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Posted on September 13, 2014 by Mark , Category : Recruiting

Mark Reel: Tell me a little about the school

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Cory Stevens: Wabash College is a selective private liberal arts college for men located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Athletically, we compete at the NCAA Division III level. Wabash enjoys an outstanding academic reputation. We are annually ranked in the top 50 colleges nationally by U.S. News & World Report and we’ve been ranked as high as 12th best college in the nation by Forbes.com.

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MR: Tell me about yourself and how you got to your school

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CS: This is my 11th season at Wabash College. I spent 3 seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, prior to being named head coach in 2006. Before coming to Wabash, I was a teacher and head varsity baseball coach at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Michigan. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in college coaching at some point and Wabash made that possible. I was very aware of Wabash’s academic and athletic reputation, which made the transition an easy choice. I was a 4 year letterman at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. The relationship I developed with my head coach at North Central, Ed Mathey (current Northern Illinois University head coach), strongly influenced my decision to coach at the Division III level. Our players compete at a high level with the opportunity to play beyond college, but they do it for the love of the game.

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MR: The question I get most frequently is “How do I get recruited?” What’s your advice?

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CS: To get recruited, you need to be seen. I encourage student-athletes who want to play at the college level to attend reputable showcases, play in well attended summer travel tournaments, and attend camps of schools they have interest in. Coaches can’t be everywhere, so supplying video to schools you have interest in attending, is also a good way to get college coaches to take a closer look. If they like what they see, they will find a way to see you play in person. If you don’t have legitimate interest in the school, do not contact them. Personal emails work much better than mass emails to attract a coach’s attention.

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MR: What are your methods for finding players? Where do you look? What age do you begin evaluating kids as legitimate prospects? Is there a particular part of the year where you do the bulk of your recruiting?

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CS: We find players in a variety of different ways. We attend high school games, summer travel tournaments, reputable showcases, work college camps, and host camps. We also host many different events on our campus at Goodrich Ballpark. There is really no substitute for having potential recruits compete on your field. I also read every email sent to me and view every piece of video sent to me. The majority of our recruiting is done in the Midwest (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky), although we have players on our roster from much farther away (Texas, California, South Africa, Georgia, etc.). We typically start looking at players near the end of their junior year in high school, while getting on the road to see our incoming seniors play during their high school season. Scholarship schools tend to start the process earlier. The bulk of our recruiting/evaluation is done in the late spring through the summer (May-August). Our fall season begins in September, which restricts our ability to get on the road. At that point, we feel we’ve put together a quality list of recruits to pursue during the school year.

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MR: What is the best way for a player to get your attention?

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CS: There is no substitute for hustle. If I see a player in person and he is consistently hustling and playing the game hard, I will take notice. Obviously a player has to have talent as well, but I will make a point of seeing a player who hustles multiple times during the process. I think you have to envision what type of player you want in your program for the next 4 years and recruit to that standard. At Wabash, we want men who play the game hard all the time. Therefore, that catches my attention right away. Conversely, if I see a talented player who doesn’t hustle or play the game the right way, I will cross him off my list immediately.

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MR: What attributes make for a successful baseball player at the collegiate level? Any attributes specific to your program?

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CS: There are many factors that need to be present for a player to be successful at the collegiate level. Academic success has to be the top priority. With that in mind, time management and work ethic are very important. Wabash has a rigorous academic schedule that our student-athletes have to balance with their athletic endeavors. Within the program, I believe you have to be coachable, accountable, mature, and be willing to outwork your competition (in season and out of season).

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MR: What are your school/program’s biggest selling points to potential recruits?

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CS: First and foremost, they will receive an education at Wabash that will prepare them extremely well for the rest of their lives. Our alumni are very successful in a wide range of career fields and they are actively involved with the College. To say our alums are passionate is a drastic understatement. Athletically, we are able to provide our men with an experience that isn’t found at many Division III institutions. We compete in a multi-million dollar baseball stadium, Goodrich Ballpark, which was completed just 3 years ago. The Allen Athletics Center houses one of the best indoor baseball facilities in the country at the Division III level. Princeton Review recently ranked our athletic facilities as the 4th best in the nation (Georgia Tech was #1…Ohio State was #5). We take multiple early trips each year at no expense to our players and we do not fund raise. In my time at Wabash, we have traveled to Los Angeles, San Antonio, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Savannah, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisville. I want our players to experience as many places as possible during their time in the program.