How many students, when setting up their schedule for the semester, go to RateMyProfessor.com to check out what an average day is in the class period of said professor? Going back a few years, every student looks up their list of universities they wish to attend and decide the best one for them. No one just blindly selects a school or class without having some basic knowledge of either. Nick Petrella was a former student athlete who applied that same principle of research for student athletes like himself.
LockerRoomTalk.com is a website similar to ratemyprofessor, only instead of rating classes or teachers, former student athletes can rate their coaches for high school athletes who are looking into what university to take their talents to. Nick Petrella, the co-founder of the website along with Keirsten Sires, talked about the website’s past, present, and future in an interview this past week.
Petrella described how the idea of a website for high school recruits began as a baseball player at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.
“I graduated from Skidmore College in 2015 where I was a pitcher on the baseball team. As a student-athlete who went through the recruiting process the idea of a website like Locker Room Talk was something I had thought about for a while” he said.
“The idea became a reality during an entrepreneurship class my junior year at Skidmore. I pitched the idea to my class and it got chosen as one that would be worked on as a semester-long class project. One of the people I worked on the project with was Keirsten Sires. Keirsten (’14) played tennis and soccer at Skidmore and we both felt very passionately about the website and the concept behind it. After graduating we decided to pursue Locker Room Talk full-time and we successfully launched our site in November of 2015. “
Already, in the fourteen months of its existence, LockerRoomTalk has already been utilized by high schoolers looking for schools. According to Petrella,
“We have close to 300 high school athletes & parents already signed up on our site. We also offer 1 on 1 consulting that high school athletes have utilized where we directly work with the athlete throughout the entire recruiting process. We do everything from helping them create a highlight video to helping them craft emails to send to coaches.”
It is clear that the site has gained popularity in their targeted demographic, however, why are the coaches and universities themselves looking at it? After all, the site allows athletes to give not only positive feedback, but negative as well. And coaches, like anyone else, probably wouldn’t enjoy criticism in any form. That being said, Petrella explained that the coaches and universities enjoy the site.
“The reaction from coaches and universities has for the most part been very positive. We’ve talked to a lot of coaches who believe in what we are doing and believe a website like ours can be used as a recruiting tool” he explained. “We’ve even interviewed a lot of coaches for our website and asked them what they look for in recruits. Some of the interviews that are already up on our site include Boston College soccer coach, Ed Kelly, Williams College Basketball coach, Kevin App, Brown University Volleyball coach, Diane Short, and more.”
For the immediate future, Petrella describes major adjustment for the website that included being more up to date on coaching changes around the country. On my first trip to the site, I noticed Wendy Palmer as the head UNCG women’s coach, despite her departure last March. Petrella describes the update to fix situations such as this one.
“We are currently in the final stages of a major website upgrade that should be completed by the time this story is published. Part of that upgrade is utilizing an API database of college coaches.” “That API is constantly updated with college coach changes from all divisions across the country. That will allow us to stay up to date on the heavy turnover in the college coaching world.”
For this year, Nick only sees the site improving and getting more popular, from co-founder Keirsten Sires’ new seminar series where she travels across the nation giving seminars and workshops to high school students and their parents to projections for 2017.
“We expect to see enormous growth in 2017. We’ve collected over 5,000 college coach ratings in the past year and we are looking for that number to continue to skyrocket. We have also started to work with Hudl and have a couple other exciting partnerships on the horizon.”