by Colton Campbell
When it comes to leveraging his expertise and interests into a career, one University of West Georgia graduate really knocks it out of the park.
Blake McLemore, a former standout infielder and pitcher on the UWG Wolves baseball team who graduated in 2013 with a degree in business management from the Richards College of Business, has launched a mobile application that connects adults and parents of youth athletes with local, active college athletes for in-person sports lessons.
McLemore – who designed the Train Collegiate (Train Co. for short) app – said his new job as CEO and founder is the perfect combination of three areas of his life.
“There’s an incredible, entrepreneurial spirit at UWG in which students are empowered to chase their dreams and make them a reality,” said McLemore, who graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law after graduating from UWG. “Sports, business and law have come together to make me the person – and the business owner – I am today, and that really started at UWG.”
McLemore designed the Train Co. app to provide new, meaningful opportunities for both college and youth athletes. Availability of the app’s full range of services is limited to a few select markets right now, but McLemore's vision is to take the service nationwide.
When used as built, the app is fully National Collegiate Athletic Association compliant and ensures that all college athletes have been background-checked before appointments are made with younger athletes. Parents search in the app by sport and location, and the app allows them to send lesson requests to matching athletes.
Once you’re matched, the app handles it all – lesson scheduling, in-app messaging and secure payment processing. The app automatically generates necessary NCAA documents for each lesson, which maintains the student athlete’s eligibility.
A member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the Richards College of Business honors society, McLemore was also named captain of the UWG baseball team and earned all-academic honors from the Gulf South Conference.
McLemore grew up in Harris County, three counties south of UWG. When he tried out for the UWG baseball team, he was signed as a pitcher that same day.
“Coming from a small town, it was great to attend a school in a place that also had that tight-knit community feel,” McLemore said. “I established some lifelong connections while I was here that have been beneficial as we’ve launched this business.”
The idea for Train Co. was born while McLemore was in law school, with the finished produce launching in the App Store in November 2018.
McLemore used his business acumen and legal background to dive into the NCAA regulations and interpret them in a business-minded way that would allow Train Co. to carve its way into the market.
“When I was a youth athlete, I took private lessons from older athletes who were pretty far removed from their time playing the sport,” McLemore said. “I know it would have meant more to me as a middle-schooler to establish a relationship with someone I could actually watch play on the weekends.”
It’s mutually beneficial for the college athletes, too, because they earn some money and hone their athletic skill at the same time.
“College athletes are living, eating and breathing their sport, so they know all of the new techniques and optimal ways of performing,” McLemore said. “A lot of them devote so much time to their sport and education, they don’t have time to work other jobs. This is something I would have taken advantage of in a heartbeat if it had existed when I was in college.”
McLemore said what separates Train Co. from any other lesson-scheduling app is that he and his team personally presented the app to the NCAA Bylaw 12 team of rule experts and confirmed that the app, as designed, complies with NCAA regulations, allowing college athletes a compliant opportunity to connect with and mentor youth athletes in their area.
Not only does the app promise to improve the deftness of youth in their particular sport – it will enhance the college athletes’ skills in their arenas of choice, as well.
“I’ve found, through being taught and teaching myself, that instructing someone on how best to do something always makes you better in that area,” McLemore said. “That applies to everything from the baseball field to the boardroom. I’m so excited that, thanks in part to the education I received at UWG, I’m able to show the passion I have for teaching the younger generations in such a meaningful way.”
Train Co. supports all NCAA sports – from bowling to fencing, field hockey to water polo – except rifle. To learn more about or download the app, visit www.TrainCollegiate.com, and to stay up to date on their progress, follow them on Facebook (@TrainCollegiate).Posted on