As Buffalo State’s Jerry Boyes confirmed last Saturday, it doesn’t get any easier when the legend you’re replacing is yourself.
Boyes, though, returned to the sidelines to begin his 16th season as the Bengals’ coach, his first after being solely the athletic director for eight years. Across the turf was The College of New Jersey’s Eric Hamilton, who is in his 33rd consecutive season on the Lions’ sideline, making him the dean of Division III coaches aside from John Gagliardi.
And although TCNJ’s 47-31 victory seemed like just another season opener to some, it was a snapshot of the allure of the Division III coaching job.
Why move all around the country, taking a bunch of low-paying, high-effort jobs just to rise up to a position where they fire you after a few seasons? It might take just as much work to get the top job at a Division III program, but according to data we mined from the Kickoff ’09 project and will share below, coaches who get top jobs in Division III seem to stay.
2007 photo for D3sports.com by Matt Milless
“There’s probably not as much pressure as in Division I,” says Barry Streeter, who began his 31st season at Gettysburg on Saturday. “But there’s still enough pressure from alumni if you’re not running a good program, in all ways.”
There are advantages to staying in one job for a while, including the relationships formed with high school coaches in recruiting to those formed with the administration. Trust, says Streeter, than the student-athletes are getting out of the program what they’re supposed to get out of it.
But even in Division III, coaches don’t land in one place planning to stay there for three decades.
“You think you’re going to be here for four or five years,” says Streeter, hired when he was 28. “Then move on to the next level, then the next level, then the next. My aspirations were no different than anyone else’s.”
But maybe what happens is a coach starts a family and doesn’t want to uproot his wife and children. He realizes that where he’s employed is a place he can pursue his life’s work. The coach maybe gets a taste of success, and suddenly one season becomes another and another.
I asked Hamilton if, after 33 seasons, it ever gets old.
“Noooooo,” came his reply. “Now if you would have asked me three days [before the game], I might not have jumped on the answer … but when you see how the kids react, they come out in the second half and get it going, it makes you feel like you’re 33.”
By that, I think he meant his players keep him feeling young. Which isn’t easy when you’ve coached longer than all of them have been alive. Senior running back Chase Misiura began college at Kean, but transferred to TCNJ, where he plays alongside his brother Dean, a junior defensive back. The Misiuras’ father, Rick, played for Hamilton. Chase’s older brother Austin, graduated last year.
The college is part of the Misiura family history.
“How can it not be?” asks Chase. “We’ve all come here.”
Hamilton can take pride in the fact that he made enough of an impression on one of his players that he would send his three sons to play for him. Streeter says the longtime presence is helpful in recruiting.
“The high school coaches in the areas we recruit, they know our program. They know it’s stable, that they can be comfortable sending a player here.”
Most of all, perhaps, coaches like Hamilton and Streeter have survived through changes in the game. Their expertise is not lost on their players or opponents.
“It’s the experience factor,” says TCNJ quarterback Chris James. “He knows so much about the game that we don’t. He knows every position and what they need to do. He knows everything on the field.”
“It’s more than one era too,” adds Craig Meyer, a senior captain and defensive lineman.
“He’s been through the West Coast, the I … he’s been through everything.”
Streeter, whose Bullets for the longest time ran the Delaware Wing-T, has changed with the times. His teams now run what’s called a spread-wing, which is catching on among local high schools. Gettysburg used it to score 42 points in Week 1, and Saturday will play Hampden-Sydney, which scored 55 in its opener.
Buffalo State athletics file photo
“I wanted to say films,” he laughed. “I’m dating myself a little there,” he said.
Boyes took over the Bengals in their infancy in 1986, and took them to the playoffs seven times between 1992 and 1999. His 89 wins are more than the rest of the school’s coaches combined.
And although Boyes spent eight seasons off the sidelines, Hamilton said the game hadn’t passed the Bengals by.
“They’ll be pretty good by the end of the season,” Hamilton said.
“We’re crawling,” Boyes said. “Hopefully we walk, then we’ll run.”
As for what would lure a coach out of the office and back to the sidelines? You already know the answer to that. The same factors that would keep one coaching for three decades straight, none more prominent than loving the game.
“This is what I think is my calling, to be a coach” Streeter said. “There are so many aspects to it, not just being an X's and O's teacher. Trying to build young men … that’s the thing that never changes no matter what offense you run.”
So should they ever hang it up?
“I would say this to him,” James said of Hamilton. “If he enjoys it, he’s having fun, he gets up every morning with a smile on his face because he’s coaching college football, then keep doing it. Why not?”
33rd: Eric Hamilton, TCNJ, 192 wins
31st: Barry Streeter, Gettysburg, 152 wins
28th: Dale Widolff, Occidental, 164 wins
Mike DeLong, Springfield, 154 wins (including 12 in two seasons at Maine Maritime)
27th: Rick Giancola, Montclair State, 181 wins
26th: Chris Smith, Grove City, 98 wins
25th: Brien Cullen, Worcester State, 136 wins
Terry Price, Maranatha Baptist, 115 wins
24th: Larry Kehres, Mount Union, 274 wins
Rich Lackner, Carnegie Mellon, 161 wins
23rd: Craig Rundle, Albion, 128 wins
Norm Eash, Illinois Wesleyan, 132 wins
Mike Hollway, Ohio Wesleyan, 130 wins
Scot Dapp, Moravian, 135 wins
22nd: Mike Maynard, Redlands, 128 wins
John Miech, UW-Stevens Point, 138 wins
21st:Larry Kindbom, Wash. U., 126 wins
Steve Johnson, Bethel, 137 wins
Doug Neibuhr, Millikin, 119 wins (69 in 14 seasons at Millikin)
John O’Grady, UW-River Falls, 101 wins
20th: Jimmie Keeling, Hardin-Simmons, 158 wins
Joe King, RPI, 142 wins
Jim Lyall, Adrian, 92 wins
Jim Margraff, Johns Hopkins, 119 wins
Dave Murray, Alfred, 112 wins (68 in 12 seasons at Alfred)
Steve Mohr, Trinity (Texas), 153 wins
Steve Briggs, Susquehanna, 102 wins
Paul Vosburgh, St. John Fisher, 94 wins
Jim Cole, Alma, 104 wins
Hal Mumme, McMurry, 108 wins (first year in Division III)
18th: John Audino, Union, 125 wins
Jim Sypult, Methodist, 84 wins
Ron Ernst, Ripon, 118 wins
17th: Darwin Breaux, Dickinson, 102 wins
Rick Candaele, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 72 wins
Geno DeMarco, Geneva, 108 wins
Mike Drass, Wesley, 130 wins
Jim Monos, Lebanon Valley, 64 wins
Rich Manello, King’s, 67 wins
16th: Jerry Boyes, Buffalo State, 89 wins (2nd stint)
Dave Davis, Ferrum, 78 wins
Dick Maloney, Chicago, 72 wins
Bill Samko, Tufts, 89 wins (54 at Tufts)
Mike Welch, Ithaca, 122 wins
15th: Jim Barnes, Augustana (10 seasons)
Mike Clark, Bridgewater (Va.), 94 wins
Dean Kreps, Hope, 76 wins
Frank Miriello, Washington & Lee, 71 wins
Tim Rucks, Carthage, 84 wins (73 at Carthage)
John Tully, Whitworth, 75 wins
14th: Mike Cragg, Hobart, 90 wins
Joe Fincham, Wittenberg, 114 wins
Andy Gibbons, Knox, 46 wins
Rocco Salomone, Brockport State, 88 wins
Frank Sheptock, Wilkes, 82 wins
Mike Swider, Wheaton, 107 wins
13th: Roger Caron, Pomona-Pitzer, 55 wins
E.J. Mills, Amherst, 66 wins
Dan MacNeill, Cortland State, 80 wins
Joe White, Rhodes, 57 wins
12th: Mike Donnelly, Muhlenberg, 81 wins
Pete Fredenburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor, 99 wins
Andy Frye, Centre, 65 wins
Mark Speckman, Willamette, 63 wins
11th:Bill Carven, Nichols, 46 wins
Mike Emendorfer, UW-Platteville, 34 wins
Bill George, Coast Guard, 33 wins
Mark Harriman, Bates
Jim Purtill, St. Norbert, 91 wins
Jeff Ramsey, Oberlin, 26 wins
Regis Scafe, John Carroll, 69 wins
Ed Zaloom, WPI, 40 wins
10th: Steve Bell, Monmouth, 68 wins
Marty Favret, Hampden-Sydney, 63 wins
Nick Fletcher, Denison, 33 wins
Rod Huber, Mount St. Joseph, 55 wins
Mike Schmitz, Wooster, 62 wins
Larry Terry, UW-La Crosse, 57 wins
John Welty, Westminster (Mo.), 49 wins
Sherman Wood, Salisbury, 69 wins
Saturday at TCNJ marked my first time trying to perform legitimate journalistic functions with only the iPhone. No longer carrying a phone cord for a land line, and barred from having/without access to the school’s wireless network, my laptop wasn’t much help. So I spent quite a bit of my time in the press box using the phone to update our scoreboard, post to the Daily Dose and tweet, not to mention trying to take in the scene and actually watch the game.
I even used the voice memo app to record the postgame interviews. The phones can do so much these days, the real concern is having enough battery power (or remembering to bring your charger).
Saturday on the Daily Dose, the blog we added to the site in 2005, editor and publisher Pat Coleman wrote: “Our coverage of football has changed just a little bit from last September to this September, and how the schools themselves cover football has made a bit of a shift as well.
If you follow D3football on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/d3football) you’ll get a good number of instant updates from us on game day, assuming we have a good connection to the Net wherever we are. You could follow every school’s Twitter feed, like we do, but we’ll make sure the most important stuff gets tweeted back out in your direction.”
The D3sports.com family of sites had experimented with Twitter in the winter and spring, but Saturday marked our first experience using it during a football weekend. And although we didn’t coordinate a Twitter plan, Pat sent a tweet Saturday morning letting our followers know where we’d be on Saturday, and since I was following myself, it was something of an eye-opening experience. I really only joined the Twitter revolution because of D3football.com, but it turns out the stream of updates around 4 p.m. EST on Saturday was about as close as I imagine Division III ever getting to the feeling of having DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket and flipping back and forth to all the wild NFL finishes on Sunday.
Pat went on to mention the two dozen games streamed live on video, most for free, last weekend and how some teams cut their own video from practice or training camp. A search for Division III football on YouTube returns quite a few more results than it did a year or two ago.
Toss in Facebook’s fan pages and the interaction there between your friends – at one point Saturday my feed featured status updates from friends at the Utica, Ohio Northern, Mount Union and Coe games – and you might start to get a picture of how expansive Division III really is. And yet, even though we’re nearly simultaneously enjoying games states away from one another, the ability to tweet and post status updates means we’re not that far away after all.
If you’re not a Twitter or Facebook or YouTube user, I understand the reluctance, especially if you’ve already got a game-day system that works for you. But once you get used to the new technology, you’ll find there are ways to stay connected to your favorite team and its opponents that we hadn’t dreamed of when we launched this site in 1999.
Perhaps the most stark signs of change were evident in the TCNJ press box Saturday, where I sat near a list taped next to a phone jack with the header “TSC Astro-Turf Sports Complex.” The school is no longer called Trenton State College, nor does it play on Astro Turf. But it’s the once-a-necessity land lines that have become obsolete, as the need for computer access, preferably wireless, grows. The Associated Press seems to have caught on, if I overheard correctly; No longer is someone manning the telephone waiting for SIDs to call in scores. With e-mail handy, and the D3football.com/PrestoSports scoreboard staying as up to date as schools and our staff make it, there’s no need for calls.
As Pat blogged on Saturday morning, “the times are changing, no doubt.”
So if you’re from a Division III outpost and all you know about Jersey is what you’ve heard in jokes (go ahead, use your bad Sopranos voice now), allow ATN to give you a quick snapshot of Trenton.
Though the city’s famous “Trenton Makes, the World Takes” bridge is representative of the capital of a working-class state, the ride to the TCNJ campus is not at all like what you see off the Turnpike. It’s quite the quiet drive along tree-lined streets to campus.
TCNJ seems a perfect fit in the NJAC, a collection of public schools larger than most in Division III. They still fit the Division III mission – pursuing non-scholarship athletes and emphasizing education first – but you don’t see a building several stories tall or an athletic complex this fancy on a small, private campus like, say, Hampden-Sydney or Cornell. TCNJ’s enrollment of 5,677 is on the higher end of the Division III spectrum.
In fact, with its trees and open space on one hand, and significant campus structures on the other, TCNJ probably represents the true New Jersey a little better than the Sopranos voice and Turnpike jokes.
Since very few of you chimed in for this week’s suggested Ten Best, Division III People We Don’t Envy, ATN will stay closer to this week’s theme:
Ten Most Significant Changes to the Game in the D3football.com Era
10. Putting the Division III selection show on ESPN. This one might be a little self-serving, since it features our D3football.com czar either in studio or on-air, but hear ATN out. At our level, the struggle for respect is fruitless. Except for those who live in a Division III town, are alums or know someone who’s played for one of our schools, sports fans haven’t really grown up following our brand of college football. And that’s fine, because part of the charm is that’s it’s football played for the love of the game, and balanced with academic pursuits. But aside from the Stagg Bowl broadcast, the college football fans not in the aforementioned groups wouldn’t even know we are out here if TV were the only medium. ESPN throwing us an air-time bone, even if it isn’t a full half hour or on its prime network, and even if it isn’t time they can sell much advertising for, does wonders. The exposure, moreso than the perception of legitimacy, is something we can’t get anywhere else. And for those who remember huddling around a speaker phone early on a Sunday morning to hear if the committee chair would mention our name, the television is far better.
9. Equipment advances. In a scrapbook I have from my playing days, there’s a picture of me and my teammates BJ and Mo, where they’re wearing socks with the feet cut out of them as arm sleeves. Before a late-season game at Bridgewater, where the weather forecast was cold and rainy, I went to Target to buy a tight-fitting long-sleeved shirt … from the women’s section. That was the 90s, before ads implored us to buy gear that wicks away sweat as it helps us protect our house. It was a time when there weren’t enough air helmets and light shoulder pads to outfit the whole team, and when molded cleats and neckrolls were going out of style. If you played in a different era, you have memories perhaps involving kicking tees or even leather helmets, but the point is the same. The game has come a long way just in the way it’s outfitted. Does anyone still have to tuck the elbow-length sleeves on their jersey up under their shoulder pads? Do players still use rolls of tape to “spat up?”
8. Computer-accessible video. This would be much higher up the list if anyone figured out how to do it right and be consistent across the board with it. Still, in a division with twice as many teams from coast to coast and border to border as Division I-A, the opportunity to compare talent levels and styles of play from a single computer screen is priceless. Add in the ability to fast forward, pause and rewind, or to watch archived games on demand, and we have the makings of a serious bank of video. Done consistently well, accessible game video would change the face of Division III’s top 25 polling process, coaches’ preparations, plus connect alumni to their team in a way that isn’t being done very many places right now. We’ve followed the links to some quality setups, and we appreciate the NCAA’s national semifinal webcasts. We’re not quite at the point where we can put together a D3football.com Saturday night highlights show, or upload to YouTube a package of clips for our Team of the Week, but we’ve spotted the glimmer on the horizon.
7. Adding the back judge for playoff games and instant replay at the Stagg Bowl. These are moves, instituted in 2006 and 2005 respectively, whose impact is subtle. The use of a seventh official, standard in Division I and II playoff games and in all NFL contests, provides an extra set of eyes in the area of the field where action has increased the most over the past several years (see No. 5). Ideally, we’d want competition in the playoffs to reflect the regular season as closely as possible. But more important is having the game decided by actions the players take and having that be totally clear to fans in attendance. For that reason, adding SEC-style instant replay to the championship game gave legitimacy to the officials’ calls on close plays (the first call overturned was in the third Stagg Bowl it was used, and it led to a UW-Whitewater goal-line stand). It also adds to the aura, since players know the NCAA has pulled out all the stops for a championship. There is discussion of adding replay to the semifinal games, but it’s impossible to take it further right now because there aren’t enough camera angles at most Division III games.
6. Spring practice. The impact of allowing 16 non-padded spring sessions with a football involved – 10 practices with pads are allowed for offseason games against non-U.S. teams – is debatable. But it certainly beats the alternative. As I understood it as a player, the previous rule was simplified to ‘you can have a coach there or a football there, but not both.’ Consequently, we would gather the team to play ‘ultimate frisbee’ or ‘speed ball.’ That broke up the monotony of weight lifting and running workouts, and it fostered camaraderie, but it didn’t have a direct effect on the season. We never worked on plays or ran drills to sharpen weaknesses, and we certainly didn’t have any depth chart movement because of a mean Frisbee catch. There's no contact, so no spring game, but even getting this much spring practice was a surprise.
5. The, well, spread of the spread offense. One more ‘back when I played’ story. When Randolph-Macon hired Wabash assistant Scott Boone just before the start of the 1997 season, he brought with him what at was considered exotic offensive innovation. Empty backfields, end-around passes … you name, we might have cooked it up. You’d walk into the football office midweek, and Boone and Ed Hotchkiss (now an Arena League head coach) would be watching a Rutgers or Kentucky game (featuring Hal Mumme’s offense) and gleaning plays. Now you go to a high school game, and the kids are running shotgun, four wide with motion to trips every play. It’s become so generic, that long-time Wing-T teams Augustana, UW-River Falls and Gettysburg have switched or incorporated elements of the spread, ostensibly because it’s smart to build on what recruits already know then teach them a whole new style of offense from scratch.
4. The 32-team playoff field. For years, the splash page to Post Patterns was a comment asking why we don’t just expand the field to 32. And after the expansion from 16 teams through 1998 to 28 through 2004, 32 is the number we’ve settled on. Besides that it forms four neat eight-team brackets, it also falls in the NCAA’s preferred all-sports ratio of eligible teams to postseason qualifiers. It’s eliminated the scenarios where 10-0 teams are left home, as in 1998, and the first-round byes for the top seeds in the 28-team brackets. It can’t grow much bigger than five weeks – a half-season to win a title – but the first day, when 16 playoff games are on the schedule … it gets no better.
3. The proliferation of turf. This weekend, I saw exactly the reason Division III teams have crossed from grass to turf en masse recently. TCNJ plays its season opening game at noon, a wild affair that entertains a Labor Day crowd until about 3 p.m. By 3:45, the Lions’ field hockey team shows up at the stadium for practice. On the same field. That never would have happened on a grass field, at least not with the coaches’ willing approval. Division III institutions are small and usually strapped for money even when the economy isn’t tight, so installing one field that basically takes care of itself beats paying an employee to water, mow and line separate football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse fields.
2. Automatic-bid driven conference re-alignment. The FFC. The UCAA. The IBFC. Those acronyms mean little to you because those conferences no longer exist. And neither does Ithaca as an independent or the Presidents’ Athletic Conference as a six-team league. The creation of new conferences or existing ones adding new members was propelled by the AQ – the requirement that a conference have seven football teams so its champion can get a spot reserved for it in the 32-team field. That’s led to wackiness like a team from Buffalo joining a New Jersey-based conference, a team from the Eastern shore of Maryland joining a New York-based one and a team from the Bay Area aligning with Pacific Northwest schools. It’s what’s responsible for Greenville playing under three conference headers (IBFC, SLIAC and UMAC) in three seasons. But the benefits of conference alignment – access to the postseason, easier scheduling and recognition/superlatives for players – have led all but four teams (Chapman, Macalester, Huntingdon and LaGrange) to play this season as a member of a conference.
1. Technological advances. I think you know where ATN stands on these, given the R2 D3 item above. But simply put, without them, there would be no D3football.com. And in those days, it was buy the local paper for a three-line blurb about your game. Which was nice and all …
React to this week’s list, make submissions for the coming week’s list or come up with new categories for future use by using our message board, Post Patterns, on the Around the Nation thread under general football. You can also send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or use our feedback form.
Next week: Division III People We Don’t Envy (coaches, players, etc. put in tough spots)
Week 1 got Division III off to a losing start against Division I-FCS and Division II, and a winning start against the NAIA, results which are fairly typical. The Northeast-10 going 3-0 against the NEFC is largely responsible for putting us behind the eight ball against Division II, while two teams from the non-scholarship Pioneer League of Division I-FCS whooped up on us. And we get another taste of those conferences this week.
This week’s NAIA slate rivals Week 2 of 2008, where Division III went 10-6 in the largest cross-classification week ATN had ever seen. There are 15 games between the two this week.
Here’s a look at this week’s games involving unfamiliar names:
vs. Division I, FCS (4-5 in 2008; 0-2 in Week 1)
Butler (non-scholarship Pioneer League) at No. 19 Franklin
Campbell (Pioneer) at Birmingham-Southern
Valparaiso (Pioneer) at Concordia (Wis.)
Wagner (Northeast Conference) at SUNY-Maritime
vs. Division II (4-6 in 2008; 1-4 in Week 1)
No. 9 Wesley at North Greenville (independent)
Husson at Merrimack (Northeast-10)
vs. NAIA (30-14 in 2008; 4-2 in Week 1)
Midland Lutheran (Great Plains Athletic Conference) at No. 2 UW-Whitewater
No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor at Southern Nazarene (Central States Football League)
Cumberlands, Ky. (NAIA No. 6, Mid-South Conference) at Mississippi College
LaGrange at Shorter (NAIA No. 11, Mid-South)
Newport News Apprentice at U.Va.-Wise (NAIA No. 21, Mid-South)
UW-Stout at Jamestown (NAIA No. 24, Dakota Conference)
Bethany at Kentucky Christian (Mid-South)
Peru State (independent) at Buena Vista
Belhaven (Mid-South) at Millsaps
Concordia-Moorhead at Valley City State (Dakota)
Rhodes at Haskell Indian Nations (independent)
Azusa Pacific (independent) at UW-La Crosse
Faulkner (independent) at Huntingdon
Howard Payne at Southwestern Assemblies of God (Central States)
Minnesota-Morris at Dakota State (Dakota)
Games to watch: No. 5 Hardin-Simmons at Linfield, No. 6 Wheaton at Bethel, No. 7 UW-Stevens Point at Central, Cal Lutheran at No. 8 Williamette, No. 10 Ithaca at Union, UW-Eau Claire at No. 13 St. John’s, No. 15 Hobart at Dickinson, No. 21 Montclair State at Wilkes, Rowan at Lycoming, Widener at Curry, Endicott at RPI, Coast Guard at Merchant Marine, Carthage at Hope, Gettysburg at Hamdpen-Sydney, Salisbury at North Carolina Wesleyan, Delaware Valley at Kean.
For more on this week’s games, see Friday morning’s Triple Take, featuring three D3football.com staffers’ thoughts, on our blog, The Daily Dose.
Already this season, we’re seeking your feedback on Ten Best (top 10 of the past 10 seasons), best road trip suggestions for October and November (ATN especially likes non-Saturday afternoon kickoffs that can be paired with a game at a traditional time) and suggestions for Division III T-shirt designs.
Five Ways to Saturday
Follow Around the Nation …
1. … When the column publishes on Thursdays.
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3. … Mondays, Pat Coleman and I wrap up the week that was in our podcast. Download from iTunes or listen to it in the Daily Dose’s media player.
4. … Throughout the week on Twitter. This is ATN’s first season tweeting. Follow @D3Keith.
5. … Further discussions raised here on Around the Nation’s Post Patterns thread, at the top of the General Football board.
Sports Information Directors: To contact Keith McMillan, use Keith@D3football.com, or mail to D3football.com, 13055 Carolyn Forest Dr., Woodbridge, Va., 22192.