remember, many of their admits are also admitted to Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, etc.

      But again, I see nothing wrong with 5 to 10% of the class being athletic admits (meeting the academic floor). I am a big supporter of a well rounded student body … athletically, the arts … or some other passion … in addition to the classroom … and allowing all to pursue excellence inside and outside the classroom.

      I think you mean Colbybr.

      Yeah seriously Griz would never be that ignorant about the admissions process. Whoops better do my research next time. I agree with D3Swimmeranddad, as far as having no problem with 10% athletic admits. College administrators at Bowdoin, Bates and Colby probably do.

      Does anyone have any idea for how many spots Football really gets at these schools? Its got to be closer to 10 or higher right? Maybe we could just eliminate football at NESCAC schools since they aren’t allowed to compete in the NCAA tournament anyway and redistribute those spots.

    • #42693
      silentp
      Member

      @Colbybr wrote:

      Does anyone have any idea for how many spots Football really gets at these schools? Its got to be closer to 10 or higher right? Maybe we could just eliminate football at NESCAC schools since they aren’t allowed to compete in the NCAA tournament anyway and redistribute those spots.

      If they don’t compete in the NCAA tournament anyway, why not just give them 0 spots? You’d still have a football team, but without the spots. How cool would it be if no one could question how “such and such football player” got in, but could question the star butterflyer?

    • #42694

      Okay folks, here it goes:

      1) Griz: I apologize for the incorrect reference. I’m probably old enough to be your father, so you will need to cut me some slack.

      2) Polarbear: Thanks for correcting my stats. 35% yield is impressive … I’ll bet it’s at or near the top of the NESCAC. However, I have one word for non-football (and all) athletic admits: walk-on! I would expect that more than 50% of any team to be able to get in without any help from the coach. One of the great things about NESCAC (and DIII in general) athletics is that most students have an opportunity to participate on an NCAA team. How many students at Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida, etc. can say the same thing?

      So, let me try some new numbers:

      a) If a coach only has a few athletic admits, he will use them carefully … and, if he’s doing a good job, he should be able to get a yield of 50% (better than the general average).
      b) So, lets give football 6 athletic admits (to get 3 students on average) and all other sports 3 or 4 admits.
      c) Set the academic floor at 1200 and 3.7 (grade inflation) which should put these students in the top 10% to 20% academically.

      This would still put the number of well rounded (true) student athletes at less than 10% of the admits and student population.

    • #42695

      @silentp wrote:

      @Colbybr wrote:

      Does anyone have any idea for how many spots Football really gets at these schools? Its got to be closer to 10 or higher right? Maybe we could just eliminate football at NESCAC schools since they aren’t allowed to compete in the NCAA tournament anyway and redistribute those spots.

      If they don’t compete in the NCAA tournament anyway, why not just give them 0 spots? You’d still have a football team, but without the spots. How cool would it be if no one could question how “such and such football player” got in, but could question the star butterflyer?

      Silentp:

      Don’t open up this box … it could keep this thread going for another year … but I happen to believe that if a DIII school cannot field a football team with 50% walk-ons, then the school should seriously consider discontinuing the program due to lack of student interest. MIT has (had) an interesting philosophy … if there is enough student interest to field a team … there is a team … if not …. no team … and no athletic admits (everyone is a walk-on). For a long time, they had more NCAA teams than any other school in the country (even had a Sports Illustrated cover/feature article on the athletic program).

    • #42696
      griz
      Member

      I get the feeling that there is a lot of football tradition at the NESCAC schools. If you cut football you lose the alumni support and contributions. I mean, Colby’s “White Mule” nickname stems from a football game against Bates way back when.

    • #42697

      I wonder how much alumni support is really tied to football programs at the DIII level. Do you have any estimates?

      My only point is that if there isn’t any interest for any program at the student level, I would hope the administration would reconsider the level of it’s support for the program. If they can only field a team of athletic admits at the DIII level, that does not say much about the student interest in the program.

    • #42698
      Colbybr
      Member

      I have heard that contrary to popular belief football alumni are the worst at contributing back to schools per capita. However, there are so many of them that their contributions remain officially high.

      So if NESCAC swim teams had 30 plus guys they could be more efficient.

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