Thomas Otero just finished his second season as Head Coach of Southern Vermont. He has led the team to two tournament appearances in as many years of the team’s existence. Coach Otero was named NECC Coach of the Year and he also coached the NECC Player of the Year this year. Coach Otero has been coaching for forty years and worked as an educator for thirty.
1. What advice do you have for players interested in DIII schools?
You have to pick a school that you want to go to for your educational choices first and then your athletic choices second. You have to research the schools that you want while gaining the most information possible by talking to current students at those universities.
2. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
We’re a small school and mostly regional in the northeast area. We also get some people from Florida and California as well because of the lack of small, DIII schools in those areas. Personal emails also do a lot because it shows true interest. Filling out the recruit me questionnaire continues to show interest and phone calls are great as well.
3. What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
I want the athlete who is dedicated, has great work ethic, and will push themselves to be a good student, a good person, and a good lacrosse player. Sometimes that person is the raw athlete and sometimes it’s the seasoned athlete that I can teach new things in order for them to become a better athlete.
4. What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?
Number one—STICK SKILLS!! Wall ball is the best. If you can do 15 minutes of wall ball everyday then your stick skills will dramatically increase. You must be ambidextrous at the collegiate level to bring your game to the next level. The game of lacrosse is highly technical and stick skills are at the center of that.
5. How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?
Being a small school, sometimes we get pushed out into the fringe. There’s a lot of push right now to modify the recruiting profile and I think that is most likely on the horizon.
6. Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?
This is a big decision for the athlete. Go and see the schools! Experience them! Look at class size and location. They need to ask themselves, “Are they going to be happy here if they don’t have lacrosse in their life?” And if the answer to that question is yes, then that school most likely is a great fit. It should not be a snap decision, it should be timely with a lot of thought process.
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