Eagles recruit recruiter from within
Chelsea Lyles was named FGCU women’s basketball’s new recruiting coordinator in July after serving as an assistant coach for the team since 2011.
Head coach Karl Smesko appointed Lyles after Abby Scharlow resigned in April. Knowing her first as a student-athlete and then as an assistant, Smesko knew she was right for the job.
“Chelsea is very good with people, and she played at FGCU and knows the university and our basketball program inside and out,” Smesko said. “She really has a passion for the recruiting portion of coaching. It became a natural progression of her into that role once it became available.”
Her new responsibilities as recruiting coordinator involve working efficiently with the other coaches to ensure that FGCU keeps bringing in the talent to ensure the program keeps going in the right direction.
“She has a very important job,” Smesko said. “We as a staff share recruiting responsibilities, but Chelsea’s ultimately responsible for making sure everything is organized and making sure that we are doing all the necessary things to bring in the quality of talent to ensure our continued success.”
Lyles said that her new responsibilities as recruiting coordinator aren’t that much different from her old ones as assistant coach. However, the job of bringing in players to compete is vital to the basketball program.
“Recruiting is probably the most important part of this industry,” Lyles said. “Getting players that fit your system and fit your program, that is what we are trying to do when we are out recruiting. We are looking for kids that will fit Coach Smesko’s system and will work hard…Once you get those kids in, you know Smesko is going to do his part as far as getting them ready for competition.”
Having played basketball at FGCU from 2008-2010, Lyles knows how Coach Smesko’s system works. She was FGCU’s first two-time Atlantic Sun All-Conference first-team selection and won FGCU’s Most Outstanding Female Student-Athlete Award for the 2009-2010 season. She is also in the top-10 for 10 statistical categories in FGCU’s record books.
Her experience as a student-athlete not only familiarized her with the basketball program but the school as a whole.
“It is easy for me to call up a kid and talk FGCU with them because I’ve been here. I’ve played for Coach Smesko, and I went to school on campus and lived in the dorms,” Lyles said. “A lot of girls are far away from home, and I came from Colorado. I can relate to a lot of the kids that we recruit, and I think that is what helps me probably the most.”
The new position also gives Lyles the opportunity to put FGCU’s women’s basketball team on social media sites to reach potential recruits.
“A lot of kids are into social media, and I’m trying to get women’s basketball on Instagram with pictures of the campus and just trying to sell it that way,” Lyles said. “It is really a business if you think about it as far as marketing something and trying to get people to buy into it and want to come to be a part of it.”
With the team coming off of a run in the NCAA tournament last season, Lyles’ goal as the new recruiting coordinator is to continue the team’s success.
“Coach Smesko has done a great job and assistants in the past have done a great job in getting players here and building a successful program,” Lyles said. “I just want to continue that and continue getting high-level caliber players to our program to give us a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament at a high level.”