Manager, Media Relations and Publications
AUSTIN, Texas (July 8, 2010) – Standing next to any of the 32 courts at the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships being held July 2-9 in Austin, Texas, one may find the many logoed polo shirts of college coaches evaluating the talent inside the court’s white lines.
Pepperdine University Head Men’s Volleyball Coach Marv Dunphy, who served as USA’s head coach for the 1988 Olympic Games gold-medal winning U.S. squad, is one of the many college coaches taking in the action in Austin. He sees the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships as a way to evaluate a vast number of athletes in various situations.
“The Junior Nationals tournament allows us, as collegiate coaches, to evaluate kids from other parts of the country,” Dunphy said. “We can see them at their best when they are fresh at the start of the tournament, when they play teams who they should beat or when they play teams that are better than theirs. It is important that we see them play over time. The good athlete does it over time in all circumstances.”
The college coaches out on the recruiting trail at the event are not limited to the top NCAA Division I teams. Each of the three NCAA divisions as well as NAIA has coaches registered through University Athlete, the official college coaches’ communication tool for the USAV Boys’ Junior National Championships, to scout the event. A total of 41 collegiate men’s volleyball varsity programs have at least one coach in attendance.
For Charlie Sullivan, the head coach of NCAA Division III powerhouse Springfield College located in Massachusetts, not attending the Junior Nationals never crossed his mind.
“The USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships is like a can’t-miss event for a college recruiting event,” Sullivan said. “You have all the best volleyball players under one roof to watch.”
While he is looking at a lot of players in the 16s divisions who are somewhat local to the college, Sullivan is always looking in every age group to find players anywhere in the country who may be interested in Springfield College. In that regard, the Junior Nationals is an ideal spot to recruit.
“New England boys’ volleyball is developing to reach the same higher levels that are established in other parts of the country, so we do get outside of our region to look at available players,” Sullivan said. “Kids have a dream to play NCAA Division I volleyball. At Springfield, we are looking for that kid that the Division I coach is missing that will be a good player and fit into our program.”
To assist in the scouting process, University Athlete provides a service to the college coaches. With player information submitted by club teams into the Advanced Event Systems (AES), data is supplied to the college coaches on their PDAs enabling them to learn more information about the players including which court their next match is on. At a tournament, recruiters can instantly find any player, identify new players, evaluate and take notes without losing valuable time needed to watch courts. They can use a Palm Pilot, Palm OS mobile phone, Blackberry, or Windows Mobile phone. They can rank athletes and build a custom schedule of those recruits.
“Between myself and assistant coach Rob Neilson, we can see hundreds of recruits in a single tournament like this,” said BYU Head Men’s Volleyball Coach Shawn Patchell. “The new PDA software is very helpful in mapping out a strategy to watch the potential recruits.”