Spectators at Pierce’s athletic games may marvel at the skill of the teams. The players are remarkably talented and that’s largely because Raiders athletic teams are composed of 85 to 90 percent recruited athletes.
Pierce coaches don’t form their teams in the high school fashion of holding open tryouts for students and hoping that talented athletes will spring forth from their pool of students. Pierce coaches actively pursue students with outstanding athletic abilities, much like four-year coaches do.
The recruitment process itself is a complex one. Coaches attend high school games and practices during a sport’s season and decide which athletes they’re interested in recruiting. The process can be cut throat, with many colleges interested in the same players. Coaches often approach many more athletes than they need because they know that not all of them will come to play for Pierce.
“For many of the students we recruit we issue a letter of intent,” Athletics Director Duncan Stevenson said. “A letter of intent is a contract that provides financial assistance through a scholarship or partial tuition waiver through the athletic program. That’s part of the college’s commitment to attract the student athlete to our school.”
Because of the amount of effort the athletic department puts into recruiting athletes, Raiders teams are jam-packed with talented student athletes. But not every talent is recruited and Pierce is open to anyone who wants a chance of joining an athletic team.
“We have had some folks who knocked on the door and no one’s ever seen or heard of them before and they made our teams and have done really well,” Stevenson said.
But how does one go about knocking on the athletic department’s door? It’s as simple as filling out an online student interest form found on Pierce’s athletics website at www.pierce.ctc.edu/athletics/recruit. The interest form asks for basic personal information and athletic experience. After submitting, the form goes to Stevenson for review. He then passes it on to the coach of the team the student expressed interest in.
“We’re always looking for great student athletes and there’s always a diamond in the rough,” Stevenson said. “But often times we have people approach us who haven’t played competitive sports for a while. We never want to dash anyone’s dreams, but we certainly want people to understand that it’s a competitive level.”
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