On Tuesday, we celebrated the end of the recruiting dead period. For the first time in 14-months, programs around the country are allowed to host recruits on campus, as well as travel to visit them in-person. It’s a milestone moment for WSU head coach Nick Rolovich and his staff, who stepped into their roles in Pullman just two months before the restrictions were put in place.
For weeks, WSU twitter accounts have been counting down to the end of the dead period. People associated with the program have taken to social media to post about recruiting travel plans, various camp plans and even made throwback GIFs combining the two topics. But, on Tuesday, the big day finally arrived, and Coach Rolovich celebrated as only he could.
I know who you are. I know what you’re looking for in a school. If you’re looking for ransom, I must tell you that I follow compliance. We don’t have a big city, but what we do have is a particular set of values and a culture that has been developed over many years. A culture that makes us a nightmare for schools across the country. If you don’t want to join us on the Palouse, that will be the end of it. I will not recruit you. I will not pursue you. But if you do, I will find you and I will offer you.
In the past Rolovich has been known for his sense of humor. We’ve seen hints of it during his time in Pullman, most notably the team’s water balloon fight after their spring game. But there was more than a hint during his time at Hawaii. From dressing up as a clown for the team’s spring game to hiring an Elvis impersonator to accompany him to Mountain West Media Day, Coach Rolo pulled out all of the stops on the island. However, thanks to the pandemic, he hasn’t had the chance to let his personality shine on the Palouse.
The dead period limitations have likely hurt WSU more than most programs. It’s harder to sell a small town like Pullman sight unseen compared to a known commodity like conference foes in Seattle, Tempe or LA.
“We’re no longer recruiting blind,” WSU Recruiting Coordinator John Richardson told the Spokesman Review. “It was a unique year this year. We took all these guys without seeing them, without getting to meet them face to face, which is unique. We all know the importance of in-home visits... Getting out to all these different places that we have plans to do, is going to be great for us to see honest (evaluations) and in person. And these kids are excited to get out and compete as well at camps and stuff.”
The program has big plans this Summer now that recruiting restrictions have been lifted and, obviously, showcasing the unique personality of Rolovich, the coaching staff and the city of Pullman itself are going to play a big role. We’ll just have to wait and see how successful that plan will be.
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Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Leon Burtnett. We coached together at both WSU and Montana. He was a great coach, and a loyal friend. One of the most unique and entertaining people I’ve ever met. He seemingly knew everybody. I will sure miss him.— Rob Oviatt (@RobOviatt1) June 1, 2021