Story by Caleb Betterton - Managing Editor
Recruiting is an essential aspect of any college sport. The better the coach recruits, the better the team.
Recruiting can often be challenging and hard work, and different coaches have different styles and ways of recruiting the players they want to play for them.
Rose State Softball Head Coach Nickie Madden begins with making the rounds of different summer games and leagues, as well as holding tryouts to identify the players she wants to recruit.
After Madden has identified the players she wants, she finds out which high school they attend, then works on getting them on campus.
Most of the athletes Madden recruits are local, but she does reach out to the surrounding states as well.
Madden is looking “for freshman who are ready to start.”
Being at a two-year program, there is not a lot of time to develop players and have them sit out a year because the turnover is so fast. This can be a struggle for both the coach and the player.
Madden said she also looks for “good character kids that will represent the school well.”
Softball recruiting offers some unique challenges of its own. Because most coaches watch only summer ball and not high school teams, the players must stand out.
Camps are also a great way for players to get noticed, which is how catcher Macy Naylor was scouted by Rose State.
“For me it was a lot about going to camps,” Naylor said.
She attended a camp in Tulsa where she met Madden and invited her to Rose State’s camp. Naylor attended the Rose State camp for three years.
She eventually received an offer and the rest is history. Another aspect of recruiting is picking up transfer students such as pitcher and first baseman Hannah Dean.
“Rose was my second chance,” Dean said.
Dean originally went to Oklahoma Christian University; however, she became injured and was forced to leave because they could not figure out what was wrong with her. After she left, they found the source of the injury, and she had surgery a week later.
Soon after, Brian Madden, Nickie Madden’s husband and Dean’s former travel ball coach, asked Dean if she would like to play again. Dean said yes, and he connected her with Madden who signed her up to be a Raider.
For some players, it can be an unexpected blessing to be recruited at all.
“It was kind of crazy,” said Sydney Griggs, Rose State softball catcher.
Griggs went to a smaller high school where people are not usually recruited. She was first noticed when Madden was recruiting one of her teammates on the travel team. Griggs played for the travel team at the time.
At a Christmas party Griggs’ junior year, Madden invited her to come visit Rose State.
Griggs chose Rose State be-cause of what the college offered her academically.
“My No. 1 goal is to be anacademic all American,” Griggs said.
Recruiting is all about trying to be successful for both players and coaches, on the field and academically.
Rose State softball looks to be successful this season. To show support, find game locations and times at www.rscraiders.com/sports/softball/schedule .