Pete, '99, MBA'00, and Sheryl (Klick) Strobl, '00: Kindred Spirits
April 9, 2014 by Lisa M. McMahon, M.A.'09
Drive, focus, ambition. It's what Pete Strobl, '99, MBA'00, fosters in the young players he works with at The Scoring Factory, a training facility he established in 2009. It's what first attracted him to his wife, Sheryl (Klick), '00, with whom he's traveled the world and is raising four children. And it's what started him on his journey in the first place.
Growing up in Los Angeles, watching arguably the best basketball team at that time, the Lakers, young Pete set his sights on becoming an NBA basketball player. When college offers began coming in, he chose the Division I school that was farthest from his home because of the new experiences it could present. That school was Niagara University.
Meanwhile, Sheryl was choosing between college offers herself for both basketball and soccer. She felt comfortable with the coaching staff and sensed a chance to earn playing time early on at Niagara, and because the school was “just far enough away” from her home in Pittsburgh, Pa., yet close enough that her parents could come to see her play, she opted to attend college on Monteagle Ridge.
As business majors and basketball players, Pete and Sheryl had similar schedules and their paths would frequently cross in the classroom and the gym. But their friendship took a while to develop.
“Pete was the driven guy who read the Wall Street Journal at the cafeteria while he ate and was always doing a project or working in the library,” Sheryl recalls. “He wasn't one of those guys that you really got to know quickly unless you were also doing whatever it was that he was involved in.”
Over time, they discovered that they were kindred spirits ”“ both very focused on working hard to achieve their goals, both interested in seeing how far their basketball careers could progress. They became friends and, as they got to know each other better, their friendship blossomed into romance.
This relationship was tested shortly after graduation, when both Pete and Sheryl were signed to play basketball overseas, he in France and she in Turkey. Over the next several years, they went on to play for teams throughout Europe, including the UK, Austria, and Germany. The long-distance relationship was challenging, Pete admits, but their commitment to each other enabled them to make it work. Eventually, they got engaged and were married in July 2004.
Pete and Sheryl continued their successful basketball careers for several years. In 2007, while they were playing for teams in Austria, their first son, Pete Jr., was born. Sheryl completed her contract before retiring from professional basketball, while Pete went on to play for teams in Ireland, Iceland, and Switzerland. In late 2008, they returned to the United States, settling in Pittsburgh where they could be close to Sheryl's family.
His “European adventure” satisfied some of his wanderlust. Now, Pete had to make a plan for the next stage in his life.
He soon discovered that there was a demand in the Pittsburgh area for someone who could provide training for basketball players. He began doing private training, and then led group clinics, which evolved into The Scoring Factory, a high-intensity basketball skills development academy. The venture enabled him to combine his experience as a basketball professional with his business education and put his MBA to use.
“I took a large leap and made some sacrifices along the way to start my own business,” Pete says. “We started small and had a lot of luck along the way. We have worked exceptionally hard behind the scenes to make sure it grows but still stays true to the initial plan of what I wanted it to be.”
The Scoring Factory offers training clinics, private training, and group sessions throughout the year for basketball players who run the gamut from middle school students to professional players. Many have gone on to play for top basketball programs at the collegiate and professional levels. Athletes from other sports, such as football and track, also take advantage of the speed and agility training The Scoring Factory provides. This mix of athletes fosters a motivational environment and relationships that span beyond the court.
“There's a lot of camaraderie between the older and younger players,” Pete says. “It feels like a family to them. It's nice when you have a foundation like that, a support system that's always there for you.”
Sheryl is part of The Scoring Factory team as well, although she balances her involvement with raising the couple's growing family, which, in addition to Pete Jr., now includes sons Kaiser and Bastien, and daughter, Vienika, who was born in March.
“Sheryl is a big part of what we do,” Pete says. “She is exceptionally driven and it's nice for young girls to see that success is possible, through hard work, dedication and a strong desire to make it happen.”
“We take a lot of satisfaction in seeing the look of joy and accomplishment on the many young players that come through The Scoring Factory as they learn and improve,” Sheryl says. “It's a very rewarding experience and it feels really good to give back to the next generation.”
In addition to his work with The Scoring Factory, Pete recently released a book, Backspin, which chronicles his journey from Monteagle Ridge to Europe to Pittsburgh, taking a humorous and inspirational look at the playing career of a professional athlete. Released in March, it is available as a paperback or ebook through Amazon.
Drive, focus and ambition have served Pete and Sheryl well, and they share this philosophy with the athletes they train as well as their children. However, time and experience have inspired them to add an additional principle to these ideals, one that they have taken to heart: Enjoy the journey.