HAGERSTOWN —The road to college for athletes is no longer lined with traditional mile markers.
It used to be that batting averages, points per game or yards per carry paved the way for sports stars.
Nowadays, one more percentage is carrying more and more weight. It’s called the grade point average.
The days of athletes dreaming to “Be Like Mike” and parents’ dreams of having it pay for an education and a lucrative future for their child-student-athlete have vastly changed over the last generation or so. In fact, there is a lot more work to hitting a home run than just hitting home runs.
A seminar to prepare parents and athletes for the recruiting road ahead — complete with all its bumps — will be held on Thursday at South Hagerstown High School. “Guiding the College-Bound Athlete” will be presented as part of “The Future Starts Now: College and Career Planning for K-12 Families,” a district-wide education fair presented by Washington County Public Schools.
The event will provide information and topics for every student — elementary, middle and high school — to educate and prepare them for opportunities and careers after graduation. It will feature members of the community speaking informally about the career paths they have chosen and the training and education they needed to succeed.
There will also be 15 information sessions, 30-minute programs geared to help families looking to make the next step to a college education. They will cover a range of information from financial planning to comparing college offerings and needs to finding a school that fits the student.
“Guiding the College-Bound Athlete,” a program designed by Rick Wire of Dynamite Sports, a Pennsylvania-based corporation, is one aspect of this part of education that gets overlooked.
“This seminar will provide families with information about the availability of athletic scholarships and the realities of the college recruiting process,” said Lori Parks-Murphy, Washington County Public Schools College Readiness Specialist.
“Many student-athletes who aspire to play at the college level are not as familiar with the ins and outs of academic requirements and eligibility as they need to be in order to pursue their goals.”
Wire, who returns to Washington County for the seminar after speaking here late last year at the request of Washington County Supervisor of Athletics Eric Michael, was one of those parents.
According to his press release, Wire found himself looking for answers when his then 8-year-old son, Coy, started talking about being a college football star. Wire hadn’t attended college himself and decided he had better start preparing for the future.
He questioned other parents who had been through the process, looking for pros and cons and ways to prepare financially.
In the end, Coy Wire earned his scholarship to play football at Stanford. He was eventually drafted to the NFL, by the Buffalo Bills in 2002.
Rick Wire, in turn, used his study to become a speaker and expert in college athletics and its recruiting process.
Wire created the Dynamite Sports Educational Recruiting System, which combines academic preparation and athletic training with marketing and recruiting strategies to navigate through the process.
The plan provides direction to high school athletes and parents, and staff development training and resources to high school coaches and counselors to help all parties make knowledgeable choices and decisions in college athletics and recruiting.
Wire will present his hour-long seminar at 6:15 and 7:35 p.m. in South Hagerstown’s auditorium. Interested participants are asked to come early, if possible, to receive a number of handouts and see a pre-program video.
For information about Dynamite Sports, go to www.dynamitesports.com.