By Brian D. Stanchak

As a former Division I Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach and collegiate Director of Athletics, and now an agent for women’s college basketball coaches, I think back to my college coaching and administration days in viewing how I work with and assist the coaches that I represent. Having once walked in their shoes, I understand the personal sacrifices they make on a daily basis and work they put into their profession to be successful. Those are some of the reasons I can honestly say that I am sincerely invested my clients. It is my reason for pure joy when they obtain a highly coveted position they’ve worked so hard for or an new contract that enhances their professional stability and why I hurt so bad when they are facing a negatively challenging time in their career. I want to do everything I can to help them maximize their professional opportunities, work through issues with the comfort in knowing someone is supporting them, and ensure they are being compensated fairly and protected within their contract.

My focus on working with basketball coaches goes beyond the scope of when openings are present from March until July. My focus is on basketball coaches 365 days a year, not just during the hiring season. I feel, in addition to working with outstanding coaches, a reason for the success of the agency has been focusing on a niche area and not being spread throughout multiple sports. Many people ask me what I do in the off-season, but the truth is, I don’t have an off-season. I am always working for my clients when they don’t have time to. I want to do all I can to help my clients, which means working for them even when they don’t know that I am. That could entail doing anything from networking with administrators to marketing them to search firms to organizing the Head Coach Training Center.

I put into my clients what I would want from an agent if I were still that Assistant Coach at Seton Hall University and I had an agent. I’ve learned a successful agent and client relationship involves a willingness to communicate from both sides to ensure that there is an open line of communication, a strong relationship is developed, and both parties are on the same page. There is obviously a cost associated with working with an agent, but I feel confident that the cost is minimal compared to working with a qualified agent who will provide help and support in advancing, navigating, and maximizing your career with much more confidence and less worry.

August is a perfect time to evaluate your career and determine what your short and long-term goals are professionally and financially. As you do so, here are a few, of many, basic questions you may want to answer to determine if working with a qualified agent can help you reach your goals, or at minimum, maximize all aspects of your career without ever wondering “what if?”

Career Counsel and Sounding Board: 

  • Have you faced issues with a student-athlete, coaching staff member, or administrator that you’d have liked help working through with an unbiased expert from outside your program, department, and/or University?
  • Do you feel comfortable being aware that your Director of Athletics knows that you don’t have expert outside support, while their men’s basketball and football coaches most likely are working with an agent?
  • Do you have the necessary contacts with legal and financial advising experts who regularly work with coaches to immediately assist you, if necessary?

Professional Development & Marketing:

  • Do you know if your resume and cover letter are organized and visually appealing to perspective employers and do you have time to make sure it is? 
  • Do you regularly communicate with administrators and search firms to help expand their awareness of you and your success, well before they or one of their colleagues may have an opening?
  • Do you have the necessary relationships with search firms who are becoming more and more prevalent in women’s basketball coach hires?

Job Placement Support:

  • Does your employment contract prevent you from pursuing other positions without first receiving written approval from your President or Director of Athletics?
  • If so, do you feel confident enough to ask for permission from your President or Director of Athletics to pursue another position without first knowing if there is a mutual interest from the other University?
  • Do you have the time to gather information on a desired position and determine who the influential decision makers will be?
  • Do you want someone to speak to one of these decision makers on your behalf when you are not able to or they are not willing to speak with a coach early in the process?
  • Do you feel comfortable enough to put yourself out there for a position without knowing if you are a fit for what that University is looking for?

Interview Preparation:

  • Do you have time to gather information on the position you are interviewing for?
  • Do you know if your interview portfolio organized and visually appealing to perspective employers and do you have time to get it so? 

Contract Advising and Negotiations:

  • Do you have access to all supporting data to justify changes to compensation offered?
  • Are you aware of what other coaches at your University receive in their contracts?
  • Do you know what types of additional compensation can be asked for?
  • Do you understand all of the intricate, unique language in your contract that you could be overlooking, but could be very important?
  • Do you know what is the best case scenario if you were to leave your position or terminated without cause?
  • Do you know how to prevent being terminated for a minor issue?
  • Do you feel comfortable to ask for more?

While a coach may not need assistance with all of the areas above in a single-year, remember that accomplishing professional goals is a continuous, long-term process.