Fred Farrier on Networking and Managing your Career

One of the best tools for younger coaches at the convention is the first-timer’s meeting. The presentation is full of useful information, not just about the convention, but on the coaching profession in general. This past convention in Indianapolis was not my first, but I wanted to attend the first-timer’s meeting again because I had been so impressed with Coach Fred Farrier and what he had to say the year before in Nashville. Read on to get some great advice on networking and creating a positive impression with potential employers.

Fred Farrier

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

First-Timer’s Meeting

– What are you trying to get accomplished here at the AFCA?

  • Some guys are on vacation – They’ve got their big checks from the bowl game and they’re looking forward to a couple of days off and partying with friends.
  • Some guys are looking for a better job They’re here on business and are busy passing out resumes.
  • Some guys have just been fired They’ve got a few months left on their contract, and after that, they may not have a way to pay the bills, so they’re also looking for a job.
  • Some guys are GA’s and are also on vacation –  They’re not necessarily worried about getting a job just yet.
Coach Farrier is one the left in this photo.

Coach Farrier is on the left in this photo.

 

– “My advice to you is to have a plan.” This is the only time a year where you’ll have 5-6,000 coaches together in the same place. If you’ve got questions about anything, football coaches love to talk. Most of the guys here are very approachable. Every time you meet someone, that guy is a potential introduction to an interview.

– Coach Farrier got a job in 2004 based on who he met at a previous convention, and how he was perceived.

– In this business, perception is reality. You are a representative of the head coach and what he believes in, so you’ve gotta be aware of how you carry yourself, how you dress, how you talk. “Do you want to be the guy who’s seen walking into the hotel with two cases of beer under your arm?” There’s nothing wrong with going out and having a beer at the convention, just be careful of how you’re perceived. You don’t want to be seen as the beer guy, the party guy.

– If you want to work in the SEC, watch how those guys dress and carry themselves. Just like any other type of professional situation, when in Rome. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

– If a head coach is going to hire you, he has to envision how you’ll look walking into a home visit with the recruit and his parents.

– This is a professional development opportunity. You can’t pay to get all these guys in one place to talk about what they do and how they build their program. This is a huge networking opportunity. Coaching football is a great profession.

– Just because you’re a WR coach, don’t be afraid to go listen to a D-Line presentation, DB presentation. Expand your knowledge base.

fred farrier

– (PDS) Professional Development Series

  • By attending enough seminars, you can get a PDS Certificate that you can give your head coach or athletic director so that he knows you’re not just having a good time at the convention. Can also be something useful to put on your resume.

– If you go to 10 presentations and get two things from each of the speakers, that’s 20 things to help you and your program to get better. That can be the difference between 3-8 and 8-3

– Participate in the luncheons and FCA breakfasts, those cost a little bit of money to attend, but they can be great investments

  • Going to a luncheon or a breakfast can get you at the same table as one of the “big time” guys. You’ll get a lot more face time with that coach than you would anywhere else. This is especially true in the FCA Breakfasts early in the morning, since the coach will know you’re here to learn and weren’t out getting messed up the night before.
  • Getting a seat at the table with one of those guys can end up being like a mini-interview.

– Go to the Buzz Sessions. If you like, you can stay in one for the whole hour, or visit three different position coaches for 20 minutes each.

  • “Maximize your opportunities.”

– In social settings at the convention, you may get a chance to talk ball with someone you can make a connection with.

– The AFCA has provided grease boards and markers around the different areas of the convention so that you can stop and talk football, and draw things up if you’re in the middle of a conversation with a coach.

– TAKE NOTES:

  • Once you take the notes, go back through them
  • So many times, coaches just take notes and never look them again, putting them away forever. Revisit those notes next week, next year even. Put them in a place where you can pull them out and find them easily.

– Give away every business card you have. Get one card for each one you give away.

  • FOLLOW UP!!!
  • Give them a text, email, or a phone call. Coach Farrier says that he sends upwards of 250 texts every week to different coaches on his list. Says coaches have commented that they appreciate the texts they get each week.
    • Don’t send mass texts, find a way to personalize it, it will mean more. (“Good luck against…”
  • This gives you another “in” to work camps during the summer.

– Go around and meet with as many coaches at every position as possible. Compile a list of who you believe are the best coaches at each position.

  • If you become a HC, you’ll need an idea of who you’ll hire at each position. You want to be able to know who you’re hiring. You can always rely on the opinions of the people you trust, but it’s better if you know of the person yourself. Will Muschamp commented after losing a couple of coaches to other jobs that he always keeps an updated list of guys at each position that he wants to hire if he has to get someone.

– Working camps: It’s like a job interview. How you work the camp is how you’re going to be perceived. If you’re the guy showing up early, that’s how people will look at you.

– IT’S REALLY NOT ABOUT HOW GOOD YOU ARE – IT’S ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW.

– “When I was a HC, if I didn’t already have a guy in mind, I’d call a guy I trusted.”

  • When a coach calls a guy he trusts, he’s got about 4-5 seconds to think of a name to recommend. Make sure your name is the first name that comes to mind when he’s thinking of a qualified assistant.

– Find a way to establish that relationship however you can, talking in between sessions.

  • If you’re a college coach, you better get to know high school coaches for recruiting purposes. If you’re a high school coach, you’d better meet college coaches for the same reason.

– Make an effort to meet guys on both sides of the ball. Set up visits during spring ball with different coaches.

– Be aware of:

  • How you dress
  • How you meet people
    • Have social intelligence
    • Coach Farrier once had a guy who gave him a resume that was crumpled up and HAD MISSPELLED HIS OWN NAME. Think he hired him?
  • How you carry yourself

– A great way to make connections is to get involved in committees with the AFCA

– Be prepared at all times to give your info to people. Make it as easy as possible for a head coach to take your information

  • Coach Farrier recommends that you put your resume in an envelope with your name and number printed on the outside. This makes it easy to carry around (the coach can carry it around in his suit pocket, doesn’t have to carry it around in his hands all day). It also shows that you are prepared, and sets you apart.

– It’s important to hit the vendors at the convention. When you become a HC, you’d better know what kind of equipment and materials you want to purchase, what’s going to be best for your program. What kind of video system will you use?


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