Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Coffee is Always a Home Run

August 2, 2018

Adam Baker knows a thing or two about the importance of coaches — especially recruitment coaches. “After my sophomore year, I was cut and had to find a new school. I knew nothing about Division II schools and had two months to make the jump, so I partnered with a recruitment coach and was able to finish out my playing career at the University of North Georgia,” said Baker as he explained his transition from Western Carolina University to the University of North Georgia.

After college, Baker pursued a career in the sales industry but continued to coach baseball for Lassiter High School and King’s Academy. A decade later, Baker grew tired of balancing his job titles of account executive and coach and decided to leave his corporate job to build Rounding Third, a passion project years in the making.

From his experience with the recruiting process through high school and college, Baker was able to identify the recruiting industry’s need for a more engaging and transparent process. Rounding Third’s mission is to help high school baseball players and their parents understand and excel in the college recruiting process. “Only 11 percent of high schoolers go on to play baseball in college. Georgia is a hotbed of talent- the issue isn’t lack of talent, it’s a lack of knowledge,” said Baker as he explained the origin story of Rounding Third to the 1 Million Cups Cherokee (1MC Cherokee) community on Wednesday.

Baker’s startup stands out from other recruitment platforms for a few reasons, one of them being his target audience — baseball. Rather than attempting to be a consultant for all sports, Baker decided to narrow his audience and specialize in one field.

Rounding Third’s process stands out against other similar models because of Baker’s commitment to creating an individual strategy for each player. Baker’s college experience deems him an expert to guide the players and their families through the process of being scouted and making connections with college teams. The foundation of Rounding Third rests on being more than a platform to host a player’s highlight reel.

“Some challenges that I have are exposure and a sense of urgency. Many parents don’t know this is a service exists and many think they can put it off until senior year.”

Explaining the importance of adding a recruitment coach to the lineup, Baker compared his process to a personal trainer, “Just like everyone knows they have to get healthy, they don’t want to spend the money now and think they can do it themselves, and that they can do it later.” This especially rings true now as college coaches are looking past high school seniors and scout sophomores and juniors instead. Those expecting the senior year to be the time to reach out to college coaches find that scholarships and spots on time have already been claimed.

During the Q&A portion of the presentation, audience members focused on marketing strategies to get Rounding Third in front of the baseball community.

Who is a good fit for your recruitment process?

“We are trying to work with the kids who are looking to continue their life dream of playing baseball. Our ideal client is the Division II or Division III player who has no idea about the Division II or III schools; there are so many schools out there. 42 schools in Georgia offer baseball programs, but only 8 are Division I. We want to help the kids who think since they are not good enough to play at a Division I university, they settle for ending their baseball career after high school instead. There are so many schools that have scholarship money and Rounding Third helps the players connect with them. I’m trying to help the kids who don’t know the options they have.”

1MC Cherokee was honored to have special guest Terry Evans, Atlanta Braves’ Chaplain, in the audience of community supporters and baseball enthusiasts. Evans shared his thoughts on the startup, “I believe that with Rounding Third, Adam is building a bridge that can help many high school athletes keep pursuing a dream that would otherwise end at their graduation.”

 

Free, bi-weekly program developed by the Kauffman Foundation
helps build startup communities nationwide.

To learn more about 1MC or if you are interested in being a presenter, please visit the website to be directed to the application.

If you missed the event you can still access all the fun! All of the 1MC Cherokee events will be live streamed and recorded. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee and check out the presentation here: https://www.1millioncups.com/cherokee

1MC Cherokee will meet at The Circuit – Woodstock on August 15th from 9-10 am and will feature Amanda Denatala of GoWithMe app.