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Best Combination of Baseball, Academics, and Student Life

NCSA recently received feedback for the College Coach’s Corner from Carleton College’s Baseball Coach, Aaron Rushing:

1. How would you describe yourself as a coach?

I am relaxed, more a teacher than a yeller, and I have very high expectations of our players.  I push them hard and try to get them to see where they can push themselves even more.  We focus on the fundamentals, throwing strikes and playing good defense.  I expect our players to be exceptional baseball players and highly committed, but I expect our players to take advantage of all the opportunities available at Carleton.

2. What is unique about the experience at your school?

I would argue that we provide the best combination of baseball, academics, and student life in the country.  We are competitive in one of the top conferences in Division III.  We are a top 10 liberal arts college.  Our players are able to experience “college” and all that Carleton has to offer.

3. What do recruits need to know about you?

Most importantly, I care about the players.  I want them to succeed on and off the field.  We have a team GPA over 3.3, and our guys do amazing stuff off the field.  I am going to support your non-baseball interests more than just about any other coach.  One of our guys did a health care service project in Africa last summer, another won a Fulbright, and most study abroad during the fall or summer at least once in their career.  Close to 10% of our players are pre-med.  We have several two-sport athletes as well.  I’m not going to try to run your life off the field.  I expect great commitment and effort when we’re together, but I want you to pursue your other interests as well.  We have just one rule: do the right thing.

4. What do you look for in recruits?

I want the player who wants to win a championship without sacrificing academics.  I place a priority on competitiveness, athleticism and a great arm.  Our guys need to be able to throw, run and hit, and be committed to getting the absolute best education they can get.  Our ideal guy is a Division I player who is not willing to sacrifice academics to play at that level.

5. What is the one thing every recruit needs to do with the recruiting process?

Have a transcript and video ready for coaches.  Also, be proactive in the search so that you get a good idea of what you are looking for.

6. What sort of questions do you really like to hear from recruits?

Questions about what the college athlete experience will be like.  I want guys who want to spend more time with the players than with me.  The players are the ones who can tell you about being a student-athlete.  As a coach, I have a feel for where they will fit on the baseball field, but they’ve got to be a fit with their teammates and the school.

7. What turns you off when you are recruiting a student athlete?

Guys who have not done any research on their own and have no idea what they are looking for.  I need guys who are self-starters.  Carleton is one of the most challenging colleges in the country and our guys have to be able to balance academics and athletics.  If the academic part of the college search is not a priority, they will not be a good fit.

8. What do you think your program is the most successful at?

Giving our players a great college experience. Our guys compete and have fun.

9. Why should a recruit consider your program?

Unique opportunity to play for a competitive program while getting the best college education in the world.

10. If a recruit is interested in your program, how should they reach out to you?

Email me and fill out our online questionnaire:

I will also want a skills video and a copy of their transcript.

About the author
Aaron Sorenson