The Elite Eight are coming to Gannon, and it’s sort of a big deal. The Division II NCAA event will be held at the Erie Insurance Arena, and our university is proud to be hosting the event. Take things back to last summer, however, and software engineering Professor Steve Frezza, Ph.D., was just getting started on his brand new project.

The Elite Eight app is currently available for free download on the iTunes App Store (only available through Apple). Its purpose is to act as a center for any and all information regarding the event, including rankings, ticket purchases and even finding places to eat or park.

“I thought 44 was a lot. To see that 94 people downloaded this yesterday feels unreal, especially considering our biggest spike will most likely happen just before the countdown ends,” said Dr. Frezza,

I sat down with Dr. Frezza to discuss the idea’s conception, the work involved and finally, its execution.

“I was approached by two of my students, not being a huge sports person, they explained to me the concept. We had to purchase a license that will be renewed each year for $100, but aside from that charge, it just became a challenge we wanted to take on day and night,” Frezza explained, as he excitedly scrolled through the screenshots (or “scenes”- see photos) from each screen that makes an appearance in the application.

He went on to explain the coding behind each program, a subject that I admittedly am interested in, but not very knowledgeable in. When asked if Dr. Frezza wanted to continue designing apps in the future, he began to explain to me a project he has in mind.

“Over at Cathedral Prep, everything, everything textbook-related anyways, is done on iPads. You can find plenty of math books and chemistry books available, but interestingly enough, nothing regarding theology. Being a subject I’m familiar with, I’d love to get some theology students involved in creating an iPad app that their peers can use on the subject.”

Having played with the Elite Eight app on Dr. Frezza’s test phone, I can attest to the fact that it is close to everything a follower of the event could ask for. From its visual design to the effortless navigation of several menus, it’s not difficult to see why the application has already taken off. At a university where basketball is such a prevalent sport, this is an accomplishment in not only that regard, but as a testament to how bright-minded students and professors can work together as peers and create something like this.

“If one person can use this app to find a parking space, I’ll consider it a success. I’m just proud to see our work finally paying off, especially with the numbers climbing as the countdown keeps ticking,” Dr. Frezza said. With this, it becomes abundantly clear that Dr. Frezza’s group of programmers are off to a strong start on what is sure to be a path to success.