The PG Year: Lars Tiffany Q&A
Empower the Athlete has been receiving a lot of questions lately about the “Post Graduate” (“PG”) Year. An extra year of high school is a big commitment, and private schools that take PGs are both challenging and financially costly. So the big question remains “is taking a PG Year a good idea for you?” Empower the Athlete left it to the experts to provide you with their own insight on this topic.
Q&A With Brown Head Coach Lars Tiffany
Lars Tiffany is in his 5th season as head coach of the Brown University Bears. Since arriving at Brown Coach Tiffany’s Bears have won two Ivy League Championships, one NCAA Tournament berth, and berth in the first ever Ivy League Tournament. Coach Tiffany ’90 was also a two time captain for then Head Coach Dom Starsia at Brown. Empower the Athlete was fortunate to have Coach Tiffany answer some questions from the recruiting perspective of a college coach about the PG Year.
- ETA: What are the instances where you recruit PGs? Are they players that slipped through the cracks? Late bloomers? Guys who just need to get their grades up?
LT: The PG year is ideal for students who need a year to develop physically and/or academically. Starting with the physical, I refer to the development of the athlete in terms of size and in terms of sport-specific skills. Maybe the student is undersized, but more often the PG prospect is a solid athlete who needs more playing experience and repetitions with the sport due to being newer to the game. As for the academic reason to pursue a PG year, we do see athletes who have a strong academic background but are deficient in one area that needs to be addressed such as a school subject area or standardized testing. We do recruit PGs.
- ETA: How do you view PGs differently from other recruits?
LT: Honestly I used to hold it against a PG prospect that they needed an extra year for the physical and/or academic development. But I have changed since coaching Todd Faiella, Steve Chmil and Reade Seligmann. Reade was not a PG, but I lump him in the same category for this reason: age. These men bring more experience, poise and perspective that are very beneficial for our program’s success.
- ETA: Do you ever refer players to a PG year when you would like to recruit them but don’t feel they are ready yet?
LT: I hesitate to do this. I do not want to be the reason a student decides to undertake an extra year of high school because I do not want to be “on the hook” for recruiting them in the future. The decision has to be one the student wants to do. If an extra year of high school is not what you want to do, then do not put yourself in a position where you will be unhappy. I have in the past tossed the idea to a prospect who has an injury during the summer and misses out on being seen, or to a prospect from an academically poor-performing high school who needs a stronger school to assist in the transition from high school to college, especially an Ivy University.
- ETA: How are they different when they come on campus from other incoming freshman? Are they more mature pysically? Mentally?
LT: I do see a difference in the PG recruit as opposed to the recruit direct from high school. There is a poise – they have been away from home and learned how to be more self-sufficient and reliant. They have managed their academic and athletic life on their own, done their own laundry, grown a year older both physically and socially.
- ETA: Any other opinions about the PG year? Pros and Cons?
LT: Academic reasons to PG: a poor start to the high school career (i.e. lower grades as a freshman) or a poor high school that has not prepared the student for college programs of studies. Physical reasons to PG: a year to grow, a year to improve your skills, an extra year to be evaluated and seen as a propect, a make-up year due to an injury.
- ETA: Any other advice for HS players on this topic or anything else?
LT: Simple advice: If an extra year of high school sounds like a good idea to the prospect, then do it. If more high school is not something the prospect is looking forward to, then do not do it.