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hook·and·lad·der n. 1. Business. A research-based consulting firm specializing in the design of creative solutions for emergent issues facing sport organizations. 2. Football. A trick play in American football. If unanticipated, this play puts defenders out of position, running in the wrong direction. If the offensive player catches the lateral in stride, he can be long gone before defenders can react.

The Team

Hook & Ladder is a research-based sports consulting firm founded in Austin, Texas in 2011. We combine industry experience with scientific training to help our clients apply cutting-edge knowledge and research to the types of real-world issues facing sport organizations. We believe in the unique power of sports, but we also know that sport managers are often too busy with the day-to-day stress of running their organizations to be able to keep up with the latest advancements. Hook & Ladder exists to connect the people in the field with the developments in the laboratory.

The Players

Dr. Matt Bowers

matt@hooknladder.com

Principal
University Of Florida - BS, MA
University of Texas - PhD

Dr. Tolga Ozyurtcu

tolga@hooknladder.com

Principal
Haverford College - BS
University of Texas - MS, PhD

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Dr. Matt Bowers Principal
matt@hooknladder.com @mattbowersphd

I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where my parents still reside. I decided to forego the Ivy League route to study sport management at the University of Florida because my passion was always to study sport and UF does sport on as big a scale as anyone - you do not go to the symphony to study hip-hop. While earning my bachelors and masters degrees from UF (2001-2007), I also worked with the athletic department for a number of years, doing football recruiting, basketball scouting, and ending up the Director of Scouting as a Grad Assistant for the women's basketball program. I co-founded an AAU basketball program in Gainesville and coached its highest-level team for a few seasons.

In 2007, I began my sport management doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in sport development. After earning my Ph.D. in August of 2011, I joined the UT sport management faculty, where I currently teach courses in managing sport organizations, strategy, marketing, sport development, and qualitative research methods. Currently, I publish research in the area of sport development, which is basically the science of understanding how sport organizations can engineer systems, programs, and policies that will develop better elite athletes and reach more recreational athletes. Specifically, I examine how settings like pick-up sports and playing sports video games, which typically fall outside of the parameters of our organized sport- based development approaches, may actually provide both elite and recreational athletes with significant outcomes. I also consider the development of creativity and innovation in and through sport at both the individual and organizational levels. Combined, these areas of interest help me to understand new and innovative means of addressing the issues facing sport organizations.

I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where my parents still reside. I decided to forego the Ivy League route to study sport management at the University of Florida because my passion was always to study sport and UF does sport on as big a scale as anyone - you do not go to the symphony to study hip-hop. While earning my bachelors and masters degrees from UF (2001-2007), I also worked with the athletic department for a number of years, doing football recruiting, basketball scouting, and ending up the Director of Scouting as a Grad Assistant for the women's basketball program. I co-founded an AAU basketball program in Gainesville and coached its highest-level team for a few seasons.

In 2007, I began my sport management doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in sport development. After earning my Ph.D. in August of 2011, I joined the UT sport management faculty, where I currently teach courses in managing sport organizations, strategy, marketing, sport development, and qualitative research methods. Currently, I publish research in the area of sport development, which is basically the science of understanding how sport organizations can engineer systems, programs, and policies that will develop better elite athletes and reach more recreational athletes. Specifically, I examine how settings like pick-up sports and playing sports video games, which typically fall outside of the parameters of our organized sport- based development approaches, may actually provide both elite and recreational athletes with significant outcomes. I also consider the development of creativity and innovation in and through sport at both the individual and organizational levels. Combined, these areas of interest help me to understand new and innovative means of addressing the issues facing sport organizations.

What I love about the sports industry: The cyclical nature of sport seasons. Where else in life do you get such closure and such consistent opportunity for re-invention. Growing up a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan in the 80s and early 90s, I learned to love the renewed hope brought by "next season."

Best youth sports team name from my childhood playing days: The Optimist Club of Dunedin (team sponsor) - The irony? We were not very good, nor did we keep a very positive outlook.

Favorite sports movie: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. We can argue the "sportiness" of playing for the Donkey Kong world championship, but you won't win.

My perfect day in Austin: Kayaking on the lake in the morning before it gets too hot. Catching a matinee screening at the Alamo Drafthouse. Having a picnic with my wife and two dogs at dusk on the Capitol lawn. Heading to Ginny's Little Longhorn to end the night listening to some authentic Texas honkytonk.

If I could've played on any championship team in history: Part of me says the 2002 Super Bowl-winning Bucs team, but I don't know that I could have played for Jon Gruden after Tony Dungy. Although I was pretty close to the action for the last few Gators football and basketball championships, I think it would've been awesome to be on the 1996 football team under the Ol' Ball Coach.

Best position in sports: When it is played well, there is nothing more beautiful than the Point Guard position in basketball.

Being a Floridian means... Listening to Californians (Tolga, ahem) insecurely whine about how much better California is than Florida.

In 4th grade I was... Fat, but loveably so. I rocked a pretty clean hip hop-oriented wardrobe and began cultivating a nerdcore image that still serves me well today.

In 7th grade I was... Less fat, but less lovable. I transitioned into a beach-bum phase that required wearing a lot of flip-flops, board shorts, and Guayaberas, and listening to a mind-numbing amount of Jimmy Buffet.

In 11th grade I was... Dawson from Dawson's Creek (references provided upon request).

The Friday Night Lights character I most identify with is... Matt Saracen. I was always a better boyfriend than football player.

Dr. Tolga Ozyurtcu Principal
tolga@hooknladder.com @tolgao

My amazing parents came to California from Turkey in 1979, and I was spoiled enough to be born (in 1983) and raised by the beach in Los Angeles. I studied political science at Haverford College, a small, liberal arts college just outside of Philly. I graduated from Haverford in 2005, then spent the next three years working for the family travel business and coaching high school soccer. I'm not sure if there are proper records for this sort of thing, but I am likely one of the most dominant Junior Varsity coaches of all time. Just sayin'.

I moved to Austin in 2008 to start graduate school. I have an MS in Sport Management from The University of Texas at Austin, a PhD in Physical Culture and Sport Studies, also at UT. In 2014, I joined the faculty at the UT sport management program, where I teach courses in management, sociology, philosophy, and media. My research focuses on a number of ways in which sports and society interact, with three areas being of particular interest. My main area of interest is the organization and development of sporting subcultures, such as fan groups and participant communities.I am also interested in the use of sport as a policy tool, investigating the ways in which sport can be employed for social and economic development at local, domestic, and international levels. Lastly, I study the growth and use of social and new media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the impact these media can have for sporting organizations. Through these diverse lenses I can provide a unique perspective for the sporting organization interested in innovative and efficient methods for connecting with customers and other stakeholders.

My amazing parents came to California from Turkey in 1979, and I was spoiled enough to be born (in 1983) and raised by the beach in Los Angeles. I studied political science at Haverford College, a small, liberal arts college just outside of Philly. I graduated from Haverford in 2005, then spent the next three years working for the family travel business and coaching high school soccer. I'm not sure if there are proper records for this sort of thing, but I am likely one of the most dominant Junior Varsity coaches of all time. Just sayin'.

I moved to Austin in 2008 to start graduate school. I have an MS in Sport Management from The University of Texas at Austin, a PhD in Physical Culture and Sport Studies, also at UT. In 2014, I joined the faculty at the UT sport management program, where I teach courses in management, sociology, philosophy, and media. My research focuses on a number of ways in which sports and society interact, with three areas being of particular interest. My main area of interest is the organization and development of sporting subcultures, such as fan groups and participant communities.I am also interested in the use of sport as a policy tool, investigating the ways in which sport can be employed for social and economic development at local, domestic, and international levels. Lastly, I study the growth and use of social and new media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the impact these media can have for sporting organizations. Through these diverse lenses I can provide a unique perspective for the sporting organization interested in innovative and efficient methods for connecting with customers and other stakeholders.

What I love about the sports industry: sports and games are the closest thing we will ever have to a universal language. Sports offer us an opportunity to foster understanding across cultures and borders, while still having a lot of fun.

Best youth sports team name from my childhood playing days: Hands down: The Snot Rockets. Neon green jerseys matched the neon green nose pad in my Rec-Specs.

Favorite sports movie: Victory. For so many reasons.

My perfect day in Austin: Breakfast tacos at lunch time. Buying books at Bookpeople or records at End of an Ear. Sneaking into the pool at ______ (not telling). Closing down an east Austin bar with a patio.

If I could've played on any championship team in history: Tie: 88 Lakers or 2000 Galatasaray Turkish League/UEFA Cup/Super Cup winners.

Best position in sports: What do they call the broom guy in curling? I'll be true to myself and say any goalkeeper/goaltender. Death or Glory.

Being a Californian means: Eating your burritos wet, putting avocado on everything, and constantly coping with the jealousy of the rest of the country.

In 4th grade I was.. Rocking a bowl cut, listening to Snow and Dr. Dre, and skateboarding everyday after school.

In 7th grade I was... A budding punk rocker, never without my Walkman, and insistent on wearing Doc Martens and a flight jacket year round.

In 11th grade I was... Spending too much time with my first serious girlfriend, driving endless hours on the California freeways to obscure concerts in tiny venues, and going vegetarian. 17 year olds are admirable, but not very smart.

Advice I would give the 16 year old me... Slow down. But only a little bit. Also: acquire less useless stuff.

The Friday Night Lights character I most identify with is... Landry. I sympathize with the trials and tribulations of starting a misunderstood straight edge hardcore band.

Matt
Matt
Tolga
Tolga

The Playbook

We tailor our offerings to meet the specific needs of your organization and/or project, so our "playbook" depends a great deal on what can be of the most help to you. One of the major advantages that Hook & Ladder offers is the fact that our range of expertise is broader than traditional consulting firms. As a result of our intensive training and experience in conducting analytic research, we have the ability to design, measure, analyze, and evaluate everything from quantitative projects (utilizing, for example, questionnaires) to qualitative projects (centered on, for example, conducting focus groups)…and just about everything in between. Not only do we offer a diverse range of research skills, but we also bring to the table the ability to consult in many different areas from marketing and branding to program design and evaluation. Below are some fancy words for some of the services we offer. If you do not see something that addresses your specific needs or you are not sure where to begin, just contact us and ask. We are committed to helping you and your organization, and we work to make our skills fit your needs.

  • Design, implementation, and evaluation of uniquely tailored sports programs
  • Developing training materials and programs for educating parents, referees, and/or coaches
  • Quantitative analytics and qualitative methodologies
  • Branding through deep media immersion, social media, and transmedia storytelling
  • Social engineering through developing consumer culture and subcultural identification
  • Coordinate leveraging and cross-leveraging of events and partnerships
  • Policy analysis and formulation