https://www.espn.com/mens-college-b...ing-head-coaching-vacancies-college-athletics: "Typically, an athletic director or a search committee, after employing Parker Executive Search, flies to its Atlanta office. Executive vice president and managing director Laurie Wilder and Parker, whose father, Dan, started the search firm, first try to understand what the university is looking for: what worked well with the previous coach and what didn't; if a predecessor was fired, why. Usually a school's search committee has a wish list of candidates, and it reviews those names first. 'Very often, they'll stop right here,' said Wilder, as Plunkett accesses the financial information page of one coach. 'They'll realize a candidate is already making too much money or the buyout clause is bigger than they're interested in. People love to say it's not about the money. It's very often about the money.' Wilder and Parker may offer suggestions, names they think fit the school's profile and criteria, but perhaps aren't on the search committee's radar. Eventually, the school whittles down what Wilder refers to as A and AA lists. The A candidates are the ones a school really wants but isn't sure it can get; the AA candidates are ones it is interested in. And this is about the point where coaches raise their first suspicions. How do they get on those lists? How do they convince Parker to recommend them? 'I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do,' said Arkansas assistant Matt Zimmerman, a self-described "grinder" and lifelong assistant coach. 'Do I get an agent to go to bat for me? I never thought I needed the services of an agent, but maybe I do. I think you bust your tail, work hard and hope that makes you more attractive, but I guess that's old-school.' Wilder and Parker insist there is no secret and that the notion they have a stable of coaches that they promote is categorically untrue. The A and AA lists, they stress, are developed by the school's athletic director or search committee, not by Parker Executive Search. The phrase Wilder likes to use is that the firm's role is to 'aggressively recruit, advise and facilitate. We do not vote.' Moreover, she insists that if pressed for a personal opinion, the firm will decline. 'You don't have to know us to be in our searches. That's complete baloney,' Parker said. 'We do original research based on the expectation of what the athletic director is looking for. We have searches all the time where we didn't know much about a coach until we started the process and got to know him.' Still, accurate or not, the perception exists among the coaching fraternity that if you don't know Parker and other top search firms, or vice versa, you won't get a job because of the wide breadth of their influence. Some go to great lengths to stay in their good graces. 'When I was at Murray State, I did an interview for a job I didn't want because a high-powered search firm wanted me to,' Cronin said. 'The school wanted to interview me and I wasn't interested in the job, but I wanted to endear myself to the search firm. I thought it was better than pissing them off.' Others take far less complicated routes, but with the same goal: to stay in good favor. Wilder said that, prior to Peach Jam, more than a few coaches stopped by the firm's Atlanta office to say hello en route to North Augusta, and its Final Four party has become a must-attend event for coaches trying to get noticed. 'It's one of the funniest things in the world. Everybody is practically in line to meet them and kiss the rings,' the agent said. 'You've got the ADs they've hired or the associate ADs that want their help. There are maybe a handful of head coaches and a bunch of assistants trying to get face time. Then you've got six of me who are making sure their guys get seen but also protecting them to make sure other agents aren't trying to talk to them. It's unreal.' Once Parker Executive Search reaches out to a university's A and AA lists of candidates, it sets up interviews. After its database information, the firm's ability to provide confidentiality and plausible deniability may be its biggest attraction." "Parker Executive Search typically flies candidates to Atlanta, a hotbed for recruiting and a common flight layover city, thus giving candidates an easy alibi. Or it conducts interviews at private clubs across the country where it holds memberships, away from prying eyes. It all helps keep the secret of who is being interviewed, lest a candidate decline an offer and make a university look bad. It also allows for a cover -- since Parker contacts the coach and sets up the interview, both coach and university can say, truthfully, that they have not spoken to one another." "Specifically, people think that there is some sort of reciprocity going on -- that if a university president is hired by one search firm, the president returns to the search firm to hire an athletic director, and the athletic director then taps the firm to find a coach. There's no denying that there is repeat business. A quick glance at Parker Executive Search's website shows several schools who have returned to the Parker well. Sixteen schools listed have used the firm for multiple searches within the athletic department."