Meet The Nerds

We’re proud of the team we’ve assembled at TR, which consists of both full-time and part-time contributors. Although we all live and work in different places, we share a passion for working hard, building great products, and having fun doing it.

Just as importantly, we don’t take ourselves too seriously -- unless the topic of conversation is whether the pizza in Boston is good or bad. In that case, our views are fiercely divided and fisticuffs may ensue.

Tom Federico

Co-Founder & CEO

Tom’s interest in the statistical side of sports sprouted back in the late 1980s, when he spent his weekends as a Strat-O-Matic Fanatic and his nights trying to get Euler to pitch a perfect game on the Commodore 64. After ditching the frigid climes of Boston for sunny California, he earned a BS and MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford.

Serving as a Resident Assistant in Branner Hall during his junior year, Tom’s job was to discourage unsupervised 18 year olds, including Mike Greenfield and Matt Koidin, from engaging in Animal House style behavior. Mike was not a problem.

After working in product and marketing roles at a Silicon Valley startup, Capital One Financial, and Stanford Business School, Tom was looking to do something more entrepreneurial when he ran into Mike outside the Palo Alto post office one sunny day in late 2004. He soon asked the fateful question, “So whatever happened to that sports web site of yours?”

Tom now runs the day to day operations of TeamRankings. Although he does a little bit of everything (except writing code, although learning SQL has been on his to-do list for the better part of a decade now), he is primarily responsible for product strategy, business development, marketing, and building the team.

Mike Greenfield

Co-Founder & Advisor

The dude that started it all. Mike started building quantitative sports power ratings in 1997 at the tender age of 19. Then, after teaching himself enough about computer programming to build a basic web site, he launched the original from his Stanford dorm room in 2000. The site set a new standard in incredibly slick web design.

Back when the term “Moneyball” was still just a twinkle in Michael Lewis’ eye, Mike’s objective ratings and analysis quickly achieved national prominence, especially in college basketball. In March 2001, Sports Illustrated profiled Mike in a feature on March Madness bracket picking.

After a numbers-obsessed youth in which he memorized 36 significant digits of Pi, Mike broke West from Philadelphia to earn a BS degree in Mathematical and Computational Science from Stanford. In his career outside of TeamRankings, he has worked in analytical roles at PayPal and LinkedIn and also founded or co-founded several VC-funded startups, including Circle Of Moms (acquired by POPSUGAR) and most recently, Change Research.

Today, Mike primarily advises TR in the areas of analytics and strategy. However, occasionally he still gets his hands dirty with modeling or coding work, especially if it involves the NCAA tournament. Despite clearly being wrong, he also insists you call the third-to-last round of March Madness the “Crazy Eight.”

David Hess

Analytics & Coding

David’s earliest nerd cred, besides an irrational love for sweatpants, was mastering ten key typing in the sixth grade. This proficiency developed because he, like Tom, was a Hardball aficionado, although David had the far superior PC version. David spent a good portion of his youth entering custom baseball player stats into the game with his brother, until a further epiphany, winning his Dad’s NCAA tournament bracket pool at age 12, made him realize that you could actually make money with sports knowledge.

After undergrad years at Johns Hopkins, David went on to earn his MS in neuroscience at NYU, during which time he co-founded the now defunct While working as a data analyst for tech company Inuvo, he then started the college basketball blog The Audacity Of Hoops in his spare time, where his hidden agenda was to use numbers to prove that the Kansas Jayhawks were, are, and forever will be the best college basketball team in the universe. His blogging caught the eye of the TeamRankings crew, who happened to make contact with him just after a cross-country move.

Today, David is a quantitative and technical jack of all trades at TR, writing code for the site and our various analytical products, building and refining data models, doing ad-hoc analyses, answering questions about office pool strategy, and even still blogging now and then. We have yet to find a sports prediction contest for money (or burritos) that David is not interested in entering, and it is almost always “negative EV” to compete against him.

Jon Mires

Coding & Operations

Like Tom, Matt, and Mike, Jon is yet another East Coaster – apparently the fear of cold brings us together. He grew up in New Hampshire, and as a die-hard Celtics fan in the Bird/McHale/Parish era, he once cut out every Celtics article appearing in the Boston Globe for an entire year and hung them on the wall of his bedroom.

Jon also made his way to the Golden State for college, earning a BA in Psychology at Stanford. There, his illustrious collegiate sports career consisted of playing on the women’s basketball team practice squad, a brief stint on the club table tennis team, and possibly the shortest tenure ever as a cross country walk-on (it can be measured in hours). Jon later picked up a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason, so when he’s not doing technical work, he's deftly diffusing any escalating tensions that arise from internal discussions about Boston pizza.

At some point during a college reunion pickup basketball game (fun fact: Jon's vertical leap is off the charts), Tom was surprised to learn that Jon had shifted from his fuzzy academic training to become a front-end developer. It was great news indeed. After a few years of freelance work for TR, Jon came on board as a full time web developer, and today he also helps keep the TR ship in order in a variety of ways.

Seth Trachtman

Marketing & Operations

Seth became a fantasy baseball nerd at age 12, and the number of fantasy leagues he participates in seems to increase by the day. He started writing about fantasy sports soon after his obsession began, and then parlayed his passion into marketing or editorial roles for FOXSports, Sporting News, Fanball, Yardbarker/MSN, Street & Smith's, and NBC Sports/Rotoworld.

Seth was also the winner of the 2016 Tout Wars AL-only Fantasy Baseball Experts League, after which victory a delicious kosher hot dog was briefly named after him (it's a long story).

Seth is a St. Louis born and bred Mizzou alum, Norm Stewart devotee, and diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan, but you shouldn't hold that against him. When he's not scarfing down Provel slathered Imo's Pizza, toasted ravioli, and clown cones from Baskin-Robbins, he's likely wrangling with his dog, Señor Fernando Vina Tatis.

In 2015, Seth emailed TeamRankings a 21-page list of recommendations to improve our marketing, and earned himself the chance to prove that he actually knew what the hell he was talking about. Today Seth contributes to TR's marketing, operations, customer support, and blogging efforts. If you have corresponded with the TeamRankings support email account lately, you probably have already become virtual pen pals with him.

Jason Lisk

Content & Analysis

Jason grew up in Kansas City, where one of his earliest sports geek moments was attending the NCAA Final Four practices in 1988, and devouring the media guide until he had memorized every single historical Final Four bracket. He also reminds you that Irwin Dambrot was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1950 Tournament, in case you forgot.

Jason did not become a Kansas fan that fateful year, though, having already fallen in love with Derrick Chievous’ band-aid. Consequently, he went on to attend the University of Missouri and earn his BS in Biology. While at Mizzou, Jason spent his free time developing college football power ratings, scribbling bracketology notes, and working for the football team's video staff.

(To this day, Jason swears that he sketched out early ideas for what is now the spread offense after filming his Tigers gain exactly one first down against Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice's Illinois team in 1994. But even though he looks not unlike Kliff Kingsbury, Jason's self-professed brilliance for offensive scheming hasn't quite gotten him an NFL head coaching job.)

After college, Jason attended law school at the University of Houston, where he mainly spent his time in the key role of office pool administrator for the student body. He never relinquished his obsession with analyzing sports, though, and soon began writing blog posts for Pro Football Reference. Eventually, he became a full-time NFL writer (and then managing editor) for The Big Lead, thus becoming yet another former lawyer who became a sports blogger.

Today, Jason serves as a writer, editor, and all-around content guy for TeamRankings. He revels in spelunking his way through data sets, trying his best to disprove conventional wisdom with facts, and sharing his findings in articles and over TR's social media channels.

Matt Koidin

Partner & Advisor

Matt was the first actual super-hard-core sports fan on the TR team. While his TR peers geeked out over prediction model hypothesis testing, Matt always somehow found the time to do strange things like read ESPN and attend sporting events for fun. He even knows the players the Patriots drafted this year and who pitched for the Red Sox last night. Perhaps Matt's biggest badge of sports fan honor, though, is the fact that he plays in five fantasy football leagues, which used to sound somewhat impressive until we hired Seth.

Like Tom, Matt fled the Boston suburbs for Palo Alto. (Unlike Tom, over the years Matt has done a much better job of maintaining his Beantown sports cred.) After graduating from Stanford with a BS in Computer Science, Matt co-founded Justarrive, the first e-ticketing platform for college and professional sports teams. He went on to earn his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, then served as a Manager in the Strategy and Operations group of Deloitte Consulting. He was TR's first software engineer and CTO from 2008 until 2011.

Today, Matt is the CTO of Pocket, now part of Mozilla. He advises TeamRankings on a variety of strategic and technical decisions, and still occasionally gets his hands dirty helping manage our server infrastructure.

Gavin Walters

Betting Consultant

Gavin hails from County Cheshire in the north west of England, just a stone's throw from the Top Of The Hill Chip Shop. If you're unfamiliar with the area, Cheshire is the county bordering Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south, and Flintshire to the west. If you still need help placing it, please just ask any Hobbits you happen to know.

Gavin grew up an athletic tot who so fancied having a punt on the footie that he made a career out of it. After university he began his career in a management training program at Bet365, one of the world's largest online betting operators. Since then, he has held management roles for leading affiliate marketing companies in the gambling industry including Catena Media and Group. He's also had a stint running his own online casino, and currently manages a sports betting tip site called as a side hustle. ("Acca" means "parlay" in the non-Queen's English.)

Today, Gavin consults with the TR team on sports betting related business matters, from operator partnerships to affiliate marketing strategies. Outside of work, he enjoys attempting to break his 17-year old cross country PR, composing an LMFAO-style dance club smash hit to launch his DJ career, and counting the days until Stoke City gets back in the Premier League.

Austin Link

Former Analytics Intern

Growing up as a child of the BCS era and living ten minutes from Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Austin spent his formative years calculating BCS formulas for college football. He played some basketball in high school and even won back to back “most improved” awards on the swim team, yet still could not crack the varsity lineup.

With his hopes for the Olympics dashed, Austin detoured to Palo Alto to study physics at Stanford (sensing a theme here?). Like Jon, he took his beatings as a member of the women's basketball team practice squad, then returned to the Midwest and picked up an MS in Aerospace Engineering at Purdue. That move also afforded him the opportunity to frequent McDonald's, Arby's, Taco Bell, and the rest of his beloved fast food establishments without getting the evil eye from health conscious Californians.

When he took a class entitled “The Math of Sports” during his sophomore year, Austin decided the time had come to create a team power ratings system of his own. A year later, he traveled to Boston to attend the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. There he met the TeamRankings crew, who could not believe that a college junior had paid his own way to fly across the country to attend a conference on sports stats. (That was in 2010; things are different now.)

That chance meeting kicked off Austin's four-year run as TR's interminably tardy yet always entertaining student intern. During his tenure he designed and tested a new predictive ratings system, coded simulation models for our office pool picks and season projections, and did blogging and analysis on groundbreaking topics such as our NBA Valentines. Today Austin is quite literally a rocket scientist, at Blue Origin by way of Lockheed Martin.