STHM alumnae establish business partnership in athletic consulting
Kim Ciarrocca and Rebecca Joseph went from coaches and players with Temple University’s lacrosse team in the late 1980s to business partners more than 20 years later.
The two, who hold graduate degrees from Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), started KR Sports Consulting. KR is a high-school sports recruitment consulting company, through which Ciarrocca and Joseph assist student-athletes in the stressful process of finding the right college at which to continue their athletic careers.
Ciarrocca earned a Master’s of Education degree in Sport Management and Leisure Studies in 1993, while Joseph received a Master’s of Education degree in Sport and Recreation Administration in 1999.
The professional teammates played for Temple’s lacrosse team at different times. Joseph’s athletic career overlapped with Ciarrocca’s tenure as a coach, which began in 1992. Joseph joined Princeton University’s lacrosse team as an assistant coach in 1996, but when Ciarrocca had a similar position open at Temple, Joseph returned to her alma mater and they began working as a duo.
Successful as Division I coaches, Ciarrocca and Joseph began noticing several young men and women being misguided by recruitment services. Then, they discussed creating their own consultant group.
“We worked together on and off over the years at sports camps,” Joseph said. “We both continued working in the field, and then we talked about starting the firm formally last year.”
With KR Sports Consulting, LLC, Ciarrocca and Joseph travel the country to assist student-athletes with the recruitment process. Joseph, who is based in New Jersey, said individual-athlete sessions kept her and Michigan-based Ciarrocca quite busy this past summer. Their service provides one-on-one evaluations of student-athletes in live situations on an as-needed basis.
“Some of these players start out so young and need to learn the proper method to take it to the next level for college, which includes shooting skills, cutting, dodging and game sense,” Joseph said.
That being said, the pair understands the value in looking ahead to the college level. They always encourage their clients to consider a course of study, their prospective school’s size, and its athletics program.
“When we talk about the success, we look at the student first,” Ciarrocca said. “We learn their short-term goals and we help to identify the long-term goals.”
At KR Sports Consulting, Joseph credits their holistic approach to recruiting to both she and Ciarrocca being parents of student-athletes and having seen how the recruiting process has changed. For example, Ciarrocca said her daughter, a sophomore collegiate women’s soccer player, had 15 Division I offers by the conclusion of ninth grade.
“She committed herself so early and, to me, that is something we talk about with the parents,” Ciarrocca said. “I think it’s different when you’ve played the sport, too, and you can help people. As a parent of an athlete, you want to help as many people as you can.”
As word of their firm spreads, Ciarrocca said she and Joseph want to maintain a small group of clients in order to properly satisfy their needs.
“It is rewarding, especially when you see the student-athlete is happy, has committed to a school, and knows they made the right decision,” Ciarrocca said. “I had great coaches at Temple and that is a big part of it. If you’re going to play for someone for four years, you have to be comfortable with them.”
–Emily Ivy Scott