College coaches work hard to attract elite athletes – ‘attract’ being the keyword. What about beautiful girls? Did you know that sweet, sultry and gorgeous girls are in the back pocket of head coaches across the country? Yep, that’s right. Some of the nation’s most storied football programs employ beautiful college co-eds to influence high school standouts to commit to their football teams – under the radar, of course.
Whether you want to admit it or not, a man’s greatest weakness is the temptation of a persuasive, beautiful woman. Ask Adam… you, the Garden of Eden… the apple. But, what if this ‘man’ is a 17-18 year old boy with raging hormones, living out a football player’s dream of star quality stats, multiple colleges sending him letters, calling him, inviting him to big-time college campuses? He may be in a situation where his only shot at a college education is to accept a football scholarship – he’s torn between this coach telling him this and that coach telling him that. Or, maybe it depends on where the college is located – how far is it away from home; his family?
So, he’s undecided. Then, in walks an unofficial University of Tennessee hostess like Lacey Pearl Earps (a.k.a. The Closer). Now, before anyone assumes this is only a SEC thing, think again. Other colleges in various conferences have been found guilty of similar practices.
Back to the story. Lane Kiffin, one-hit (I mean, one-year) wonder was the head coach at UT in 2009, but what you may not know is that he was stacked with a secret weapon called the Orange Pride – a group of pretty college girls that fraternized with recruits. There’s no evidence of quid pro quo, but many of them ‘built relationships’ online by chatting, etc. Nothing was proven beyond that.
Lacey Pearl Earps seemed to have a knack for getting high school players to ‘sign on the dotted line’ which is why she earned the nickname, “The Closer.” This type of recruiting method was revealed in the book, “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football,” by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian. An entire chapter of the book is devoted to UT’s creative use of recruiting. Ironically, when push came to shove and the gloves came off, Kiffin hung her out to dry, as if he had nothing to do with it.
And you thought good recruiting was just about having coaches with charming personalities convincing moms in their living rooms and across the kitchen table that THEIR college was the right fit for THEIR son? Who knew there could be more at play…