Wallace Community College Selma’s Jeffery Mack is one of many local players the college has signed from the Selma-Dallas County area. Mack is the leading scorer on this season’s basketball team after leading Southside High School to the state championship game last year.--Daniel Evans
Wallace Community College Selma’s Jeffery Mack is one of many local players the college has signed from the Selma-Dallas County area. Mack is the leading scorer on this season’s basketball team after leading Southside High School to the state championship game last year.-- Daniel Evans

Recruiting close to home is key for Selma colleges

Published 11:29am Friday, December 13, 2013

For colleges in Selma, recruiting locally is an important way to keep attendance numbers high while still building winning programs.

Each college has its own obstacles to overcome and its own upside, which results in the recruiting process from each school being a little different.

The one thing all the colleges seem to agree on is that there is a lot of talent right here in Selma.

“We have talent in our backdoor and we don’t even have to go anywhere, Concordia College Alabama head football coach and athletic director Don Lee said. “It’s right in our backdoor — offensive lineman, running backs, wide receivers. We have talent right here in town.”

Lee said his school focused on having a coach at every Selma High School or Southside High School home game this season.

“Our goal is to have our face at every football game, every 7-on-7 and it lets the kids know we are there,” Lee said. “When you go in there and recruit a kid, you are selling a kid not just on the school but that they can trust me.”

Lee said focusing on local kids is a key cog to helping attendance numbers, while also bringing in players that can actually help strengthen the program.

“The big thing about signing people is we took a chance on a lot of local kids,” Lee said. “The reason you take chances on local kids is because they bring in people that can help the school out.”

Wallace Community College Selma’s assistant athletic director Albert Southall agrees that staying close to home is a good thing for the local players, because it allows their families to come see them play.

“Athletes like to play in front of a crowd so if we recruit the fellas from this area, the family as well as friends can come check them out and see them play,” Southall said. “That in turn will inspire the players to play better.”

Southall, who estimates he does 85 percent of the recruiting for Wallace’s basketball and volleyball teams, said the college has really done well recruiting players from Dallas County.

The Patriots have players on their rosters from Southside High School, Selma High School, Dallas County High School, Keith High School, R. C. Hatch High School and Maplesville High School.

He said when Wallace coaches do not have a game, they try to find a local game they can attend to scout some of the local talent.

As the only two-year college in the area, Wallace has another element to its recruiting. The Patriots help their athletes get on with four-year colleges, so keeping a good relationship with Concordia and Selma University are important.

While Southall does a lot of the recruiting for Wallace, Lee said Concordia officials recruit general students and do not just focus on sports.

“The good thing about Concordia is we help each other out,” Lee said. “We bring in general students. We bring in sports. We don’t just tie ourselves just into sports.”

He said the key to recruiting is to tell players what the college is really all about.

“Recruiting is easy,” Lee said. “The part you have to do is tell the truth. Tell them who you really are.”

When players visit Concordia, Lee said he shows them exactly what it’ll be like if they decide to attend the school.

“We don’t roll out a red carpet,” Lee said. “We tell them who we are so there won’t be any surprises when they come in.”

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