College and university athletics programs represent a massive industry in the United States, and Sean Devlin saw a vacuum in that industry. The young entrepreneur noticed that, at the time, there was no platform on the market that handled athletics recruiting programs at these institutions—things like tracking sports recruitment stats, handling communications, tracking athlete performance, and other important data.

Sean realized that a digital platform could revolutionize the college athletics recruiting industry, and that’s when the idea for Front Rush was born. He turned to Net Solutions to build the platform, and today Front Rush remains the leader in the field.

We have worked with NetSolutions for many years. We have used them for projects ranging from backend databases, to frontend HTML, to mobile development and everything in between. We will continue to work with them for a long time simply because of the quality of service. This is really our number one priority and requirement.

Sean Devlin

Sean Devlin

Founder, Front Rush Front Rush
Could Net Solutions Help Disrupt an Establish Industry?

Could Net Solutions Help Disrupt an Establish Industry?

When Sean Devlin came up with the idea for Front Rush after college, he approached Net Solutions, since he had worked with them on several projects as a student. Based on his experience, he knew Net Solutions had a capable team. But could they work with him to build a product that would disrupt collegiate athletic recruiting, changing the face of the industry forever?

In order to fully appreciate what Sean and his partners at Net Solutions were up against, it’s important to understand the state of the college athletics recruiting industry at the time.

At the time, athletics recruiting staff at academic institutions:

  • Used mostly manual processes for recruiting and tracking athlete data
  • All electronic data came in a variety of formats
  • Any centralized information was unreliable and inconsistent, and miscommunication was rampant
  • Had inconsistent processes that varied wildly from one institution to the next
  • Missed out on potential talent when the schools lacked consistent processes and experienced leaders running the show

The need was there, but in order to convince a more than 100-year-old industry to adopt a more modern approach to entrenched processes, they needed to build a product that was powerful, highly usable, and genuinely unforgettable.

We tried Net Solutions out on a smaller project, which gave us a ton of confidence to use them on the bigger stuff.

Sean Devlin

Sean Devlin

Founder, Front Rush Front Rush

Building the Proof of Concept

The Front Rush platform needed to address the core problems athletics departments faced, and it all started with a Proof of Concept (PoC) to be tested on real members of the target market. At the time, Gmail was relatively new and smartphones didn’t yet exist, so adoption was hardly guaranteed. The concept of web-based software was new, and there was no guarantee that coaches and athletics recruiters would even be able to fully appreciate its benefits.

The PoC was met with excitement, paving the way for work on the full product.

Expanding Pageant Planet’s Features

Going All-in on the Core Product

Based on the positive feedback, Front Rush and Net Solutions began work on the core product—a system for managing athletics recruitment and admissions.

The core product would allow recruiting staff to:

Eventually, the final product would come to employ comprehensive interaction tracking with Splunk and included a Gmail plug-in to log communications. A templating and scheduling engine would allow all outgoing email to conform to each institution’s branding guidelines and provide workflows with automated email deliveries.

Pooling Data from a Range of Systems, in a Number of Formats

For the platform to provide exceptional value, the system needed to import data from schools across the country. Front Rush did the legwork to convince schools across the country to access their data, and Net Solutions built a mechanism to import the data from a variety of sources (e.g., proprietary API’s, CSV’s, text files). Later, they implemented integration for UA—a professional service that collects and provides data to subscribers.

For those colleges and universities that subscribe to UA data, Net Solutions integrated their API to retrieve and transform data, removing duplicates and updating the Front Rush database in bulk.

Beyond Recruiting: Managing Athlete Data

The other essential element of the platform is that it allows coaches to manage athletes throughout their tenure at an institution. In other words, it tracks:

In terms of compliance, Front Rush has a dedicated compliance review area that provides a drill-down reporting interface for the Compliance team. The team can filter compliance data based on different criteria, including compliance level, disciplines, rosters, and more. This allows them to identify and then communicate with the athletes through email and SMS, monitoring all potential compliance issues.

Lastly, Front Rush wanted to help institutions keep in touch with alumni and track their achievements. Net Solutions extended the core platform to include a separate module for tracking, establishing contact, and maintaining and developing relationships with alumni athletes. Staff can continue to add notes detailing achievements and other important information about alumni.

Expanding and Adapting over the Years

Front Rush’s relationship with Net Solutions exists to this day, and it spans more than a decade and a half of collaboration. As the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry expanded, so did the use of web-based software across multiple devices. Net Solutions was there to help Front Rush maintain their position as an industry leader by building mobile apps and updating the underlying technology with newer, better technology.

Mobile Apps

When Net Solutions developed the first edition of Front Rush, smartphones did not exist. After the introduction of the iPhone, however, it became clear that in order to provide the best possible solution, Front Rush needed to be available on mobile devices. Net Solutions spearheaded this initiative, creating native apps for a variety of smartphone platforms so Front Rush users could connect to the system from anywhere.

Technology Update

Technology changes constantly, and new programming languages become available that render old ones obsolete. In order to create a seamless system that remained relevant to the market, Front Rush relied on Net Solutions to evaluate, implement, and upgrade their systems.

The initial software was written largely in .NET 4.0, with some pieces written in Ruby on Rails. Eventually, Net Solutions updated the entire system to .NET Core. This ensured that the code was optimized and modern, and it reduced maintenance costs by building a future-ready, homogeneous development stack.

I appreciate the Net Solutions team’s effort in learning the .NET Core framework. I know that learning new frameworks can be challenging, and their ability to work with the new framework was very impressive! I am happy to have them as partners and look forward to continuing to work with them!

Mike Cottenden

Mike Cottenden

Product Manager, Front Rush Front Rush

Merging with ACS Athletics

Several years ago, Front Rush merged with ACS Athletics, which continued to use the Front Rush brand. ACS rebranded their own software as “Front Rush Elite,” which was built and maintained by a different team. After the merger, there were two teams working on two different products, and the management could then evaluate how the two teams worked.

The new Front Rush management had to deal with major problems in the Front Rush Elite product, while Front Rush (built and maintained by Net Solutions) had almost no issues. When comparing notes on the two products, management also realized that in the previous year, Front Rush had seen no major bugs reported, and customer satisfaction ratings were high. They attributed this to Net Solutions’ development practices and commitment to quality.

That’s when the new management decided to hire Net Solutions to take over further development and maintenance of Front Rush Elite as well. Impressed by their performance on both products, the Front Rush management continues to work with Net Solutions to this day.

Today, Front Rush Elite is used by over 30,000 coaches from more than 9,500 teams across the United States.

Merging with ACS Athletics

Net Solutions is our outsourcing partner. They really focus on customers and understand their business objectives. We’ve worked with them for over 10 years and they have really done an outstanding job for us. They consistently exceed our expectations despite being in separate time zones.

Sean Devlin

Sean Devlin

Founder, Front Rush Front Rush

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