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Davidson and Pitt Coaches

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The DI coaching carousel got started early this year with the Pitt and Davidson jobs getting posted officially this week. Potential candidates for Pitt have been discussed already, so no need to rehash that. I just wonder if Matt Kocher will be given a serious look after seven years as an assistant. I suppose that depends on who else is interested and the salary range available.

 

Davidson is an interesting case. They appear to have a middle of the pack operating budget (42nd in D1 in 2014), but they have just one full time assistant and have 4 DI dual meet wins in the last five years. Also, the previous coach left after 12 years to take over a brand new DIII program. The admissions standards are quite high (#9 ranked liberal arts college per US News), though it is not immediately obvious what, if any, help they get from Admissions. It is also a very small school with fewer than 1800 students. To me, the question is how good can they reasonably expect to become? What is the ceiling?

 

Davidson can't reasonably expect to attract a current DI head coach, but maybe there is an up and coming assistant who is looking for his shot to be in charge and, at the very least, improve things there before moving up the ladder. That brings me back to the question about ceiling and if this is the place to go to to kick off a head coaching career. There are only 77 DI teams, making any opening a scarce resource. This will be an interesting hire.

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The DI coaching carousel got started early this year with the Pitt and Davidson jobs getting posted officially this week. Potential candidates for Pitt have been discussed already, so no need to rehash that. I just wonder if Matt Kocher will be given a serious look after seven years as an assistant. I suppose that depends on who else is interested and the salary range available.

 

Davidson is an interesting case. They appear to have a middle of the pack operating budget (42nd in D1 in 2014), but they have just one full time assistant and have 4 DI dual meet wins in the last five years. Also, the previous coach left after 12 years to take over a brand new DIII program. The admissions standards are quite high (#9 ranked liberal arts college per US News), though it is not immediately obvious what, if any, help they get from Admissions. It is also a very small school with fewer than 1800 students. To me, the question is how good can they reasonably expect to become? What is the ceiling?

 

Davidson can't reasonably expect to attract a current DI head coach, but maybe there is an up and coming assistant who is looking for his shot to be in charge and, at the very least, improve things there before moving up the ladder. That brings me back to the question about ceiling and if this is the place to go to to kick off a head coaching career. There are only 77 DI teams, making any opening a scarce resource. This will be an interesting hire.

 

While it is true that Davidson's operating budget is on par with roughly half of D1 programs, Davidson's total spending on wrestling is in the bottom 10 of D1 programs and is the same as Iowa's spending on their operating budget alone. 

 

While Davidson is not the only program who has a total wrestling budget (coaches salaries, operating, recruiting, scholarships) in this ranges, one of the biggest differences is that Davidson has a much higher scholarship rate. 

 

Consider this: Davidson and Appalachian State are only two hours apart from each other and almost spend the same amount on their wrestling program in total.  However, App State is able to fund one full scholarships by only taking $14,500 out of their total budget.  Davidson, on the other hand, has to take $65,000 out of their budget to fund one full scholarship.

 

This makes the numbers really deceiving.

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I've been told that Davidson admissions do not offer the wrestling program much flexibility.

 

The school is too small to make exception for athletes.  There are 500 varsity athletes at the school with an enrollment of 1700.   One-third of all students at the school are varsity D1 athletes.  Their athletes are held to a very high standard because the school has very high standards.  With the exception of basketball, they basically operate on the D3/Ivy model.

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I guess all of this is kind of my point. Who is the candidate who is right for the job, including the roadblocks to success?

 

It is possible they had a great coach in place.

 

A few names that come to mind that might be good fits would be: Mark Cody, Nate Yetzer, Sean Harrington, and Mike Grey.

 

Of course, the candidates have to want the job and I would gladly welcome candidates from outside of the D1 ranks.

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That's interesting.  Good hire for Davidson, I think.

 

Wonder if Moore will be promoted at Sacred Heart or if they will do a search.

 

I'm amazed Davidson has wrestling at all and doubt they will keep it much longer unless there is some very deep pocket alumni that want it.

 

I also don't know why they are D-1. I would think D-2 would be a better fit

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I'm amazed Davidson has wrestling at all and doubt they will keep it much longer unless there is some very deep pocket alumni that want it.

 

I also don't know why they are D-1. I would think D-2 would be a better fit

 

Davidson operates on the Ivy model: offering many athletic opportunities but almost all their sports are non-scholarship.

 

Davidson is never going D2.

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The purpose of athletics at any quality academic school like Davidson should be to have the maximum number of athletic opportunities so that the institution does not lose an excellent student, who would also like to continue his favorite sport at the school. individual type sports (wrestling, track, swimming, tennis, golf among others) actually are more useful in this regard than team sports.

 

A theoretical example. When I was at Lehigh, we had to professors in the Biology department who were considered among the worlds 5 greatest experts on the Horseshoe Crab. It is possible some young man out there grew fascinated with Horseshoe Crabs, and also was a pretty darn good wrestler. Lehigh would have been is obvious school.

 

Say instead, the worlds greatest expert on opossums was at Davidson. And someone who was fascinated with opossums was a wrestler who wanted to continue his sport. It would be a shame if he could not wrestle at Davidson. If he was the 1000th best senior in the World, Davidson would be Ideal for him. But even if he were the 10th best he could still have some success (maybe a little less than say Duke or more so Va Tech)

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Davidson operates on the Ivy model: offering many athletic opportunities but almost all their sports are non-scholarship.

 

Davidson is never going D2.

 

Any idea how many scholarships Sacred Heart offered?  It would be a little odd to go from a place that offered scholarships to a place that did not.

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The purpose of athletics at any quality academic school like Davidson should be to have the maximum number of athletic opportunities so that the institution does not lose an excellent student, who would also like to continue his favorite sport at the school. 

Isn't it arguable whether there is any purpose for attaching athletics to schools?  Athletic department budgets are such a shell game that it's hard to know whether athletics is anything other than a drain on most universities. Rather than losing out on particular students, I think offering sports is probably more about maintaining strong alumni relations (holding out the prospect that you will get bigger donations down the road).

 

Colleges offering wrestling is tremendous for wrestling -- is the benefit mutual? 

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Any idea how many scholarships Sacred Heart offered?  It would be a little odd to go from a place that offered scholarships to a place that did not.

It's been over ten years since I heard how many they had... But I seem to recall that the number was two or three.

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Isn't it arguable whether there is any purpose for attaching athletics to schools? Athletic department budgets are such a shell game that it's hard to know whether athletics is anything other than a drain on most universities. Rather than losing out on particular students, I think offering sports is probably more about maintaining strong alumni relations (holding out the prospect that you will get bigger donations down the road).

 

Colleges offering wrestling is tremendous for wrestling -- is the benefit mutual?

Yes it is, depending on the university. Why have music or art? Why have a drama school? Education is more than just academics.

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Yes it is, depending on the university. Why have music or art? Why have a drama school? Education is more than just academics.

 

I'm in agreement that athletics have importance that goes beyond mere alumni relations; but I'm also pretty sure there are some who would make a case that music and art are as much part of "academics" as science or engineering.

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I suppose music, art, drama can be for careers, but, of course any sport can be too. Still any activity can be recreational. Maybe my future opossum expert really likes singing Italian opera, but knows he will not be appearing at the Met in this lifetime so that activity could be made available if practical. University of South Florida cannot field an Alpine Ski team. Doubt if Alaska Fairbanks could have much of a baseball program.

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I'm in agreement that athletics have importance that goes beyond mere alumni relations; but I'm also pretty sure there are some who would make a case that music and art are as much part of "academics" as science or engineering.

And for many D1 athletes (some D2 or D3 as well), their sport is the main component of their education.  Many spend much more time on it than classes for their particular area of study.  Is it the right strategy for most people?  Absolutely not.  I'm not in the group of people who think that "wrestlers/athletes make the best employees."  However, I do think that for some people, it is a critical part of their education. For many difficult and high stress fields, mental fortitude/toughness is absolutely critical. Athletics is a great way to learn this mental endurance. I also think music/the arts teach this as well.  

 

The key is balance of course.  You wouldn't want musicians at a university to spend 100%  of their time practicing their instruments..that's what conservatories are for.  Similarly, you don't want an athlete to not go to any classes (e.g. UNC basketball/football).  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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after my undergraduate experience, i undertook a grad program in a top-5 school for my discipline.  it had long been a 2 year program, but was condensed into 15 months (two summers plus two regular semesters) the year i attended.  they soon (within a couple of years) went back to a two year setup, because the workload was atrocious.

why am i telling this?  admission to the program was fiercely competitive, and i was admitted ahead of many students with better GPAs than mine, because of my division 1 varsity athletic experience.  i was not a terrific or well-decorated athlete, but i did start for four years, captain for one, and was honored for an individual award at the all sports banquet.  when i arrived at the grad program, i met a number of professors who, upon my introduction, said "oh, the wrestler!"

the first point is that the athletic experience was given value at a school that did not stand to benefit from my wrestling ability or knowledge.  i was not there to coach or compete, simply to study, and they valued the real-world lessons i'd gained as a student-athlete.

also, that workload thing.  during my time there, i saw no fewer than a half dozen grown MEN and WOMEN break down into tears during classes discussing the impossibility of our workload.  having come fresh off four years wrestling at an elite academic institution, i couldn't help but chuckle.  these guys, strong academics themselves, didn't know what work was.  they had long been accustomed to free time that committed student-athletes just don't have, and just didn't know how to manage their time, or their stress levels.

tldr;  the education that takes place on the wrestling mats is valued in the highest of academia, is weighed against classroom experience in competitive admissions, and applies strongly in the areas of time management and workload capacity.

Edited by John Coctostan

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