I had an idea about 20 years ago that technology could help sports teams win. At the time, I was pursuing an MBA at night while working for IBM. At IBM, I was doing work in expert systems (early machine learning). My initial idea was to look at opponent tendencies and develop a winning game plan based on these tendencies. I left IBM and started a consulting business. After that company was acquired, I started customer discovery for game planning analytics. In my discussions with coaches about 10 years ago, I determined that their interest was not sufficient to move forward at that time. I remember meeting with a coach at the University of Tennessee. He was very direct with me – the problem he needed help with was recruiting, not game planning. I started to research and talk to other coaches and student-athletes. I gained an understanding of the challenges with college athlete recruiting. As an entrepreneur, I knew that this was the path that I should pursue. Coaches want to attract and retain the best recruits that will help them win. We developed the scoutSMART fitSCORE to help coaches identify those recruits.
In addition to solving a problem, I realized that I get great personal satisfaction from seeing high school athletes play at the next level, and in many cases, get a scholarship. I participate in the National Signing Day event at the College Football Hall of Fame each year that is sponsored by the Touchdown Club of Atlanta (where I serve on the Board of Governors). The recruits, their families, and their coaches have immense pride in announcing where they will play college football. It has been a long and winding path, but I know why I chose recruiting analytics.