WC coaches adapt to new recruiting restrictions

Weatherford College coaches are finding different ways to adapt to recruiting during the time of the pandemic.

While COVID-19 has sports shut down at the moment, the games will one day go on again. Thus, college coaches must continue to recruit athletes.

The recruiting circuit has taken a different approach this year, however, thanks again to the Coronavirus. Coaches, including those at Weatherford College, are finding athletes in other ways, including virtually.

“I could probably talk for an hour about that subject,” WC Head Baseball Coach Jeff Lightfoot said. “I will just say that it has not affected how much we are working at recruiting, but it has shuffled the deck somewhat.

“We have seen a wide range of players that thought they had a school and a scholarship secured that found themselves uncertain of the future. We have been focused on identifying those players and then seeing if they could potentially be a fit for our program.

“The virus has changed the landscape of college baseball. I am afraid that our game will be feeling the effects for years to come.”

Head Softball Coach Haylee Williams said events across the nation from which her program would normally recruit have pretty much all been rescheduled or canceled. She added that now that things have opened back up in Texas, they can get to some tournaments, such as one in Plano/Allen.

“We were unable to bring recruits on campus for a while, but we have since been given the green light,” she said. “We follow social distancing rules when bringing anyone on campus. It’s definitely been a challenge but we are adapting and up to that challenge.”

Head Rodeo Coach Johnny Emmons said COVID-19 did not have much effect on recruiting as he had the majority of his done by the end of March. It did, however, bring their season to a sudden end, just as it did baseball and softball.

The National Junior College Athletic Association and National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association both granted an extra year of eligibility to athletes in spring sports, so any player on WC’s baseball, softball and rodeo rosters can return next season.

The Coyotes and Lady Coyotes basketball programs, however, ended their seasons before COVID-19 hit, so sophomores on those rosters are not eligible to return next season. Both of those teams featured some strong youth, though.

“We’ve got a great campus, and when we couldn’t bring kids on it hurt us,” Coyotes Head Coach Mark Osina said. “The biggest selling points we have are the city and the campus.

“We like to bring players in and let them play against ours. And, of course, we can’t. Still, we’ve been able to get a few good players to add to our program, and we have a good group coming back.”

Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Bob McKinley said, “You can’t go see them either. We could do a video and show them the campus, but it’s not the same. We just needed a few (players) and we signed some early.

“But it’s not like other programs have an advantage. Everybody’s been in the same boat. We just have to get through this together.”

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