Eric Fekete has seen the recruiting process from a number of different angles.
A Duxbury, Mass., native, he coached at Duxbury High School in the mid-1990s before moving on to the college game, including 18 seasons as the head coach at Quinnipiac University.
Now, he just finished his second year as a history teacher and the head lacrosse coach at Avon Old Farms, which annually sends its best players to some of the top Division 1 programs in the country.
Fekete joined host Jack Piatelli on “New England Lacrosse Journal’s Chasing The Goal” to give insight from a professional life spent on both sides of the recruiting process.
The full podcast can be accessed below.
Jack Piatelli: You’re on the other side of the fence for recruiting now. Give us a sense of what it was like, at the Division 1 level at Quinnipiac and the differences now at Avon.
Eric Fekete: I had a really strong senior class at Avon, one going to Loyola (Michael Callahan), one going to Syracuse (Jack Fine), one going to Michigan (Ryan Cohen), one going to Yale (Leo Johnson). Then I have a lot of ‘22s who are committed. I had a conversation with those guys after practice one day and we were talking about the college experience, and I was like, “Look, I’m going to tell you guys the truth about all these showcases and clubs and ratings and rankings: No matter what your rankings are or where you go, the coaches on the player want to know this: Are you going to help us win or not? That comes down to on the field and off the field. Are you going to do the work? Are you going to stay out of trouble? Are you going to be on time? Those are the things that matter at that level.”
JP: For parents out there, and you’re a parent, what advice would you give them? A lot of them “live the dream” for their kids and want them to play at certain schools.
EF: I tell them to try to keep a perspective on everything. I think I still hold, maybe, the same perspectives I did as a college coach and I think all college coaches feel this way, to some degree: The direction of summer lacrosse and those things has helped skills. The challenge for parents, and I don’t even think it’s the financial investment — though there is a significant financial investment — is that parents commit so much time to it. Some parents will give up every weekend of the summer from June to August, and stretch it out to go to these events. Unknowingly or unwittingly, it’s that time commitment that gets them so hooked into the process. It’s a subliminal thing. They think, “We’ve invested so much time in this and there has to be something on the back end.”
JP: You compete in the Founders League. It seems to me like more and more players from all over the country are looking at the league to get a good education and compete at a high level. How competitive is it now versus 10 years ago?
EF: There’s a lot of pieces that have evolved. The game’s evolved in 10 years, the amount of kids that play and the amount of kids that want to play in college. But the Founders League is unique because it’s super-competitive in lacrosse. I think the (Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association) and the Founders League are probably the two most competitive conferences. I was thinking about that the other day: What a great matchup that would be to take the top four (teams) in the Founders League and top four in the MIAA and watch them play.
JP: How many boys do you have participating in the lacrosse program at Avon?
EF: Overall, all together, 140 or something like that. Quite a few. It’s nice because we cover all areas for kids who are developing. We had two freshmen on the varsity team this year but you have a lot of developmental guys. The JV team, in particular, there are a lot of good players on that path who are going to end up on our (varsity) team.
Kids have to play three sports. That’s the Founders League and Avon, people want you to be as diverse as possible.