So, as I mentioned in a recent post, I've been pretty busy over the past 6 months. Between getting married, applying for jobs (both academic and non-academic--for those interested in hearing about McKinsey & Co. interviews I am happy to give some insight there in what sort of atmosphere to expect, but take them with a grain of salt, as I was ultimately not offered a position), finishing up my dissertation, and having a slew of research papers coming together all at once, it hasn't left much time for blogging. But, luckily, all of this has led to an exciting announcement (for me at least).
So out with it. I have officially signed an offer with the University of Florida. Assuming a successful defense of my dissertation in May (of course, not a given), I will begin my new appointment as Assistant Professor with the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management in the College of Health and Human Performance this August. Obviously, I will then have to change the subtitle of this blog to "Naive Assistant Professor".
I will say that I will be very sad to leave Ann Arbor. Not only is this a great place to live, but the opportunities that Michigan has provided for me have been unbelievable. I was rather lucky to be in a situation where the department was in a monumental shift--especially for a Sport Management program--and it has been nothing but good. I was able to get here right as my adviser, Dr. Rod Fort, arrived and work with him as an MA student in the program. This ultimately led to me rolling into the PhD program and having a chance to do dual MA degrees in Statistics and Applied Economics--not a something that happens without some things falling right into place.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is the prime place for quantitative and economic analysis of sports (and this includes comparing it to economics departments). I have been able to bump elbows and work with some of the top names in the field, and would like to thank them for their guidance throughout the process: Professors Rodney Fort--who played a pivotal role, taking a chance on a guy with a Psychology degree to do quantitative work--Mark Rosentraub, Jason Winfree, Kathy Babiak, Stefan Szymanski, Dae Hee Kwak, Kate Heinze, Ketra Armstrong, Bruce Watkins, and Richard Wolfe (now at University of Victoria). I'd also like to thank my fellow graduate students here for all of our discussions and collaborations: Steve Salaga, Matt Juravich, Mike Cantor, Scott Tainsky (our first PhD graduate, and an Assistant Professor at University of Illinois), Kelly Xu, Thomas Peeters (visiting from Antwerp), Seung Pil Lee, and Joon Sung Lee. And, last but certainly not least, I would like to thank our Graduate Coordinator, Charlene Ruloff, for all of her help with administration of graduate student stuff. We would be completely lost without her.
Of course, I have had the chance to take advantage of the top tier Statistics and Economics graduate programs here at Michigan as well. The opportunity to take classes with the likes of Charlie Brown, Jeff Smith, Joel Slemrod, Scott Masten, and Naomi Feldman has been a real thrill. I will certainly be sad without Charlie around to pitch in softball. Hopefully, he will continue to share his thoughts on outrageous internet links.
Through my studies, I have had the chance to personally speak with Joel Maxcy, Michael Leeds, Stefan Kesenne, Roger Noll, Dan Mason, Stephen Ross, and J.C. Bradbury, as well as email discussions with Cy Morong and Young Hoon Lee. Each of these discussions had added to my knowledge of the field and expanded my mind with respect to possible research topics in the future.
As an MA student, I had the opportunity to take a class with Alan Ostfield, which was really a lot of fun. Additionally, Mark Rosentraub has been pivotal in providing students with access to prominent business figures in sports. Through Dr. Rosentraub, I have had the chance to meet, hear talks from, and/or have lunch with the likes of Rob Dupuy, Ron Shapiro, Jim Irsay, Steven Soboroff, John Moores, Paul Dolan, and Dan Gilbert. While I am sure they won't have much to remember about me, I will certainly always remember what they had to say while they were here.
This blog has gotten more attention that I would have ever expected. It really started out of frustration as a grad student having lots of ideas, and little direct outlet for them. The chance to speak with some prominent names in the front offices of MLB, talks with Josh Orenstein at Trackman Technologies, and an invitation to speak at an R Users Meetup following Metamarkets CEO Mike Driscoll--not an easy act to follow at a data science meeting!!--all stemming from work on this blog have been a real unexpected honor.
Of course, those commenting here--and at other online forums--have forever contributed to my thinking about analytics and sports. I thank you for the enlightening discussions over the past couple of years, even if we still disagree. Mike Fast, especially, has been extremely helpful in discussions regarding Pitch F/X data. I don't have any plans to stop updating my blog, but the type and regularity of updates will depend on the time I have over the next 6 months or so as I finish up my required work and prepare for the move.
So, here we go. Looking down the home stretch--and with some luck--I have sun, palm trees and Spanish moss in sight. I am excited to become a Gator.