When it comes to building a program, head coaches are, generally speaking, the people that get all the credit.
You hear about the success their career coaching record and you see infographics with how many NCAA tournaments they’ve reached. Their careers are valued on the merits of conference championships and how far they’ve gotten in the NCAA tournament. They are the face of their program.
But their role as CEO can only be done effectively if they have the right players in their program, which is why you see so many programs use one of their three assistant coaching positions on someone labeled as a ‘recruiter’.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman went published a list of the most feared recruiters in the country, based on a poll of more than 200 coaches.
No. 1 on that list? Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, who was joined by his Jayhawk counterpart Jerrance Howard, who checked in at No. 12. Duke, with Jeff Capel and Steve Wojciechowski making an appearance, was one of two other programs that managed to sneak two assistants onto the list.
San Diego State, as both Brian Dutcher and Jerome Hutson were ranked in the top 20.
And it makes some sense. The Aztecs have landed their fair share of talented recruits and transfers (Josh Davis) in recent years. Kawhi Leonard and Jamaal Franklin immediately come to mind, but Malcolm Thomas has been in and out of the NBA as well, and Dakarai Allen and Winston Shepard were both highly regarded recruits in their own right.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this list is that only one Kentucky assistant coach — Orlando Antigua — is listed, and he’s fifth despite the fact that the Wildcats are head and shoulders above the rest of the country when it comes to bringing in elite level talent. That should tell you a thing or two about just how good Coach Cal is as a recruiter; he doesn’t even need to lean on his assistants to do the heavy lifting.
His program sells itself.