April 8, 2009
Not long ago, coach Kim Mulkey of Baylor's women's basketball team asked me to give a few of her recruits a tour of the law school. One of them was interested in going to law school someday, and wanted to see ours. I happily obliged. The experience gave me a little insight into how the recruiting of top athletic recruits work, and it was clear to me that the best programs are extremely skilled at this.
Have any of us bothered to learn from them? We recruit all the time-- for faculty, for top students of various kinds, for whatever kind of diversity our institution may need-- but it occurs to me that we may not have consulted these experts in our midsts.
As just one example, I found that a key to successful recruiting for athletes in responsiveness. It matters if a head coach returns a call right away, if a text gets a response in a few moments, and coaches structure their time accordingly. It makes the athlete feel wanted and cared for, and assures them that they will not get lost at that particular school should they choose to attend. Probably some law school recruiters do that and some don't, but we could all learn from what it is that a coach says in that call, what it is that works. I'm sure some sharpies like Jim Chen (Louisville = good recruiting!) have already figured this out, but it never occurred to me.
I'm thinking that in the next year, I may try to have a sit-down with a few of our coaches and see if we can't do a little cross-training.
-- Mark Osler