Life after sports needs a Game Plan

By October 4, 2017 No Comments

Game Plan has recently been featured in Greenville’s Daily Reflector Tech and Business Section. In “Life after sport needs a Game Plan” Michael Abramowitz highlights founder and CEO Vin McCaffrey and our recent partnership with Major League Baseball. Please see the full article below:


Life after sports needs a game plan 

By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Greenville tech entrepreneur and former collegiate athlete hit a business home run last week, striking a deal with Major League Baseball to use the software platform his company developed to provide post-career transition services to Major League and Minor League players.

Vin McCaffrey, 42, a Division-I basketball player and 1998 graduate in international studies from Lehigh University, founded his company, Game Plan, here in 2008 and was joined by fellow Lehigh alum and former Major League (Angels and Twins) pitcher Paul Hartzell, who also has built software-based companies and had been on the board of directors of Major League Alumni Marketing.

“Truth be told, we’re just getting into the professional athletics realm with the Major League Baseball agreement,” McCaffrey said. “But our roots are in college athletics, particularly the Division-I level.”

McCaffrey originally started Game Plan to help student-athletes better prepare for their careers. Although discipline is a significant factor, there is no single detail that pinpoints the ability of student-athletes to find success, he said.

“We know that young people who transition from college to the next level of their lives have already received a great deal of input, feedback and coaching — constructive and, in some instances very harsh and direct — on how to get better,” McCaffrey said. “At some point you start to realize that the coach and you are on the same page. It becomes part of your routine, including your class work and you learn how to use it to get better. By the time they graduate, these student-athletes have developed many horizontally transferrable skills, including work ethic, time management and teamwork.”

Hartzell, 64, now an equity partner in Game Plan, told The Daily Reflector via phone that McCaffrey first came to his attention not as a software platform specialist, but as a job placement specialist who works almost exclusively with college athletes.

“It had everything to do with me needing a particular type of salesperson and Vin being able to deliver those people from as far away as a rugby player in Australia who worked for me in three different companies, to people in Europe who also fit our profile,” Hartzell said.

McCaffrey asked Hartzell, who has strong engineering and business experience, to sit on his board. The irony inherent in professional sports is what makes Game Plan so valuable to major league franchises, he said.

“To be successful as a pro, you have to believe in your heart that it will never end,” Hartzell said. “You can’t believe it will end.”

Professional organizations that want their athletes to succeed after sports know better, so they welcome the Game Plan platform.

Game Plan succeeds for athletes because it lays out for them in manageable, tablet-based bites, the measurements of where they are, what their goal is and what they have to do to get there, just as it was through their development and careers, McCaffrey and Hartzell said.

“It’s easy to say to an incoming ECU student-athlete, ‘The goal is graduation,’ but four years have to occur before that happens, so what do I do tomorrow?” McCaffrey said. “It’s not the fact that they graduate, it’s the grind they go through to get there that creates those transferrable skills.”

Although he realized while in college that he didn’t have a future in the NBA, McCaffrey had developed a passion for the student-athlete experience that never left him. He entered a sales management training program with Lexmark, then transitioned to the Marwood Group, a health care business advisory and consulting company headed by former UNC-Chapel Hill lacrosse player John Moore and Ted Kennedy Jr.

While with Marwood, McCaffrey began work on his MBA through Indiana University. He was recruited by Ricoh while he finished his master’s work. It was then that he developed his first notions about the Game Plan idea.

“I realized I was much more entrepreneurial than I had previously thought,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey first visited Greenville after his brother-in-law, Brett Schemerhorn, an executive with the Hyster-Yale Group, and his wife moved down here about 10 years ago.

“It seemed wonderful here,” he said. “We built a house across from Brett and it’s been great for for us. I had a hunkering to start the business and it all came together for us here.”

McCaffrey and Hartzell have a game plan for their own success. They will be making an announcement in 45 days or so about another major league deal, they said.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9507.

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