Dear Media Colleague,

Laurie Richter is a Mom who didn’t expect to become an author or an expert. When her son Dylan told her he wanted to play his sport (basketball) in college, Laurie did what most Moms would do … she began searching for information about how to go about getting her son recruited. Nothing she found was what she needed.

Laurie’s background is in market research. She worked ten years for the Quaker Oats Company before striking out on her own with Consumer Voice, an agency she owned and operated for the next fourteen years and which specialized in focus group research with Fortune 100 clients.

“I talked to consumers all over the country about every imaginable topic,” Laurie says. “I think I have a pretty good sense of the range of attitudes and value systems that are out there.”

Indeed, Laurie had tackled all kinds of assignments, but it was as a parent that she faced her most challenging research project: figuring out the complex and mysterious world of athletic recruiting. She put all of her findings into a book titled “Put Me In, Coach: A Parent’s Guide to Winning the Game of College Recruiting.”

In her book, Laurie lets readers know that student-athletes will have a better college experience—academic and athletic—if parents do a good job upfront of realistically assessing their skills and target their search accordingly. Too often egos get in the way. Parents would be well served to rid themselves of any pre-conceived notions about which programs are “worthy” of their child and which aren’t.

In a section on parent expectations she writes, “One issue some kids deal with is parent expectations that can’t possibly be met. Perfect grades. First string starting spot. These are the baby boomer parents parading their ‘trophy kids.’ Give them a break. They don’t’ have to be the best and brightest to have a great experience, learn from it, and still become a fully functioning member of adult society.”

And likely the most controversial question: Can college coaches determine your child’s admission to the school? Laurie says, “First, understand that as a prospective recruit/parent, a coach is obligated to tell you that admissions decisions are made in the admissions office, not in the athletic office. This is mostly true, but some coaches have more influence over admissions than others. … Since you won’t know which schools operate by which rules, you should ask. If a coach tells you that s/he can’t guarantee your child admission, they mean it. Protect yourself by not putting all your eggs in one basket.”

Laurie’s kitchen table advice and no-nonsense approach is a refreshing look at the often exploitative way in which parents and their kids are introduced to the recruiting process.

We would like to interest you in doing a feature article on Laurie and what specifically she discovered to help other parents and their student-athletes navigate the college sports recruiting process:

• Identify the colleges that are an ideal fit
• Get financial aid from any school, even though that don’t offer athletic scholarships
• Market your child so coaches take notice
• Understand recruiting from the coaches point of view
• Make the right impression and get the most out of campus visits

You can learn more about Laurie and her book at her website:

Laurie has already been interviewed in depth for several important stories in the suburban Chicago media market and is in demand for speaking engagements.

Incidentally, her story has a happy ending. Her son Dylan is attending classes and shooting hoops at Washington University in St. Louis.

Laurie is available for an interview and we’d be happy to help coordinate. Feel free to email us with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.


Gail Kearns
To Press and Beyond