Taylor Shui '24 & Jeff Brover '24 share the 2024 Disch Award

2024 Disch Award recipients
2024 Disch Award Recipients
Taylor Shui '24, Dr. Jimmy Disch, and Jeff Brover '24

Taylor Shui '24 and Jeff Brover '24 were recently awarded the 2024 Jimmy Disch Sport Analytics Award. Brover was also one of this year's co-recipients of the Jesse Tsu Award.

Dr. Jimmy Disch, who recently retired from teaching and now serves as an Associate Professor Emeritus, created the Sport Management major's Sport Analytics concentration during his time teaching at Rice.

“This award recognizes my accomplishments and my career at Rice and in the field of measurement and evaluation.” Disch said. “With my strong Rice family heritage it means that my name will appear in every commencement program from here on.”

To honor his legacy, the Jimmy Disch Sports Analytics Award was started in 2021 to recognize the graduating senior who has shown a strong commitment to academic excellence while earning exceptional experience in the Sport Analytics field as a Sport Management major at Rice.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” Shui said. “I know there’s so many accomplished Sport Management and Sport Analytics majors here at Rice, so I’m very grateful to have been selected as a recipient.”

“I am extremely grateful, proud, and honored to receive this award,” Brover said. “Sport analytics is a topic that I became more and more passionate about and interested in during my college career. Everything I learned and accomplished at Rice is something that I will cherish forever and that I believe will be incredibly helpful as I begin working towards building a professional career in the field.”

Both students have demonstrated remarkable excellence in the field, extending well beyond the classroom, as evidenced by their outstanding professional experiences.

Shui double-majored in both Sport Analytics and Computer Science. During her time at Rice, she gained experience with the Houston Astros as a Business Strategy & Analytics Intern as well as a Research & Development Apprentice. She also worked as a Data Analyst for Rice's women's soccer team and as a Research Intern for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Have confidence in your own capabilities and your ability to be successful. Don’t shy away from opportunities just because you feel you don’t know enough or won’t be able to succeed and thrive,” Shui said. “Additionally, take advantage of all the unique opportunities that come with being a Rice SMGT/Sport Analytics student.”

Brover double-majored in Sport Analytics and Statistics, while gaining internship experience with the Tampa Bay Rays, Normal CornBelters, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, Rice Baseball Analytics, and Rice's Men’s Basketball program earning skills in both analytics and operations.

“Take advantage of every opportunity you can and never be afraid to ask for help in finding them.” Brover said. “Always be proactive in these opportunities as well, never doing just the bare minimum, but looking to go above and beyond the expectations of the task.”

Shui and Brover both credited the Department of Sport Management for the support and guidance of the entire faculty, instrumental in their achievements.

“Taylor's growth as a sport analytics major has been remarkable,” Dr. Hua Gong, Assistant Professor of Sport Analytics, said. “Witnessing her achievements, both academically and professionally, has been incredibly gratifying for me as her professor. I have full confidence that Taylor will continue to thrive and shine in her new role with the Houston Astros.”

“Jeff has always been an outstanding student,” Gong said. “As a sport analytics major, Jeff's commitment extends far beyond the classroom. He is also an unselfish learner who is willing to share his knowledge of sport analytics with his fellow students.”

After graduation, both will work for Major League Baseball teams in Research & Development departments within the team's Baseball Operations unit ... Shui with the Houston Astros and Brover with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sergio Rojas, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, is double-majoring in Business with a concentration in Finance and also Sport Management with a concentration in Leadership.