Maryann Baker

Director of Operations
Mississippi State University

What are some of the ways you see technology influencing basketball operations and coaching?

Technology, and social media in particular, have had a big influence on the way teams approach things like recruiting. It’s also changing how they interact with their kids on campus. All of the kids have smartphones, and coaches and staff are adapting to reach kids where they are. That will continue to have a major impact.

What were you looking for in a system?

The ideal system was just that itself – a system. We wanted everything centralized. We wanted one place where everyone could go to find the information they need. We’re a young program, and we have young people in our program who were willing to be open-minded to a software like Teamworks. It was just kind of a perfect storm of everything coming together.

What were the parts of Teamworks you first used as you were getting started?

We started with messaging and calendar. Those were the primary needs of our program, and those are also the easiest parts of the software to use. Several different parts of our program, especially athletic training, have started using them as well. As we got into the season, I started really using travel. For me, in ops, travel and messaging are the biggest assets Teamworks offers.

What are some of the benefits you’ve seen from Teamworks Travel?

As with the rest of the system, every aspect of that travel platform integrates with the other sections. For instance, I can use the forms feature to collect meal forms, or I can save the itinerary or anything else in the files section. Travel is where it all starts, and then it moves through some of the other tabs in the system that interact with travel.

The biggest thing for me was using the itinerary, especially the template for the itinerary. I also like that I can store some of the vendors that I have, especially for some of our SEC schools. Again, this is a new program, so we just this year ended up visiting every single school in the SEC. Now that I have used Teamworks for a year, and saved all of that information, I’ll be able to continue to add to that as we go back to some of those same schools.

It also cuts down on having to make separate phone calls for every single person. When we travel, it’s not just the team and coaches that are going. There are other people – radio, TV, bus drivers, etc. Being able to just blast out a message that says, “Hey, guys. This information is here” or “The order form is ready,” is really convenient. It definitely helps all of the players, and the travel party, become accustomed to know where to go to look for information.

How have your athletes and other staff members responded to using Teamworks?

It’s been very, very good. With Teamworks in general, having everything in one location and being able to access it at any time, no matter where you are, has been very helpful for everybody. I think a lot of people even outside of our immediate program appreciate that because they don’t have to go out of their way to get information back to us. It’s just right there in their hand. They can text it back or do whatever we need them to.

What would you say to other programs that haven’t heard of Teamworks? Would you recommend Teamworks to other programs?

I would say we were completely disorganized and now within a calendar year we have over 35 people in our system, and 20 of them are using it and relying on it daily. That shows how easy it is to use and how reliable it can be. It’s well worth the money. Our program covers ages 18-62, and if that age gap can make use of it, then I’d say pretty much anyone can.

What are you looking forward to most next season?

We’re looking to continue streamlining as much as possible. As with pretty much any other program, we have new athletes and staff members coming in, and we have old ones leaving. There’s that constant turnover that is normal – and a good thing – in the world of athletics. You always have the ability to learn from new people and see what does and does not work, and I think that’s exciting in a way. Beyond that, we’re looking forward to just streamlining the features that we did use and making the best use of the entire software.