Talking up their signees puts college coaches on the spot


What do Cameron Leflar, Leah Blackburn, Joshua Murphy, Katelin Marie Thompson, Dewayne Buggs, Luke Matthews, Curtis Dick, Gabe Leatherman, Ethan Burgess, Daniel Hann, David Simmet, Nicholas Ouzounis, David Ewert, Caylan Blythe Thompson and Emily Post have in common?

Chances are you have no idea unless you are related to one of them, you’re a Tabor College coach or you follow Tabor’s Web site for information on student-athletes who have been recruited to join one of the Bluejays’ athletic teams.

This is one of many times I’m glad that I’m not a coach. When a recruit signs, coaches are expected to give an obligatory quote that shows how pleased they are to have received a commitment from the student-athlete. How many ways can you say, “John Doe is a very good student and we expect him to contribute to our program?”

Not only that, but a coach wants to show how happy he or she is to have the student-athlete join the program without raising unrealistic expectations or making any promises of playing time. You rarely hear a coach say, “Mary Doe should step in and start right away. In fact, I expect her to be the KCAC newcomer of the year.

Or, “We’re fortunate to have John on our team. With his talent, we should be a strong contender for a KCAC champion­ship and he might make me coach of the year.”

Believe me. I mean no disrespect to coaches who made the following quotes. In fact, if you’re a Bluejay fan, it’s hard not to be encouraged and have some hope going into this year.

In talking about Cameron Leflar, baseball coach Mark Standiford said, “Cameron will be a two-way player for us next season. He can play both corners and has the potential to put up some big power numbers.

“Cameron will also bring us some depth on the mound both as a starter and out of the bullpen. He is a very good student and I look for him to be a big contributor next season and the years to follow.”

It would be interesting to hear how Standiford learned of Leflar, who attended high school in Edmonton, Alberta.

Dewayne Buggs, from Houston, Texas, signed to play football at Tabor. Football coach Mike Gottsch had this to say about Buggs: “Dewayne will bring a very physical style of play to our defense next season. He possesses keen linebacker instincts and will be a pleasure to have on our team.”

Some Bluejay coaches either chose not to give quotes or their quotes weren’t used. The Web site merely indicated the athletes would bring good size and athleticism to the team, or touted thei rhigh school success.

It should be fun to watch Tabor College volleyball with former Hillsboro High School standout Tina Frick on the team. The 6-foot, 2-inch, middle blocker should get ample playing time at Tabor after transferring from Wichita State University.

My hunch is that having practiced against a lot of talented athletes at WSU, she’ll perform at a high level for Tabor.

The Sideline Slants award for best signee for Tabor’s athletic department goes to volleyball coach Amy Ratzlaff. I have no idea how good a player Paige will be, although I read that she’s a 5-7 libero and setter from Mansfield Legacy H.S. in Mansfield, Texas.

The reason she’s a great signee isn’t because she helped lead her team to a district title with a 14-0 record and a district title, or the fact she was selected by her district as Defensive Player of the Year.

No, the reason Paige is such a great recruit is because of her last name: Tabor.


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