What's Going on In West Chester?

It's been four months since Jamie Rudisill announced that he was going to retire after 29 years at West Chester University. There are times when a coach "steps down" and you have to sift through coded language from an athletic director to find out that the breakup was not mutual.

This was not one of those times. Here is the quote from West Chester AD Dr. Edward Matejkovic:

"I am not sure that the string of championships that he has engineered can be duplicated".

Rudisill has been successful at West Chester in many ways through sheer will and ingenuity. As the article notes, the learn to swim program that Rudisill developed at West Chester teaches 4000 (!!!!) kids a year. 

So it's a bit curious four months later that there has been no public anything in regards to replacing Rudisill at West Chester. None of the possible scenarios are really good for the West Chester Swimming and Diving program.

Scenario 1: Internal Hiring Process

The lack of even a job posting seeking candidates for Rudisill's position could mean that they are searching for his replacement internally. Perhaps Scott Elliot (see edit below) who has done such a tremendous job as age group coach for Golden Ram Aquatics (as well as helping with the college team) could be sliding up. (EDIT: After finishing this, I got confirmation from multiple sources that Scott Elliot has just passed away from Cancer.)

But if that was the idea, they have done the team no favors with four months of no news. Furthermore, an internal hire's whole advantage is that you can do it quickly and move on without all the inefficiency of a new hire. This is the worst of both worlds

Scenario 2: There's a new AD

One of the things that can slow up hiring processes is if there are key decision making personnel missing in the athletic department. In West Chester's case, the previously mentioned Dr. Edward Matejkovic also retired this Spring. 

West Chester put an interim tag on Terry Beattie (who was already at the school) and he remains in that role months later. So it could be that West Chester is basically paralyzed, waiting to either have a new AD so they can hire new coaches, or for their current interim have that tag lifted so they can proceed.

Scenario 3: There is no hiring plan

None of these scenarios are exclusive of one another. Perhaps there is so much disorder that there is simply no plan for West Chester for how they will replace Rudisill. Which is a shame because the market is only shrinking for possible replacements they could get, and much of what Rudisill accomplished will need to continue running smoothly to ensure future success.

EDIT: After finishing this post, I got information from multiple sources that Jamie Rudisill's retirement would not be "official" until August, and that current assistant coach Steve Mazurek will be taking over. Mazurek is a West Chester alumn and no stranger to the team after serving as an assistant coach there for nine years.

If you have any information on what's going on at West Chester University, write me!

The Tipping Point of College Hiring

We have crossed the threshold of July, which means that in the annual game of musical chairs that is college swimming hiring, things are changing from a hirers to a job seekers market.

Although to be fair, when you look at the compensation for many of these college jobs (low) and the quality of people applying for them (high), it's fair to say that it is always a good market for those hiring. This is not to mention the ever-shrinking market of available jobs as programs face the cutting axe. 

Still, the best time to be hiring for an open position in college swimming is the spring. The spring is when coaches who are already established where they are think about making a change. The spring is a safe time to throw your name out there and see what happens.

The spring is also a time when there is little time pressure. Recruiting in many places is at its most relaxed point. The next season is well in the distance.

The warm and fuzzy happy hiring period lasts into July, when all of a sudden the pressure of a missing piece ramps up. 

As the summer progresses, chairs get filled. The pool of available, experienced candidates that want to change jobs shrinks. This is especially true the farther down you are on the college food chain. If Cal or Texas were looking for a head coach, they would get very good applicants in the middle of winter.

But for many other teams, the dwindling applicant pool and the pressure of a missing piece in recruiting or on the pool deck can really start to tip the balances in favor of those who apply.

The college hiring game of musical chairs lasts for months, sometimes with seemingly no end as open positions appear under often strange, poorly explained circumstances into September, October and even later.

The late period can be really great for "foot in the door" types who just want to get in but have found themselves rebuffed by the insider nature of college coaching. This is your opportunity to make your case and get someone to take a chance on you.

Want help with your college coaching job search? Write me.