This week's Brockport Stylus features an excellent article by Brandon Wood about assistant coach Nick Unger...
If you look at the statistics from last year’s massive recruiting class for the College at Brockport’s ice hockey program, it’s clear how much of an impact these players had in their first season. With 14 freshmen joining the team for the 2012-13 season, they made their presence felt throughout the year.
Last year’s freshmen can claim they scored more than half the teams goals, assists and points for the team last season.
Sophomore forward Jesse Facchini was 15th in the SUNYAC with 16 assists last season. Sophomore goalie Jared Lockhurst, who was also recruited heavily by SUNY Oswego, chose to come to Brockport and ended up being ranked sixth in goals against average, fourth in save percentage and was voted to the All-Rookie squad as Brockport’s starting goaltender.
Last year’s recruiting class was the first one that was brought in under Assistant Coach Nick Unger, who said he focuses heavily on recruiting for the program along with power play duties and working with the goalies and defense.
Unger also helped bring in more immediate contributors to current team, as freshman forward Jake Taylor leads Brockport in goals with four, and freshman forward Nick Marinac is tied for the team lead with nine points.
Unger said his prowess for recruiting comes from a similar position he held at Nichols College (Mass).
“I was successful [with my first couple of recruiting classes] because I came from a school (Nichols) where I was taught very, very well how to recruit,” Unger said. “I was at a school of 2,000 students with a rink about 30 minutes from campus. They have a very expensive school and there were a lot of hurdles to get across to build a winning team.”
He said his experience as head recruiter for Nichols helped prepare him for recruiting at Brockport and helped lead him to a successful start with his first recruiting class.
“They prepared me for some of the challenges you see in recruiting. You go from a situation where you can build a winner that ends up going 25-4 and in the NCAA tournament, winning championships. If you’re able to do that in an atmosphere like that, coming to Brockport where you have a great town and a great campus and a great rink, the school really sells itself from there.”
Unger said he thinks Brockport has many qualities about it that makes it easier to sell to potential recruits coming to campus. But what does an average visit to Brockport entail for potential players?
One of the more common visits for potential recruits entails an overnight visit, and Unger said he makes sure he shows potential recruits all the positive things there are at Brockport.
Unger said a recruiting visit starts in the SERC to provide a “wow factor.” Afterward, he introduces the players to the rink that he described as “a big selling point for [Brockport], because we have a really nice rink on campus.”
The rest of the day includes a tour of campus dining and other major features Brockport has to offer.
“Showing the campus is a big key [to recruiting] because we do have a really nice campus,” Unger said. “There are a lot of talking points along the way that you can help sell the recruit on. Especially when you talk to recruits on the phone, you get a sense of what they are looking for, so you can tailor your visit to suit those needs.”
After dinner in one of the campus dining halls, the recruits will attend a game later in the evening with his family and friends. Following that, the player is set up with other members of the team with who they spend the evening.
“We set [the recruit] up with a few of our guys for the night,” Unger said. “They can see what the living arrangements are like and meet more members of the team. We encourage them to ask questions, because these guys live it every single day. A lot of times, your players are your best recruiters, so we want to make sure [the recruits] get a chance to talk with some of them.”
Unger said he can’t stop with two solid recruiting classes, and it’s important to continue to build strong ones in the coming years as well.
“It’s going to be a process where you have to continue to build class after class after class just so that you are confident that every player on your team can really produce,” Unger said.
Unger, who has brought two strong recruiting classes that have made immediate impacts on the team, said he will continue to recruit more playmakers for the program and wants to have one of the deepest team’s in the SUNYAC.
“We’re really close right now; we really like the team we have,” Unger said. “We still have a young team, but we need to continue to build it every single year so that we’re all on the same page and we’re still building up that level of speed, skill and hockey sense. Every single year we want to be better as a team.”