Coach Jack Daniels talks High School recruiting

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Jack Daniels doesn’t envy Brian Shrader.

A renowned cross country guru, Daniels has been through the college recruiting process on multiple fronts.

And as a result, he’s well aware of the rigors Shrader will face this fall.

“I’ve coached college for about 45 years, so I’ve done a lot of recruiting and I’ve talked to a lot of high school kids,” said Daniels, a Flagstaff resident. “It takes a real toll, probably mentally more than anything else.

“It’s really tough,” he added. “It’s almost like you’re better off being not quite so good.”

In the arena of prep running, however, Shrader is as good as they come.

He’s coming off his second straight state cross country championship and an 11th-place showing at Foot Locker Nationals last season as a junior. Nine of the 10 runners who finished ahead of Shrader at Foot Locker were seniors.

Shrader will take his first official recruiting visit this weekend when he travels to the University of Texas. He’ll be on the Austin campus from Friday through Sunday, and will take in the Texas- Texas Tech football game Saturday evening.

“I can’t wear red to the game, that’s for sure,” quipped Shrader, who will use his other two official visits to check out the University of North Carolina and the University of Oregon later this fall.

Ironically, Daniels coached at Texas for 10 years and also worked with Nike in Eugene, Ore., near the Oregon campus.

The former Olympic medal winner said he hadn’t spoken with Shrader about colleges, but expressed confidence that the Sinagua standout was on the right track.

“You really have that long-range goal of wanting to be a runner beyond college. From what I know of Brian, I think he probably has that determination,” Daniels said.

“Too many good high school runners want to run well in high school so they can get a scholarship to go to college. And once they do that, then they don’t continue to pursue running with the same enthusiasm,” he added. “I don0’t think Brian is that kind. I think he wants to be a runner; that’s a leg up on a heck of a lot of other kids.”

Daniels noted the most important aspect of the process is choosing a school and locale that fits the athlete’s personality and academic pursuits.

“He’s going to have to be happy where he is,” Daniels said. “Number one, hopefully he’ll pick a place that he can study what he wants to study. I always tell high school kids there are four places you can go to run: you can go to a big school in a big city, a big school in a small city, a small school in a big city, or a small school in a small town.

“Those are all considerations, and that all depends on his personality. What kind of environment does he want to be in? What kind of weather does he want to be in? Another issue is how far from home does he want to go to school?”

Daniels also noted that sometimes it’s difficult to get a good feel for a school on an official visit, “because everybody that has you come on campus to visit is going to lay out the red carpet for you.”

All it all up, and it’s no wonder why Daniels doesn’t envy Shrader at this point. But, like most members of the local running community, the man Runner’s World magazine proclaimed as the “World’s Best Coach” is eager to see where Shrader ends up.

“It’s kind of neat,” said Daniels, who attends most of the local high school meets.

“The only certainty for Brian right now is that he’s going to get good offers, and he’s probably going to end up at a good school.”

Rory Faust can be reached at rfaust@azdailysun.com or 556- 2257.

Posted in Sports on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:00 pm

About runfaraz

I am a guy who loves to run marathons, and has been gifted with exceptionally slow genes which makes for mid pack finishes in races. If I don't run I become an unbalanced manic fool, so yes...running is my prozac. I believe that the key to a happy productive life is balance. Balance in all areas of your life. If one area is out of balance, all others go out of balance. Come back often as I love to see the hit counter go up!!! View all posts by runfaraz

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