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Ken Massey

Ken Massey

Ken Massey's number one professional priority is now, and will continue to be, to teach mathematics. However, an avocational interest in the combination of mathematics and sports has led him into a side profession where he has great influence in selecting the NCAA college football champion each year.

Ken Massey has always striven to be the best possible instructor of mathematics that he can be. As such, he would always try to find material that excited his mathematics students. He found a great enthusiasm from the students in his classes for mathematical examples that came from sports. Ken has found appealing sports examples in such mathematical areas as linear algebra, statistics, dynamical systems, graph theory, and numerical analysis. Moreover, Ken himself became immersed in combining such analyses into a procedure to rate one athletic team against another. When he consolidated his various analyses, he developed a rating system called the Massey Ratings, whose web homepage can be found at www.masseyratings.com. At this site one can find comparative ratings in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, racing, soccer, lacrosse, golf, and bowling. In particular, his rating service is one of the ones used by the Bowl Championship Series to determine which two teams play for the NCAA football championship each year. While the mathematics of sports rating is not part of Ken's formal research, he states that, "The rating hobby has broadened my interests so that I now see overlaps. Similar methods are being used in economics and information retrieval, making the study of rating systems as valuable as it is entertaining." Ken has also learned that "intuitions derived from sports often have parallels in mainstream applications."

Ken is finishing his PhD in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, and then he will become a tenure-track Mathematics faculty member at Hollins College.