Tulsa native becomes first NCAA female recruiter and makes splash with first football signing

Posted at 4:54 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 19:18:21-04

Nearing the end of 2015, Courtney Roach sat at her computer looking to create new opportunities within her career. Months prior, Roach gave birth to her third child and for the first time began to consider finding a new path involving her life long interests.

Roach's dream was to work in sports and with no expectation of finding a new job right away, she applied to be a licensed sports recruiter for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“They needed a licensed NCAA recruiter for our state. So I'm like 'well, what the heck,'” said Roach.

Roach, who grew up around athletics her entire life, knew she would at least be considered for any sports position based on her experience and background.

As a former softball and basketball player, Roach attended the University of Oklahoma and fell in love with the atmosphere created on campus during big sporting events and competitions.

Always in the crowd wearing school colors, Roach mostly attended Sooner football games. Her father and brothers were obsessed with football and all either played, coached or both during some point in their lives.

Roach admits she always tried to model herself after professional football players and at one point wanted to play in the National Football League.

“I used to just want to be like LaDainian Tomlinson. I wanted to be an NFL running back like LaDainian Tomlinson, that's my favorite NFL player ever,” Roach said.

After learning their were more opportunities for women in other sports, Roach started playing softball and basketball, however, her love for the sport of football remained.

Only a few days after sending in her application for the NCAA sports recruiter position, Roach received a email asking her to officially interview for the job. The following week, Roach was the new high school recruiter for the state of Oklahoma and responsible for finding athletes for all levels of NCAA competition.

Almost immediately after earning the position, Roach made a splash in the recruiting world when she helped a relativity unknown prospect make headlines. Joshua Jacobs of McClain high school rushed for more than 2,600 yards during his time with the Titans and accumulated 29 Touchdowns.

Jacobs, who was raised in a north Tulsa neighborhood, was not a being heavily recruited by college programs.   

After meeting Jacobs, Roach began compiling highlights and information on his behalf and reaching out to college programs.

“I believe I contacted 410 programs total. So it just kind of like you just have to get these kids in front of the coaches.”

Following weeks of Roach sending out information, Jacobs made contact with football recruiters from the University of Alabama. Soon after, multiple schools began sending letters, texting, and calling Jacobs hoping to sign him to a football scholarship.

As signing day approached, Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, made his way to Tulsa in order to make one final push to sign the three star recruit. Saban, known for his recruiting prowess, managed to convince Jacobs Alabama would be the best fit for earning an education and competing at the highest level.

Once Jacobs signed with the Crimson Tide, his family and friends were met with great emotion after a long journey attempting to find a college scholarship. Thanking Roach, Jacobs embraced his scout muttering the words, “I can't believe it.”

Since working with Jacobs, Roach has helped a hand full of other athletes find schools. Although she is the first female recruiter for the NCAA, Roach says she hopes to inspire women to chase careers in male dominated professions.

“I hope that it gives them the inspiration and the will power to know you can do this role. If I can do it, anybody can do it,” Roach said.