Managing made easy

New software developed by a local sports enthusiast can help baseball and softball managers make the right strategic decisions.

By JAMES McWILLIAMS
Times Technology Writer
A Huntsville sporting-goods dealer has developed new software for managing baseball and softball teams.

 Steve Rousseau's ``Team Manager'' software tracks statistics about players, teams and opponents that help coaches set lineups, chart pitchers and reveal characteristics about the opposing teams.

 ``One player may say, `I have a higher batting average,' but you can see that another player gets on base more, and has more runs,'' said Rousseau. ``To do all these statistics by hand would take hours, but (with ``Team Manager'') the average person can get a whole team's stats in eight to 10 minutes.''

 The software is easy to learn and use, and very accurate, said Rodney Renfroe, president of the softball booster club for Bob Jones High School and coach of the teen-age Huntsville Sharks team.

 ``Team Manager'' can keep track of players' addresses, phone numbers, playing positions and physical characteristics. The program can even schedule more than a century of games and practices -- assuming enough players live to participate.

 Rousseau has sold sporting equipment for 17 years. He got the idea of developing sports software two years ago, and he has invested more than $10,000 into the baseball CD-ROM.

 ``It's close to $100,000 if you count my time,'' Rousseau said.

 Actual work creating software took about a year. Rousseau collaborated with about a half-dozen people, including computer programmers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, to create and test the software. Rousseau is mass producing copies of the software at Huntsville's Disc Manufacturing Inc.

 Rousseau's Quik-Tek Software developed the program for Microsoft's Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. ``Team Manager'' originally was conceived for the MS-DOS system and was to have been compatible with Windows 3.1, but the software industry is gradually abandoning those platforms, Rousseau said.

 Also, ``Team Manager'' versions that used older operating systems proved a bit buggy, said Rousseau.

 Although Team Manager 1.0 is Rousseau's first original software package, it is not his first computer-related project. Rousseau is already the host of ``Alabama Sports Online'' on both WTKI-AM and the Internet. Archived shows can be heard at any time on the Internet's World Wide Web, at the electronic address http://www.r-sports.com.

 Rousseau hopes to make Quik-Tek Software the most lucrative part of Rousseau's Sporting Goods & Awards Inc. Sports programs at high schools and colleges are just beginning to computerize, and few programs like Team Manager are available, Rousseau said.

 Some stores in Alabama, Tennessee and Florida already have agreed to purchase copies of ``Team Manager,'' but Quik-Tek also is promoting ``Team Manager'' to major distributors of sports equipment.

 Summer is when those distributors start choosing products to market for next spring's baseball season, Rousseau said. As retailers express interest in certain products, distributors order them in bulk from suppliers like Quik-Tek.

 If ``Team Manager'' proves successful, Rousseau hopes to translate the software into Spanish and Japanese to capitalize on baseball's popularity in Latin America and Japan.

 He also wants to create software programs for managing basketball and soccer statistics, exercise programs and automotive maintenance. Rousseau is looking for venture capital to support some of these other projects.
 
 

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