Concentrate! On Sports Analytics

by minton on November 8, 2019

Roanoke College has a sports analytics program! The recently approved concentration in sports analytics is a six-course program giving students a broad background in important skills as well as practical experience in the field. Details can be found at roanoke.edu/mcsp/minton/Sports Analytics.html.

The concentration builds on the success of Stat Crew. With over twenty students (and an occasional mascot) on board, Stat Crew collects data at Roanoke home games and puts together reports for the coaches. If you are interested in the concentration or Stat Crew, contact Dr. Minton at minton@roanoke.edu.

The term “concentration” may bring back memories of well-intentioned coaches telling you to “keep your eye on the ball.” Other than golf, where the ball does not move, it turns out that this is impossible! I first learned this from the excellent book Keep Your Eye on the Ball by Watts and Bahill, and then wrote about it in my Calculus book. The underlying problem is that humans have a limited ability to track moving objects.

You might look at this picture and say that Roger Federer is, in fact, keeping his eye on the ball. The tennis great uses a common strategy for tennis and baseball players. He tracks the ball until it starts to blur and then jumps his eyes ahead to where he expects the ball to be. And Roger’s usually right!

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Getting to Know: Dave Taylor

by minton on August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job.

Dave Taylor has published a book introducing probability through games such as Yahtzee and Monopoly. He enjoys magic tricks, including mathemagics and the mysterious cube trick in the background. The bed is for visits from his dog Lilly, and any department members who come whining to him in his role of department chair.

He does research on a number of topics including representation theory of Lie algebra, games and game theory, math education and curriculum, and call center work. For his classes he works with them on his call center work to ask questions, gather information and write press releases. He has also introduced R software to do real statistical tests.

He has learned through his years as a professor that sometimes topics dry up and you have to be able to shift. In the year 2050, he views liberal arts colleges as possibly teaching online, one-on-one interactions, and math research being more specialized. His favorite phrase is “Bingo.” His favorite games are Clue, Pandemic, and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

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Getting to Know: Roland Minton

by minton on August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job.

Roland Minton enjoys levitating light bulbs, Klein bottles, and various illusions. His book Sports Math features a picture of Roger Federer that he took at Centre Court, Wimbledon. He is a big sports fan, especially of Clemson football.

His research is on golf analytics, most recently classifying golfers and courses based on their strengths and weaknesses and applying those classifications to determine how a specific golfer will do on a specific course. He gives his classes research projects using data collected by the Roanoke College Stat Crew to ask statistical questions of interest to Maroon athletics.

As he became more accustomed to being a professor, he decided to move toward research that he could pick up and drop as needed, and that students could collaborate on. He imagines Roanoke College in 2050 to be a place where online work will be common, but face-to-face interaction remain important. He imagines moving away from fact-based testing towards guiding research and internships that benefit Maroons greater than students with online degrees. His favorite phrase to use in class is, “Does that make sense?” and his favorite sport to play is golf.

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Getting to Know: Karin Saoub

August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job. Karin Saoub has published a […]

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Getting to Know: Chris Lee

August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job. Chris Lee is co-founder with […]

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Getting to Know: Hannah Robbins

August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job. Hannah Robbins has recently finished […]

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Getting to Know: Maggie Rahmoeller

August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job. Maggie Rahmoeller has fun combining […]

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Getting to Know: Adam Childers

August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job. Adam Childers can often be […]

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Those Were the Days

April 22, 2019

  There are some advantages to being over 60 years old. I can play golf from the senior tees, and get the senior discount at the cafeteria. I saw Jimi Hendrix in concert. That might be it. Roanoke College math lecturer Claire Staniunas was hired by Ron Walpole. In RC history, Walpole has the star […]

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Play It Again, CSAM

April 18, 2019

It was a weekend of comebacks in sports: Tiger Woods winning the Masters, the Clippers erasing a 31-point deficit against the Warriors, and CSAM returning to Furman. The last item made few headlines, but the Carolina Sports Analytics Meeting at Furman University is a highlight of the year for myself and several students. Roanoke College […]

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