A decade ago at this time, I was throwing the proverbial switch and getting ready to unleash D3football.com on the World Wide Web.
It had been a project we were attempting to keep secret, which was difficult to do, assembling 220-some football schedules, quick facts and the like without being noticed. In the weeks before our July 7, 1999, launch, we saw the competition, Division III Football Online, really ramp up its preseason coverage, much better than it had done previously. And since we were moving into what was basically another site’s established territory, we were concerned there would be a backlash.
That potential backlash had kept us from expanding Division III Basketball Online and adding a football site the year before. We did talk very seriously about doing it for the 1998 season, and there was definitely some split opinions among our inner circle at the time, which was basically me, Jim Stout and Ray Martel. But Ray and I took a break from our coverage of Catholic University football to cover the Widener-Lycoming game that fall, a classic in which Lyco rallied from a 13-2 deficit after starting with the ball on its 1-yard line with a little more than three minutes left, and we knew we had to cover this sport more often.
When I took over Division III Basketball Online in November 1997 I had this illusion that I could do it a few hours a night, a few nights a week, which would make the site more up-to-date than it had been previously and everyone would be happy. But that illusion quickly faded and by that time, the site already took up 20-30 hours a week during the basketball season. So I had a pretty good idea what I was getting into.
Your response, the fans’ response, to D3football.com was overwhelming, from the opening days. It eventually passed D3hoops.com in traffic and popularity and really drives the whole D3sports.com network. Thanks for being a part of it and choosing to follow NCAA Division III football with us. It’s been a very rewarding decade, getting to go across the country and see great football games, meet people, find good stories and bring them back to you.
And while this site is still really a labor of love, and may well never be my full-time job, I don’t love it or Division III football any less.
Spread the word.