Recruiting Horror Stories™ are posted every Tuesday to provide athletes’ first-hand experiences of what can go wrong during the recruiting process.
Skylar Singleton is a senior volleyball player at Saint Leo University, but from day one, her road to the finish line hasn’t been easy. Before she even started classes on Saint Leo’s campus (in fact, the day she called to commit to the school), the head coach and assistant were fired!
Recruits can learn from Skylar’s perseverance. Let’s take a look at how she handled it, what was going through her head, and how she got through it.
Skylar started her recruiting process when she was 16 years old. To be recruited she sent film, emails, and called coaches of schools she was interested in. She was also in close contact with her high school counselor, high school coach, and club coaches to give her advice on the recruiting process. Skylar’s top schools were South Carolina Aiken, Arkansas State, Palm Beach Atlantic, Nova Southeastern, and Saint Leo University. She visited South Carolina Aiken, Palm Beach Atlantic, Nova Southeastern as well as Saint Leo. When she went on her visit to Saint Leo she couldn’t help but fall in love with the campus, the coaches, the area, and she says the girls on the team were really great. “I felt like I could eventually call Saint Leo home,” she said, reflecting on the visit. She said she felt most comfortable at Saint Leo–the competitiveness of volleyball really drew her to the school.
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Left on Read
Skylar called to commit on her senior night. She remembers getting to the gym and talking to her mom and deciding that it was a good night to commit. They had already had a conversation that Saint Leo was the best fit for her and had known for a few days that she was going to do this.
Before the game and the senior night festivities, she stepped outside to call the head coach. She said she “was so nervous, but also super excited to be done with the process and confident with [her] decision.” She picked up the phone, dialed the number and waited. There was no answer the first time and it went to voicemail. So she called again. The second time she called, the coach denied her call. She figured he was busy and would call her back soon. Thinking nothing of it she went back into the gym to enjoy her senior night festivities.
A few minutes later she heard a buzzing on her phone and it was a text from the head coach at Saint Leo. It read: “Hello Skylar I was just fired as coach of Saint Leo and I’m unable to have communications with players or recruits as I’ve been advised to cut all communications off. I’m sorry and best of luck.” After Skylar read this text her stomach dropped. Here she was on her senior night, all of her friends had already committed and she declined other offers as well. Saint Leo was the school she wanted to go to and she thought that she was going to be done with the recruiting process.
In her head, she was back to square one, and the school that she loved was out of the picture. She ran and found her mom and they both cried before her senior night game. They were both at a loss for words. Her mom tried to get her to focus on enjoying her senior night and assured her that they could still contact the new Saint Leo coach the minute they were hired. They thought maybe it wasn’t meant to be and would start the process again, keeping her options open in case she wasn’t able to still commit.
After the senior night Skylar contacted the new head and assistant coaches and they were very interested in recruiting her. They invited her on a visit and they watched her at a few club tournaments. She revisited South Carolina Aiken and Saint Leo one more time in the month of March, but after the last visit she obviously knew before Saint Leo was the place for her so when the new coaches offered her a scholarship she committed a few days after.
A Happy Ending
Skylar is very happy with her choice and has no regrets. She is sad that she was never able to be coached by the old coaches because they were one of her top reasons she committed but she is “more grateful for the relationships and memories” that she has made. She says everything happens for a reason and there are so many factors that go into the recruiting process and considering her situation she would say she is “lucky to call Saint Leo home.”
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* Originally published on August 9, 2022, by Anna Garrett