College Recruiting 101 – How to Email College Coaches

Published on June 28, 2022

One of the most common first steps in the recruiting process is to send an introductory email to a prospective college coach. Emailing coaches helps to build recognition of your name and jumpstarts a conversation with a coach about how you would fit on their team and at their school.

Many schools have an organized recruiting process that they expect potential recruits to follow and Honest Game is here to help guide you on your journey.

When to Email a College Coach

Don’t wait for coaches to contact you. During sophomore year, student-athletes should begin making a starter list of potential colleges. It’s best to divide this into two lists: start with a list of schools where there is a possibility of competing, and create another list of schools where athletics are unlikely but the college or school still appeals to you.

Once the starter list of schools has been organized, you should fill out online questionnaires on college team sites (similar to those on the University of Connecticut prospective student-athlete site). After submitting an online questionnaire, you should email each college coach directly.

Recruits should not be discouraged if they don’t receive an immediate response or a direct phone call from coaches. Coaches receive hundreds of emails from recruits each year and when a coach is allowed to make direct contact depends on a student-athlete’s sport, age, and division level.

To help make sense of the often confusing calendars, Honest Game outlined the general recruiting calendar terms and timelines to help student-athletes and their families understand what to expect as they begin the recruiting process.

Honest Insight: Student-athletes should follow up their introductory emails with a phone call once their sport’s contact period begins.

Where to Find College Coaches’ Contact Info

During the recruiting process, the crucial first step is figuring out how to find college coaches’ emails and the best way is to begin with a quick Google search. Most schools will list their athletic staff directory, along with their contact information on the team website. You may also find additional information on the team’s roster page. The coaching staff profiles will likely be listed at the bottom of the player roster page, where you can find the coach’s bio, job title, and contact information.

Honest Insight: In order to prevent being flooded with thousands of emails from potential recruits, Head Coaches at major programs probably won’t have their email listed publicly online. If this is the case, you can email the Director of Recruiting or one of the Assistant Coaches to introduce yourself.

Critical Parts of an Introductory Email

Each email should start with personalization. As mentioned, coaches receive thousands of emails each year and several hundred are mass emails. Be sure to personalize the subject line (your name, high school graduation year, GPA, athletic stats, and position) and greeting (i.e. Dear Coach XXX) and include a couple of specific details about the program in the first sentence.

Keep the introductory emails brief and follow a three-paragraph structure. 

The first paragraph should grab the coach’s attention. You can use a stat about the team that is interesting to you or a specific reason why you would like to play from them.

Next, add one sentence in between the first and second paragraphs. It should reference that you have filled out the questionnaire on the website (include the date).

The second paragraph is crucial. It should include more information about yourself and show the coach why you would be a good fit for their program. Key information to include: 

  • General Info: Name, graduation year, high school and/or club name
  • Academics: Your current Honest Game’s CARE® eligibility report, which includes SAT/ACT test scores, high school coursework, GPA, and a clear outline of a student-athlete’s academic eligibility status
  • Athletics: Sport-specific stats and relevant measurables, as well as a link to your Hudl profile
  • Contact Information: Your phone number and email, as well as the contact information for your current coaches

The last paragraph provides a specific next step, such as letting the coach know you will be giving them a call at a specific date and time; or inviting them to come to see you in action with your upcoming competition schedule (high school season, club season, and future recruiting camps/showcases).

Before hitting send, make sure to review, edit, and review again! Make sure to run a spellcheck and read out loud for fluency. 

Still not sure if the email is error-free? Have your parents, coach, or counselor double-check the email. Make sure that your contact information is correct and that the hyperlinks to your Honest Game CARE® eligibility report and Hudl profile are live.

Sample Email to a College Coach

Subject Line: John Smith / Class of 2018 / Senior LH Pitcher / GPA: 4.0 / ACT: 32

Dear Coach Johnson,

I’m really impressed by your athletes’ dedication to both their athletics and academics. I noticed that you not only have a winning record, but you have set the school record for graduating the most athletes! As an aspiring college athlete, I am driven to excel both athletically and academically, and I believe I would be a great fit for your program.

My name is John Smith and I’m a left-handed pitcher with an 85-MPH fastball. My biggest asset is that I’m a team player who focuses both on the field and in the classroom. I’m currently in the top 5% of my class with a 4.0 GPA and a 32 ACT. Here is a link to my Honest Game CARE® eligibility report which shows that I am a full qualifier for initial eligibility for NCAA DI. You can view my Hudl profile for more information about my athletic qualifications, as well as my skills video.

I will be competing in an AAU tournament near you in XXX on DATE, with my first game at 1 p.m. CT. I would really appreciate it if you could see me compete. Can you please let me know if you have any availability to meet with me in person?

Thank you,

John Smith

Be Prepared for Follow Up

As discussed in “How to Leverage Your Academics When Communicating with Coaches”, preparation before your communication begins is key! You never know when a prospective coach might come calling. Having your recruiting materials in order and knowing what to expect when speaking with coaches can lead to greater success. Additionally, Honest Game’s blog on “How to Talk with College Coachesoffers insight on how to show your best self when talking with prospective schools and their coaching staff.

Have questions about the recruiting process or need help assembling your recruiting toolkit? Honest Game Counselors are here to help take the guesswork out of academic eligibility and are available to provide one-on-one assistance to support student-athletes in navigating post-secondary opportunities athletically and academically. Schedule a time to meet virtually with our experts

By Courtney Sakellaris, Honest Game Senior Manager – High School Success
A former High School Athletic Director with more than 14 years of experience, Courtney has guided thousands of student-athletes through the NCAA and NAIA college eligibility and athletic recruiting process.