Recruiting Insight with Greg Zecca and Mike Cleary of Ohio Valley

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We spoke with Ohio Valley (WV) head coach Greg Zecca and assistant Mike Cleary about their program and what they look for in recruits. Ohio Valley is a great example of a strong academic school where players can play lacrosse at a competitive level but more importantly, develop as men and position themselves for life beyond the field and classroom. Here is what they had to say about their program.

OVU plays in the ECAC-II, one of the top conferences in NCAA Division II, having sent a team to the championship game in two of the last three years. The ECAC-II also comprises ~50% of the DII championship tournament bracket in 2013. OVU plays against the best teams in Division II and have a competitive experience that is of the highest caliber.

Academically, OVU ranks in the top 20% in the south for baccalaureate schools and our graduation rate of 98% is outstanding. Our small class size coupled with a 10-1 student-to-faculty ratio, gives you an opportunity to personally connect with all of your professors and get the most out of your OVU academic experience.

​OVU is a Christian school, whose motto is…. For Learning, For Faith, For Life. Our Christian foundation sets us apart and allows us to view our interpersonal experiences in a clearer and community-centered light. While you do not have to be Christian to attend OVU, we do believe that those who have some spiritual foundation or at minimum are open to and accepting of those who do will experience the most success in our environment. It is our goal, during your four years as part of our family, to guide you through your development academically, athletically and spiritually.

What advice do you have for players interested in playing DII lacrosse?

Find the school that fits you best and start searching as early as possible. Make a good, solid, and well rounded decision not only for your future lacrosse career, but for your education as well. We believe at Ohio Valley University is a fantastic option for those wanting to play competitive college lacrosse while also receiving a top notch education, but we also know wethere are other options out there that could be better matches.

What’s a question you wished players asked you more during the recruiting process?

​We hope that recruits will ask ALL the questions they have. We want our recruits to be informed. They should ask about school size, classes, professors, facilities, coaching staff, food, dorm life, and anything related to Ohio Valley University and our community. At the end of our exchange we want our recruits to feel like they have been well informed about what we habe to offer.

What indications help you determine if a good high school player will be a great college player?

​It is hard to project greatness, as there are so many factors that play into it other than just raw talent. However, a key indicators for us that a guy will be a factor are his lacrosse IQ and confidence on the field. With as much as we are permitted to practice we have ample time to spend on developing physical skills of our players, that the guys that rise above are typically those who are just smarter players.

What’s special about being a student-athlete at OVU?

Like most schools we have a strong academic program with a wide variety of majors, caring professors and a warm community feel, but what truly makes OVU special is our commitment to developing you physically, mentally and spiritually. Our Christian foundation permeates every facet of school life and because of that our student-athletes have less distractions and are able to focus more on the things that will make them successful both in the classroom and on the field. That coupled with our substantially lower tuition rate and full allotment of athletic scholarships set us apart.

How has the accelerated recruiting process impacted your approach to recruiting?

It has forced us to be more educated, informed and knowledgeable about the guys that can help us win. We have to hit the road hard build good lists and reach out to guys meaningfully and frequently. It has also resulted in us developing a clear list of skill traits that we look for in each age group so that we can better project out how a player will be when he gets on our campus.

Final Thoughts on recruiting

​We are searching for players that can make an impact on our program and in our school community. For us it is not just about finding the best player, it is about finding the player that will benefit from the OVU experience and be the best fit for us. Young men that can play the game at a high level, have a solid academic profile and strong moral compass are the type of student-athlete we want at OVU.

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