Sport Management Students Meet with Sport Analytic Leaders

Sport Management Students Meet with Sport Analytic Leaders

Rice Sport Management students enrolled in SMGT 430 (Introduction to Sport Analytics) and SMGT 490 (Seminar in Sport Analytics) met with two sport analytic leaders this past semester: Jeff Luhnow, General Manager of the Houston Astros, and Sebastian Park, the new director of eSports for the Houston Rockets. Both individuals have impressive resumes and gave Rice students a great opportunity to learn more about their industries in a causal, Q&A session.

Jeff Luhnow

Luhnow met with both classes at Minute Maid Park to discuss sport analytics. Luhnow is known as the statistical guru when it comes to drafts, trades, and scouting for the Houston Astros. Prior to joining the Astros, Luhnow spent eight years with the St. Louis Cardinals as their Vice President of Baseball Development (2003-05), Vice President of Player Procurement (2005), and Vice President of Scouting and Player development (2006-11).

During his time with the Cardinals, he oversaw the scouting, international, and player development sections that brought in numerous key players during the 2011 World Series win, the 2012 NLCS team and 2013 World Series roster. Of the 25 players drafted on the Cardinals 2013 World Series roster, 16 were drafted when Luhnow oversaw player development and scouting. Since joining the Astros in 2011, Luhnow has transformed the Astros into a top contending baseball team with young talent. This upcoming school year, Luhnow will become one of Rice’s Adjunct Professors in the Department of Sport Management.

Sebastian Park - Houston Rockets

Park was hired in 2016 by the Houston Rockets as the director of eSports development and both seminar classes met with Park at the Toyota Center. His role with the Rockets is to connect the basketball organization with the world of competitive gaming. In 2015, the video game industry was made $23.5 billion in the United States. The Rockets are the first NBA team to hire a solely eSports employee internally.

“This was a great opportunity for these students,” Associate Professor Dr. Jimmy Disch said. “It was a pretty casual, Q&A setting where the students were able to discuss the different responsibilities and daily life of Luhnow and Park.”

Eboni Sutherland, a senior from Corona, California, is majoring in Sport Management.