If you’ve been around our website for a little while you’re no stranger to D3sports.com — or more importantly it’s news sites: D3football, D3hoops, D3baseball, D3soccer, and (most recently) D3hockey. Or you’re a message board follower and you’re on D3boards.com or D3blogs.com.
Did you know there’s also D3jobs.com for people looking for employment at the Division III level and elsewhere? We helped make that site happen, and the others, thanks to the CoSIDA 2013 Jake Wade awardee, Pat Coleman.
We wouldn’t be doing what we do today if it weren’t for Pat and his labor of love. I’ve been involved with the site since 1998 when I first put the graphics together for the discussion boards Posting Up (basketball) and Post Patterns (football), but in the spring of 2002 I came on staff full time as the application and web developer for the two websites. It was rocky at first – I had no experience in the area prior to my 21st birthday that spring but Pat was willing to take the chance to push forward and try something new. The first few versions of the interface weren’t pretty but he stuck through it and we ended up bringing D3football and D3hoops under a new standard and eventually launched D3baseball and D3soccer under a single, common, platform. Baseball in 2007 and soccer in 2008.
We launched a photo service – without D3sports.com we, d3photography, could never have existed. Pat’s support of us and, more importantly the schools, programs and student athletes, has resulted in complete growth in online coverage of college athletics.
Many of us owe our careers to Pat, and for that we are extremely thankful.
We went out and gathered the thoughts and well wishes of a few friends of D3sports.com – a former writer, an SID, a photographer, a current columnist and one of the host cities of many championships he has attended – as a testimony to the hard work Pat has put in and the respect he has earned among the schools, conferences and other media.
Jim Stout was a founding employee of D3football.com and also MaxPreps.com. He has a few words he’d like to share with you:
I can still remember seeing and reading d3hoops.com for the first time during that inaugural season, 1995-96 or 1996-97 or whenever it was. I was working in Kent Cherrington’s office at Plymouth State in the dead of a New Hampshire winter, after covering a Little East basketball game. We were talking periodically about the need to grow Division III sports and the public’s awareness of them. Coverage was negligible at the time in most places. The web was only slowly evolving. There weren’t a lot of alternatives. Kent then said something to the affect, “have you seen what THIS guy is doing?” Kent had a cramped little first-floor office back then at Plymouth and no real desk, and everyone worked at a counter top, so you really didn’t have to get up to look at someone else’s computer screen. You just leaned over and looked. He summoned a page on his screen, and the original parquet floor design for the home page of d3hoops popped up. I vaguely recall seeing there had been 2,000 visitors to the site since the publication opened. “Two thousand people, wow!” We both agreed that was huge, astronomical really. There was an email listed, email@example.com. I contacted the owner of the email and the site to see if he needed any help. Life was never quite the same after that. To this day I still use that email. I think there may be a place for it in Springfield someday, as well as that parquet floor home page.
Some people remember where they there when John Kennedy was shot or when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon or when Nixon resigned. I remember sitting in a hotel room in Leominster, Mass., in June of 1999, waiting to cover a summer collegiate baseball game, when Pat made the plunge to launch d3football.com. It’s difficult to imagine this today, but he was actually a little reluctant to do it at first…if not reluctant, extremely cautious. It was a huge commitment and not necessarily a sane one. There was no real staff, no money, no history of success with football, no guarantee that the move wouldn’t be a colossal waste of time. D3hoops was tough enough to maintain in the early days. Another site? There were three of us as I recall on the IM chat conference that day (yes, we had IM back then, barely). Pat, “Sugar” Ray Martel and myself…we debated the pros and cons. It seemed like a good idea, but once you go ahead with it, there’s no turning back. That was the scary part. It couldn’t just be another site. It had to be good. It had to have the credibility of the still-young d3hoops. It had to have the Pat Coleman stamp of excellence. The debate wasn’t going all that well. Finally, I think it was Ray that said, “all of this is true, but if we don’t do it now, someone else will. We don’t want to regret it. We don’t want to be sitting here a year or two from now wishing we had moved.” Suddenly there was a long pause on the computer screen. There was no chat in the IM dialogue box for the longest time. At first I thought there was a problem with the Internet connection (this was probably an 8k or 56k dial-up connection, remember). Still nothing. Finally, four fateful words: “ok, let’s do it.” Weeks later, d3football was born.
Earlier this week, Ryan sent me a screen shot and page archive from the original d3football.com home page, something I probably hadn’t seen for a decade or more. Two quick thoughts:
One, it’s amazing how good it still looks today. Dated yes, a little, but most things are dated. I often cringe when I see old web designs or old newspaper designs or anything old that isn’t a classic. This is a classic. This was GOOD. I see things today that were designed only months ago that aren’t this good.
And two, to look at the list of columnists from that first season in the left-hand rail, to see names such as Ira Thor, Mike Warwick, Don Stoner, Eric Sieger, to be back again with them – and others – to be counted again as one after all these years is really quite moving…which of course is another reason why we’re celebrating Patrick’s award. To borrow loosely from a time-honored adage, we don’t remember web sites, we remember people. We remember moments, all of which D3, Inc., has helped bring together over the years for so many people across the country. I know I speak for most when I say that all of us who have worked with Pat have had our lives enriched by the many friendships and associations we’ve developed through the sites and through the network. Personally I haven’t been involved in the operation for over 10 years, but I don’t feel as though I ever left the D3 family. The family now transcends multiple generations. It used to be that you’d only know the D3 coaches and the SIDs, and the kids were kids. Now those same D3 kids are coaches and SIDs themselves, and they remember the early days of being covered by the original d3 publications. I work closely in my current role with high school coaches in all sports, in all 50 states. It’s common occurance to get an email from a young high school coach who remembers seeing a name, and remembers being covered by d3football or d3hoops in the early days, and how much it meant. An extended family indeed. A family that only one person could have made possible through his decades of work and commitment – Pat Coleman.
Media Manager, Eastern U.S.
CBS MaxPreps, Inc.
Mark Adkins has been a friend and supporter of D3sports.com for many, many years.
Pat has done so much for Division III athletics. I honestly can’t think of too many sports he hasn’t helped in a positive way with his web sites. They are the true “places to go” if you want information on Division III as it happens.
I would also add that he has been one of the true friends in the business to me during my 14 years as a Division III SID. Always willing to answer a question at any time and also to talk about our shared love and disparity of the Vikings.
This honor is well deserved good friend. Congratulations!
Sports Information Director, Manchester University (Ind.).
Formerly at Norwich University (Conn.) and Wartburg College (Iowa)
Larry Radloff, one of our regional photographers, came on board in the summer of 2006:
I met Pat Coleman in the fall of 2006. I was just starting my work with him as a photographer, and to be honest I didn’t know much about the Division III world outside my little corner of the world in Wisconsin.
My first lesson, learn the powerhouses. So Wisc.-Whitewater and Mount Union were quickly understood. And it was a lesson well learned. After all those years in the Stagg Bowl, I was well prepared to have an opinion on them both. And then it spread, a little bit in basketball, but more to baseball, where by 2007, I was well versed in everything I needed to know to cover them. Through Pat, I met Jim Dixon, where I learned the finer parts of Division III baseball and the storied programs there. Try as he has, I still don’t understand Pool B and C, I guess we have a ways to go yet.
Pat has certainly taught me the geography of d3 sports. Its a learning process, but a path he has taken myself and many others down, and through his love of the sports that he covers and continue to develop. It’s been a great ride, I’ve met many people, future professional players, coaches, even a World Series MVP. None of them will ever remember me, other than someone they’ve shook a hand with, but to me I’ve met great people and great friends all because of Pat.
Great Lakes Editor, d3photography.com
Larry: We can definitely revisit that this summer if you want a refresher. It’s a lot easier than explaining the concept of the “throw-away game” to parents and fans who have never been to the Baseball Championship (a Pat Coleman educational video).
Carey Harveycutter, who has been instrumental in bringing countless NCAA championships to Salem, Virginia, shared these words with us:
Pat Coleman and D3sports has done more for Division III sports than any other outlet. I met Pat early on in our hosting of the Stagg Bowl when he was still living in Virginia and have followed his successes. I am glad that after many years of hard work and using his own money to keep it all afloat he is finally making a little money. I am so pleased that he was recognized by CoSIDA for his efforts.
Director of Civic Facilities
City of Salem, Virginia
It’s a labor of love, but I think I said that already. Not only can I thank Pat for my career in web development but also in sports photography and, really, helping push my technology career that I still maintain to this day.
Adam Turer is a columnist for D3football.com and a graduate of Washington and Lee and a writer for the Community Press and Recorder in Cincinnati:
For many of us, Pat Coleman became a household name before we had houses to call home. He was a writer we first read in our dorm room, or maybe that seminal summer after high school graduation and before our first two-a-days as collegiate athletes. Pat’s passion for Division III athletics shines through in all of his work. He doesn’t just make sure that D3 athletes get the coverage they deserve; he fights for their recognition. He has made countless personal sacrifices to grow the D3sports brand. The number of athletes who received coverage on a D3sports website that they would not have received anywhere else must be approaching, if it hasn’t already exceeded, millions.
Like many of you, I started reading a D3sports website as a freshman. D3football.com quickly became my laptop’s homepage. After graduation, I reached out to Pat, who gave me an opportunity to contribute to the site. It was a way for me to give back and show my appreciation for my favorite website. Pat gave me a chance to stay involved in something I was passionate about, after my playing days were over. He has given many others the same opportunity. I’m proud to be a member of the D3sports.com family, a family that would not exist without the ingenuity, passion, drive, and perseverance of Pat Coleman. I’m proud to call Pat a journalist I respect, a colleague, and a friend. Congratulations, Pat, on the Jake Wade award. Any and all recognition you receive for all you do for Division III schools, athletes, and families is well-deserved and long overdue.
Mid-Atlantic Columnist, D3football.com
Today Pat joined an elite group of, now, 56 members of the media as a recipient of the Jake Wade Award along side the likes of Dick Vitale, Dick Enberg, Sid Hartman, Pam Ward, Robin Roberts and many, many others.
I’m proud to not only call him not only my brother but boss and mentor.
Without Pat’s support and initiative our lives would be vastly different.