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Student-Athletes' Entrepreneurial Idea Gives Football Coaches New Tech Tool for Success

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Tyler Rockwood and Kevin Trizna

Innovative Idea: Seniors Tyler Rockwood and Kevin Trizna have combined their love of football and computer programming to develop a free mobile application for coaches using the popular Hudl software system to prepare winning game plans this fall.

Student-athletes Tyler Rockwood and Kevin Trizna have helped the Rose-Hulman football team to a record-breaking season with their hard work on and off the gridiron this fall.

The NCAA Division III football players have become student entrepreneurs with their innovative mobile application, noHuddle Remote, giving an increasing number of college, high school, and professional football coaches a high-tech edge to better prepare their teams for victory.

Coaches with more than 40,000 teams utilize Hudl software tools to edit and share past football game and practice video, study associated play diagrams, and create quality highlight reels for entertainment and recruiting purposes.

However, in many cases, these coaches have become frustrated when remote-control devices for replaying video clips have become misplaced, can't be shared in multiple team meetings, and have unresponsive buttons or low-energy batteries. And, with each remote costing $200 or more, cost-effective alternatives were being sought in the marketplace.

Rockwood and Trizna, both computer science majors, combined their programming skills and football knowledge to give coaches a free application to turn smartphones into remote control devices for the Hudl software system. Their idea has eliminated the need for specialized remotes, created more effective film sessions and team/staff meetings, and kept coaches from relying on fragile equipment and the proper computer connections.

Since becoming available in late September, and with simple word-of-mouth marketing, noHuddle Remote has become a "must-have" item being used by 2,000 coaches (and growing daily) throughout the world, including a team in Japan, for more than 13,000 film sessions.

"Thanks for the technology to help coaches out. [noHuddle Remote] is outstanding stuff," stated Jeff Steinberg, head football coach at southern California's Rancho Verde High School, in a Twitter statement to the Rose-Hulman students after using the app.

Division III Illinois College Head Football Coach Garrett Campbell adds, "You guys have done something special with this…you have really made an impact."

This student entrepreneurial success story caught the two football players by surprise and could lead to modifications for Hudl's services in other sports.

"We're in the locker room and our teammates are huddled around our laptop interested to see how many coaches have picked up our app," says Trizna, a Denver native who is Rose-Hulman's senior class president. "It's amazing to see that something that we created is being used throughout the world."

Rockwood adds, "We were just trying to fill a need. One day in a team meeting, out of frustration, one of our coaches said 'Why can't this be an app?' We thought about it for a little while and came up with this solution…We're affecting people on a scale that's nearly unimaginable."

The senior from Prineville, Oregon, developed the app for Android smartphones, while Trizna's experience in iOS programming was used for the iPhone app. They have built a website, www.nohuddleremote.com, and produced promotional YouTube videos to provide a system tutorial and online demonstrations (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d911p7bkz28).

"Our computer science backgrounds gave us the experience to get this done; football gave us the opportunity," says Rockwood, who is also majoring in software engineering and has accepted a job with Google following graduation.

Both have earned varsity letters on Rose-Hulman's football team, one of the nation's top Division III squads this fall. Trizna is the starting center on offense, while Rockwood is a backup defensive back.

"It is fun to have two of our players create something that coaches across the country are utilizing," says Rose-Hulman Head Coach Jeff Sokol. "We know how smart and talented our student-athletes are; it is nice for other coaches to be able to benefit from their talents as well."