Josh Harris bought the Washington Commanders in July and wasted no time bringing it up to speed in the analytics world. Shortly after his $6.05 billion purchase of the franchise, Harris began wooing respected analytics mind Eugene Shen.
The months-long courtship finally culminated in the Commanders hiring Shen to be their new senior vice president of football strategy.
In that role, he will oversee analytics and software development across coaching, personnel and administration. Shen will start on Nov. 6 and report directly to head coach Ron Rivera.
"It's an exciting time to be joining this legendary franchise, and I look forward to working with Coach Rivera and the front office to help shape the vision of the franchise going forward," Shen said in the Commanders' press release. "I have immense respect for the hard work that coaches and talent evaluators put into roster construction, team building and game strategy, and I believe that an increase in resources will provide further tools to inform the decisions we make as a franchise going forward as part of the ongoing work to become the best in the NFL."
Shen now joins Washington's analytics team, which includes Doug Drewry (football analytics coordinator), Preston Biro (football data scientist), Seenu Tulluri (director of football solutions) and Gayatri Nambiar (football solutions developer).
Washington is bringing Shen into the fold after he spent a year away from football as a derivatives analyst at Millennium Management Global Investment. Prior to that, Shen was the vice president of football analytics for the Jacksonville Jaguars, director of personnel analytics for the Miami Dolphins (2019-2021), and director of coaching analytics in his final years with the Baltimore Ravens (2014-2019). As he will do with the Commanders, Shen worked in tandem with Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
After graduating from Harvard (1993) with his bachelor's degree in applied math/economics, Shen received his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT in 1998. The co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sports Analytics has returned to his alma mater to present at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2011 and 2012.
"Bringing Eugene's level of expertise to lead our analytics and software development enables us to build on our data capabilities to help inform decision making," Rivera said in a statement. "Eugene brings a great deal of practical NFL experience, and we look forward to bringing him into our conversations about the vision of our team going forward. The willingness of our ownership group to follow through on their pledge to allocate resources to data and analytics is exciting for the future of the franchise."