sports 4 days ago

NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund back at Okemos, happy Lions got Patricia

Detroit Free Press — Perry A. Farrell Detroit Free Press

April 16--Since Cynthia Frelund left Okemos High School, she has made National Football League history.

Frelund is the NFL Media's first analytics expert and can be seen on a variety of shows, including "NFL Fantasy Live" and "NFL GameDay Morning" on the NFL Network.

She is scheduled to return to Okemos on Wednesday as the keynote speaker at Career In Sports Night from 7-9 p.m.

Okemos athletic director Ira Childress said the event "provides an opportunity for students who love sports to learn about future academic and career opportunities."

Guests from Michigan State, Michigan, Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, Ferris State and the Lansing State Journal will be speak to students about journalism, broadcasting and sports psychology.

"My message is don't be afraid to fail," she said Monday from Los Angeles. "You have to persevere. If someone tells you no, it means look in another direction."

A Lions fan from a young age, she was more than excited when she heard Matt Patricia's name come up as a possible head coach replacement for Jim Caldwell.

"I didn't want to jinx it, so I didn't let anyone talk about it," Frelund said. "When people were even mentioning that Patricia was a possibility, I needed this to happen. It made me so happy."

Frelund joined the NFL from ESPN, where she was a Predictive Analytics Analyst for two years. Before that, she worked in the NFL's league office for 10 years.

Frelund, 35, graduated from Boston College with a bachelor's degree in Biology in 2005 before receiving her MBA in Finance, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northwestern.

"I think we talk about it more than we used to in the past in terms of using numbers for strategy," Frelund said. "I think (teams) may not call it analytics, but they've done it for awhile now. Some people call it player development. Or personnel or quality control. As far as the Lions go, Matt Patricia is incredibly smart. I was one of those people standing on the table being super excited as a Lions fan when I heard his name was even being circulated."

Contact Perry A. Farrell: pafarrell@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.

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