How to Tell College Coaches That You’re not Interested

  9 SwimSwam Partner Content | February 12th, 2017 | College, College Recruiting, Training

Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on 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. Let them know that you are honored that they want you to swim for them.
  • If a coach has spoken with you on the phone, they deserve a phone call. If you have been communicating with a coach via email, then you can email them
  • 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.


Finding out if you have what it takes to compete in swimming at the college level is easy, and many swimmers do have the potential considering all of the options. Go to and submit a Free Profile.


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9 Comments on "How to Tell College Coaches That You’re not Interested"

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I completely disagree. I have talked to sixty years worth of recruits and know various college coaches around the country, in D1, D2, and D3. There is a general consensus that the best, most polite way to tell a coach you aren’t interested is just to block the phone number and email of the whole coaching staff. That way they can’t contact you anymore and can’t recruit you. Also when they realize they are blocked they will know right away you aren’t interested. To any recruits reading- this is the best way.

I’m not sure what “sixty years worth of recruits” actually means, but I can whole-heartedly disagree with your advice. My kids have/are going through the recruiting process. They never had a coach continue to call or contact them after being told no. They don’t have the time to waste. How you handle this situation speaks volumes about your character. To simply block a number or an email after having already interacted with the coach, in my opinion as an adult, parent and coach, shows a lack of class and maturity.

Thanks Coach, you are right on the money. We encourage all the kids we work with to feel honored that any college coach would want you to swim for them. We also want them to leave the door open to transferring in case the first school doesn’t work out. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of young people who won’t understand what you mean by “character” and class.. We don’t accept these type of swimmers into our program.

I am in the recruiting process right now, and I tell D3 and D2 coaches that I am only interested in swimming for a D1 school… but they keep sending me emails! Hahaha, I guess that I just have to block them.

Chocolate cobbler

This is 100% accurate. My grandson did this and actually received increased scholarship offers from the coaches he blocked. The respected his tactics and boldness.

A proportionate response. If a recruiting call has been made, then a call is merited. If the recruitment is only by email, then that is a merited response. If a head coach has made contact, then the head coach should get the news. Not a bad idea to tell an asst coach ALSO if a relationship has been created. How the prospect handles this situation speaks of their character. Same is said of the coach.

Worst part of recruiting is barfing after drinking too much on recruiting weekends.


Respect man, Respect.