Press Chelmsford Independent

Athletes need to take charge of their future

Athletes Need to Take Charge of Their Future
By Stephen Tobey
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Chelmsford Independent

If a high school athlete is counting on a full athletic scholarship to finance his or her college education, he or she is likely to be disappointed, as is his or her parents.

That does not necessarily mean that there’s no place for that athlete in a college program somewhere, however.

“If you’ve had a good four years in high school, you can have a great four years in college,” said Ray Lauenstein, co-author of the book “The Making of a Student-Athlete: Succeeding in the College Selection and Recruiting Process for High School Athletes, Parents and Coaches”. “There is a program for every good high school athlete.”

Monday night, Lauenstein and his co-author Dave Galehouse talked to high school athletes and their parents at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School about what they need to know about playing in college. Merrimack College baseball coach Joe Sarno also offered his perspectives on recruiting.

While the Holy Grail of many high school athletes is the full ride, the full, all-expenses-paid athletic scholarship at a Division I program, there just aren’t many of those available, even at Division I schools.

Of the 200,000 athletes playing at NCAA Division I and II colleges, only half receive some form of athletic scholarship and even fewer receive full scholarships. Basketball and football are the only full-funded sports at all Division I schools. In other sports, coaches have to stretch their scholarship budgets by distributing partial scholarships. In Division I baseball, schools may offer 11.7 scholarships. At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, there are 33 players on the baseball team’s roster.

Many schools do not offer the maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA. Fairfield University’s women’s tennis team, for example, has just one full scholarship, while the NCAA allows up to eight tennis players to receive athletic scholarship money.

“A lot of coaches aren’t playing with a full deck [offering the maximum number of available scholarships],” said Lauenstein.

While athletic scholarship opportunities are limited, there are other ways for a promising student-athlete to finance his or her education. Most of those opportunities require the athlete to take care of business in the classroom.

“Academics are your best chance,” said Lauenstein. “There is far more money available for students with good grades. Know the realities.”

One of the realities is that athletes are not “discovered” by coaches.

“Coaches rely on you,” said Lauenstein. “You can call. You can e-mail. Every college athletic Web site has an online recruiting form on it. Start early, by your junior year.”

The first step in figuring out which college is the right one is putting the ego aside.

“Don’t judge a program by what division it is,” said Galehouse, who briefly attended Rollins College and tried out for its national powerhouse Division II baseball team before transferring and finding a spot on the roster at Division I Fairfield University.

The next step is getting an honest assessment of athletic ability.

“The biggest mistake is overestimating how good they are,” said Lauenstein. “You can also underestimate your ability and sell yourself short.”

An athlete can find out where he or she stacks up against other prospects by attending camps and showcases, playing on AAU or travel teams, or getting third-party evaluations from experts in their sport.

Athletes also need to consider where they might fit in with a given school’s team and its coach’s plans and if their academic background is good enough to get admitted to the school. They also need to figure out if their family can afford the school.

Though many people hope to play sports at selective colleges in the Ivy Leagues or New England Small College Athletic Conference, those colleges accept relatively few students compared to the number of applications they receive. According to Lauenstein and Galehouse there are many other colleges with excellent athletic and academic programs that have much higher acceptance rates and offer good financial aid packages.

In addition to athletic ability and a solid academic background, college coaches also look for quality people.

“I look for discipline, work ethic and passion,” said Sarno. “Passion is the number one thing. We work so hard and I expect so much that if you don’t have passion for the game, you won’t make it.”

While the time commitments of intercollegiate athletics at any level are demanding, the rewards are great, even for the vast majority of athletes who don’t go on to play at the professional level.

“I know somebody who works in job placement at Babson College,” said Galehouse. “He told me when corporate recruiters ask for resumes, the first people they ask for are the varsity athletes and the varsity captains.” For more information on Ray Lauenstein and Dave Galehouse’s book “The Making of a Student-Athlete: Succeeding in the College Selection and Recruiting Process for High School Athletes, Parents and Coaches”. “There is a program for every good high school athlete” www.varsityedge.com.

Press Boston Globe

On recruiting, the voice of experience

By Andy Nesbitt, Globe Staff, 4/25/2004

LEXINGTON — From his second-floor office in his family’s home in Lexington, Dave Galehouse works each day with the simple purpose of making more information available that will help high school athletes find the right college to continue their studies and extend their athletic careers.

For many high school athletes who star on their teams, the goal is to advance to the next level and play a sport in college. But finding that perfect school with the proper mix of sports and education and parlaying that into either a scholarship or an attractive financial aid package is not always easy.

Galehouse, a former baseball player who went through the same process in the early 1990s when he graduated from Lexington High School, understands firsthand how difficult it can be. He attended three colleges trying to find the right fit — academically and athletically. Eventually, he landed at Fairfield University in Connecticut, where he played two years on the baseball team.

After college, Galehouse often reflected on how unprepared he was for the recruiting process and how difficult it can be for high school athletes and their families to make it work.

Three years ago, Galehouse created a noncommercial web site, varsityedge.com, designed to help answer questions for prospective college athletes. Included on the site, which is constantly updated, is a selection of interviews Galehouse has conducted over the years with college coaches. Also on the site is a section containing questions and answers about recruiting from parents and high school athletes.

Galehouse took his operation one step further this past winter when he co-authored and had published a college recruiting guidebook titled “The Making of a Student-Athlete: Succeeding in the College Selection, Application, and Athletic Recruiting Process.”

The book answers questions on such subjects as filling out college applications, dealing with the rules of recruiting, and life as a college studenat-athlete.

“It’s something I’m passionate about,” Galehouse said. “I struggled through the recruiting process, and I want to help others through it. There’s a very small window of opportunity in the college recruiting process to succeed. Maybe you can transfer once or twice, but basically you have a five-year window to have a college athletic career.

“Our thought process is that whatever school you choose, first you need to base it on academics. There are really three components: academic aspect, social aspect, and the athletic aspect. What we’re trying to do is teach parents and students to take a proactive role in the process and evaluate as many schools and athletic programs as possible to find the best fit.”

The Internet boom has created an influx of online college recruiting companies that for a fee will create a resume for athletes. The resumes, including their performance on the field and in the classroom, are sent out to hundreds of college coaches.

While that system has paid off for many high school athletes, Galehouse, who makes no money from his web site but sells his book, believes there is a better way for students and their families to go about the recruiting process.

“I respect anyone that is trying to assist kids, but there are a lot of companies taking advantage of students right now,” Galehouse said. “They are getting people to pay for services that a lot of college coaches aren’t using, and I know because I talk to a lot of coaches.

Galehouse suggests that before athletes begin the recruiting process, they understand it’s going to take a lot of work.

“The first thing is they have to lose the notion that they are going to be discovered,” he said. “A lot of good players in high school assume college coaches are going to show up at their games or assume that [if they have good stats] or if their name is in the local paper that a coach is going to see it. College coaches don’t see the local town paper.”

Galehouse strongly suggests athletes and their families take an aggressive, but calculated, role.

“That doesn’t mean making 500 phone calls or sending out 500 letters or e-mails,” he said. “It means targeting programs that are a good academic, athletic, and social fit. If you do that, you are probably more likely to be recruited and probably more likely to receive some money.”

So, what’s the best way to achieve that goal?

“Coaches love to hear from recruits,” Galehouse said. “They want you to call, but a lot of kids are afraid or embarrassed to call or they don’t know what to do. They might have their parents call or send an e-mail.”

Galehouse knows the recruiting process can seem like a daunting task, but preparation can make a big difference.

“This is a big decision, and it’s something you need to make on your own,” he said. “If you don’t know what to do, then it’s really hard. But I think if you know how to go about it, it can be a lot easier.”

Andy Nesbitt can be reached at anesbitt@globe.com.

Press

PRESS COVERAGE

Varsityedge.com has been featured in several local and national news publications. Read some of our stories below…

Nytimes
A New Competitive Sport: Grooming the Child Athlete – GO

chelmsford

Chelmsford Independent, Lincoln Journal, Bedford Minuteman, Littleton Independent, Beacon Villager
ATHLETES NEED TO TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR FUTURE – GO

bostonglobe
Boston Globe
ON RECRUITING, THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE – BOOK AND WEBSITE TARGET COLLEGE-BOUND ATHLETES – GO

Minuteman
Lexington Minuteman
GALEHOUSE LOOKS TO ENLIGHTEN OTHERS – GO

Facebookshareshield

Press – Community Newspaper


Galehouse looks to enlighten others

By – Jason Keith – Community Newspaper Company

Thursday, April 8, 2004

It’s supposed to be the the most important decision in any young person’s life.

The bottom line is that picking a college or university to attend is the most important decision early on in anyone’s career, but most kids, especially high school athletes, aren’t prepared to make it.

Many things go into choosing a college for any high school student, but when you factor in potential scholarships, athletic programs, and level of competition for a high school athlete, the decision can be somewhat overwhelming.

In many cases, kids and parents end up making the wrong choice, especially those athletes looking to play their sport in college.

Sometimes it’s because they don’t do enough research, wait too long to really start looking, or simply weigh name value and recognition too much in their decision making process. As a result, kids aren’t always going to school that best fits them.

More often than not, they find out the hard way they made the wrong choice.

This is what happened to former Lexington High standout and resident Dave Galehouse, who was a four year starter on the LHS golf team, as well as a baseball player his senior season.

Galehouse had a nightmare college career, both in baseball and socially, bouncing from one college to the next until he finally settled on Fairfield University. A Division 1 school, he played baseball for one season, got injured, and ended up having to give up completely. He did receive his degree, but it took longer than expected.

Not wanting other kids to make the same mistakes he made, Galehouse has made it his mission to inform the high school public, parents and students alike, about the college recruiting process, how to research, gain scholarships, evaluate your own talent, and ultimately, find the right school for each individual.

His web site, www.varsityedge.com, is a advertisement-free mecca of information for those looking to play sports at the next level, and find the right college for them. He has also co-authored a book, The Making of a Student-Athlete, Succeeding in the College Selection, Application, and Athletic Recruiting Process. 

“It was my junior year, as I was sitting in the library, I started to think about everything that had gone on, and I started to jot down some notes,” said Galehouse of his own personal experience. “I tried to write a baseball recruiting guide, but the more I wrote down, the more I realized that the concepts could be used for any sport.”

What once was supposed to be a book, he put off the project. After doing some more research and finding other journals and books about the subject, he picked it back up in 1997. At the time he was working for SchoolSports Magazine, and got the idea to start a web site.

The web site led to the book, which is now a comprehensive guide on how to pick a college as a student athlete.

“It was going to be a book 8-9 years ago, but what I realized was that after looking at the other books out there, there was still a need for a really good recruiting guide,” said Galehouse. “It took a year and a half putting it together. Part of the idea is for the greater good, I don’t want anyone to go through what I put my parents through, it was much worse than how I’ve told it.”

Galehouse’s own college story is a tale of how not to go about it, and was the inspiration for the project. He doesn’t want misery to love company in this instance.

“As a four year starter in high school, I was looking for schools to play golf,” said Galehouse. “I had no idea about the recruiting process, or how to evaluate my own talent. I did write letters to coaches, but the problem was I wasn’t targeting the right programs. I then got burned out from golfing, it had been 6-7 years straight. I fell in love with baseball again.”

Galehouse applied to five schools, and gained acceptance to three. Marquette, at the time, was the only real option. The problem was, they didn’t have a baseball team. Despite accepting the offer to go to Marquette, he agonized over whether or not to go, and ultimately decided not to.

Bentley College was a natural fit, or so it seemed, as a school close to home with good athletics.
“Bentley was a snap decision I made for the sole purpose of actually going to college like every other friend I had who had graduated high school with me,” said Galehouse in his book. “I registered in August about two weeks before class was to start. At a stringent meeting with an admissions representative who’s one real question was, “Will you be applying for financial aid?” to which I responded “No”, to which he extended his hand and responded, “Welcome to Bentley.”

He was there for one night before deciding that it wasn’t the place for him, and he took a year off completely.

“The question was what to do with that year,” said Galehouse. “I had the opportunity to really research schools, but I still didn’t really know how to do that.”

He applied to one school, Rollins College in Florida, where he planned to walk on to the baseball team. After attending, 12 days later he was cut from the team.

“It was a big mess, even for the kids that were there that had gotten recruited,” said Galehouse.
After spending one year in the sun at Rollins, he transferred, this time to Fairfield University. He walked onto the baseball team, played immediately for the whole season, but broke his collar bone at the end of the season. As a sophomore, other kids had gotten better, while he was recovering.

“I was kind of on the outside looking in,” said Galehouse. “Sitting on the bench in New England is not an enjoyable thing, I realized it wasn’t going to change, so I decided to give it up.”

Now all his energy goes into running his web sites, one of which is varsityedge.com. 

What has become obvious to Galehouse and his co-author of the book, Ray Lauenstein, is that this is a problem that nationwide could and should be addressed. It’s a noble project that both have embarked upon to try to educate high school students.

“All the articles on Dave’s web site are free, and we think that people can get the information,” said Lauenstein. “The book helps, and for $25 it’s not a bad investment. Dave has been doing it without any revenue for 3-4 years, and I’ve been doing it with minimal revenue, so anyone who thought we were doing it just for the money isn’t right.”

The web site and book is helping people, plain and simple. In the feedback section of Galehouse’s site, one mother explained how her son decided to create his own web site essentially outlining everything about him, including grades, SAT scores, and contact information for his coaches.

He ended up at a school that was perfect for him, like everyone else should.

“Formatted the book was 400 pages, and we had to cut out 50,” said Galehouse with a laugh, who had to self publish the book. “We basically blew the lid off the recruiting process, and included a lot of things.”

Items covered in the book include athletic camps and how to evaluate them, personal training, and how to succeed as an athlete at the college level. The site and book also cover misconceptions about scholarships, sports, and programs available at schools. For Galehouse, his opportunity was lost.

“The problem is you only have 4-5 years to make a college career work,” he said. “If you lose your job you can always get another one, but in college athletics, it’s so important to do it right the first time. You can only transfer so many times, and the grass isn’t always greener.”

It’s a labor of love that both Galehouse and Lauenstein hope will take off and provide those who need to know the information vital to making good decisions. Galehouse, 31, has no intentions of slowing down.

“It’s just writing and updating,” said Galehouse, who maintains the site himself, does all the research, interviewing, and writing. “It’s something that I enjoy doing. It’s a continuous learning process, but the basic concepts are the same.”