Part II of my conversation with tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh. Part I is here.
How do you find a kid like a Mason Monheim? I know you guys were recruiting him at your last place (Toledo). I don’t know why a school like, say, Ohio State wasn’t looking at him. He’s a solid Big Ten linebacker. And he’s a good kid, strong…
…strong academics, good family, football is important to him, tough. Yes.
Well, he’s not 6′-2″. He played running back in high school. He’s from a smaller program. He had a good junior year but not a great junior year. But he had a great senior year. So you truly would have had to see that kid in camp. You truly have to get to know the kid. And Orrville (Ohio) is a little bit off the beaten path. If he’s from Cleveland, he probably has a bunch of offers. If he’s from Columbus, probably a bunch of offers. He’s from Orrvile, and it’s a trip. You can find kids like that, but your coaches have to be willing to make the drive, learn everything about the kid, and make a decision.
Yeah, we were recruiting him at the old place. I was telling someone the other day that he’s the only kid I’ve ever had on two official visits at two different schools. But you have to be willing to work. Recruiting is – and there’s a ton of coaching clichés that I could say here – it really is the harder you work at it the better you’re going to be. And I’m not talking about just recruiting the kid but also evaluating the kid.
I think that’s how kids end up getting drafted from Division II schools. It’s making sure you see a kid’s frame and making sure you see how a kid can develop. I think some people can do it and some people can’t. Bill Belichick does it better than anyone in the business, and there’s some teams that just can’t get it right.
Where does your passion for recruiting come from? Because you’re obviously passionate about it. Where is that from?
I’m super competitive. To me – and it’s really me against me – I’m going to find gems. To me, I take so much pride in finding – and not that he’s arrived – but I take pride in finding (freshman tight end) Tyler White way more so than the kid that everybody knew about that I beat everybody on. I take a lot of pride when I watch film that my guys that I brought in are good kids that go to class and play hard. Even if they’re on defense. I peek at Jarrod Clements. I peek at Caleb Day when we’re watching offensive film because I want to see those kids.
I take a lot of pride in the relationships I built with those kids. I think it’s a lot of fun getting to know the kids. I know it’s cliché, but watching a kid graduate, how cool is that? And then getting invited to their wedding. And knowing that you were a reason why that kid is successful.
I enjoy it. To me, you can take two approaches to it. One, it’s a sales approach. It’s strictly business and we’re rollin’. Two is, if those kids care about you – if they know you care about them – it’s really easy. And honestly, I think recruiting is really, really easy. Your kids on your team are your best recruiters. Our job is to get them on campus and get them around our kids. Because if our kids are happy, then you have a chance to get a kid. And all you ask for is a chance. Then it’s like throwing darts. If you have a big enough pool, and our kids are happy, you have a chance.
We won two games last year. We made a lot of changes. We re-evaluated a lot of things we were doing. And I think that when we got some kids on campus, our kids said “the strength program is really good”. Our kids said “the academic support is really good”. And our kids said “Coach Golesh, what he’s telling you, he’s not lying. What Coach Beckman is telling you about family and treating you right and you getting a birthday cake on your birthday and you being taken care of by this training staff, he ain’t lying”.
You’d be amazed. Kids go to certain places and they’ll hear “that guy is lying to you”. Their own players are telling them that. I think that’s really underrated in recruiting – your own kids. And we have some go-to guys. I know I can put a kid with Matt LaCosse and we have a good shot to get the kid. And I know who not to put them with (laughs).
Let’s talk about Chunky. You said on signing day that it was a really long process with Jarrod Clements. You started recruiting him when he was elsewhere and built a relationship. Can you walk me through that? What’s that like for you – how you build that relationship. How does that work.
When those kids are young, they have to reach out to you. And that’s why I think being in a certain area is important. One, I knew his high school coach. He transferred schools – I knew his old high school coach, and I really knew his new high school coach. Every time I’d come into the school – we can’t talk to them when they’re younger – every time I’d come into the school he was happy to see a familiar face. Literally, it’s just being in the school and being seen. Getting the coaches trust, and getting the kid to see ‘man, he’s always here’. Whether he thinks I’m there to see him or not – whatever. But you’re always there.
One, we were his first offer elsewhere. So he always kind of felt like “those guys have always wanted me”. And that kid, as he was getting all these offers it was always like “hey, I was here – hey, I’m still here”. I think it’s just being around that school. That’s why it’s important that your coaches that recruit certain areas stay in those areas. Just hit those areas and constantly be there. In Ohio, Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati are critical for us. So I’m always there. If we have a Friday, and we’re playing in Columbus, I’m going to be in my area. In the winter, I’m going to be in my area. And it helps when you’re getting other kids from the area, because you’re always there to see those kids.
But Jarrod is a loyal kid. Comes from a good family that always taught him that loyalty is the most important thing. And Jarrod bought into that. Caleb Day was very similar to that too where those kids always felt loyal to us. Regardless of us going 2-10, regardless of staff changes, I know Coach Golesh and Coach Beckman are going to take care of me because they’ve been with me this whole time.
Jarrod was an interesting case because Jarrod committed – he felt loyal and didn’t care about anything else so he committed – and then he tore his ACL three weeks later. The first thing we told him was “if you do your rehab, you still have a scholarship” because he called crying. And when we said “you still have a scholarship”, it was done. With his parents it was done, with his coach it was done. You’d better believe I talked to the Physical Therapist and I talked to the Doctor who did the surgery. I told them “if he’s a minute late to his appointment, you let me know”. And he was never late. It really was an “I trust them because they trust me”.
But I think the biggest thing with those kids was being in those areas. It’s a little bit different than a kid that you just go sign just because you wanted to sign them so badly.
OK, last question. I saw your family photo that you posted on Twitter. You have red hair. Your wife has red hair. Your daughter has red hair. And you have a dog with red hair. Did you intentionally get a red-haired dog?
(laughing) Marlon – he’s an Irish Setter. No, the story there is that my wife, when we met, I was at Oklahoma State, she had an older Irish Setter. And she didn’t want to move him up north into the freezing cold. So he stayed with her family and I got her a little Irish Setter puppy.
But yes, when we walk around the neighborhood, people look at us like we’re a bunch of freaks.