ACC Recruiting Tip: How To Tell College Coaches You’re Not Interested

by SwimSwam 7

November 10th, 2015 College, College Recruiting, News

Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on college swimming and the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). ACC is a SwimSwam Partner.

Having to tell college coaches that you are not interested in their program and school is a nice problem to have, but it is a problem.

For a teenager, having to tell respected adults who have shown great interest in you that their program is not for you is cause for much consternation. This can be one of the most distasteful parts of recruiting for the recruit and the college coach.

  • Keep all of your options open, but if you are absolutely sure that you are not interested in a school, let the coach know right away.
  • Handle it with class.
  • Be sincere and show respect for the coach and program.
  • Keep it short.
  • Coaches are rejected by recruits every year; most will appreciate your honesty.
  • Most coaches will be glad that you informed them of your lack of interest so that they don’t waste their time.
  • Some coaches will ask why you are not interested. Give them sincere and honest answers.
  • Don’t make your parents do your “dirty work”. You will lose the coach’s respect if you try to pass the buck.

Here is an example of how to tactfully let a college coach know you are not interested. If you do it right, the rejected coach will have even more respect for you and you will have gained another fan and supporter.


Dear Coach _______,

I am honored that you think I could compete for your team. I have completed the difficult task of narrowing down my list of schools. Because I have such great respect for you and your program, I feel I must inform you now that I am looking elsewhere to go to school and compete. Thanks for your sincere interest. I wish you and your team much success and I hope we can remain friends.


Don’t copy this word for word. Put it into your own words and send it to coaches as soon as you are sure you are not interested.

This is not fun, but suck it up and get it done. Pat yourself on the back…it is a nice problem to have.

College Swimming News is courtesy of ACC, a SwimSwam partner. Go here and learn more about ACC and their team of college swimming experts.

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Swim Parent
5 years ago

What are your thoughts on emailing vs. calling with this news? If a swimmer has taken an official visit, it seems impersonal (and maybe a little wimpy) to communicate via email.

Reply to  Swim Parent
5 years ago

As a college coach, I truly don’t care how they communicate it, just as long as they do. Nothing is more annoying then wasting my time texting, emailing or calling with no response. Email may seem impersonal, but no communication is disrespectful.

Swim Parent
Reply to  CollegeCoach
5 years ago

I agree, no communication IS disrespectful, and coaches have an equal obligation to communicate with recruits when they are no longer interested. Silence on either side can be frustrating. It would be interesting to hear from coaches on their reasons for silence after an official visit. What does this mean for the recruit? Were they black-balled on the trip? Is the coach waiting to hear from other recruits first? I’m curious…..

Rick Paine
Reply to  Swim Parent
5 years ago

Good questions Swim Parent. We instruct our swimmers to let coaches know right away if they are not interested. If the coach has called, then they deserve a phone call, if they have only emailed them the recruit can just email them back. We remind the kids that they should feel honored that any college coach would contact them. In today’s world, communication has become has become very impersonal for the kids so most of them have a very hard time telling an adult that they are not interested in their program. They often procrastinate. As a former college coach and recruiting coordinator I agree with COLLEGECOACH that it is much better to find out if a kid is not… Read more »

5 years ago

“I hope we can remain friends.”
Is this a recruiting email or a break-up? 🙂

5 years ago

My daughter contacted a coach via email. He had been emailing and texting. She politely explained that that school didn’t offer the major she was looking for, and thanked him. He responded thanking her for letting him know, wished her well and said if she changed her mind to let him know. Very classy on both ends.