Welcome to the latest edition of the world-famous Fury Files, where we chat with writers, athletes, former newspaper reporters, current media critics and others who respond positively to my requests for their time. The entire collection will be available in book form just in time for Christmas (not really). Check out previous versions with Tom Linnemann, John Millea, David Brauer and Joe Posnanski.
This week’s guest is quite unique: He doesn’t sleep. At least that’s what I suspect, and it’s really the only explanation for how he does what he does.
The Guru. (Courtesy D3sports.com)
Pat Coleman is the Executive Editor of D3sports.com, but that title doesn’t do him justice. He’s a passionate champion of Division III athletics, an outstanding writer who shines some light on a corner of the sports world usually ignored by major media outlets, a go-to analyst for playoff questions or hard-news items about schools that are dropping programs, and the leader of a team that now includes d3football.com, d3hoops.com, d3soccer.com, d3baseball.com and, most recently, d3hockey.com.
Coleman and the D3football.com crew also produce the annual Kickoff, an online publication that previews every D3 team in the country – all 239 of them. It analyzes the conferences, ranks the teams and profiles the players.
During the fall, the D3Sports sites get more than a million visits a month. Many of the people who come to the site also interact on the sites’ message boards. Remarkably – and thanks to the efforts of Coleman (who has a mere 28,000-plus posts on the boards) and the others who work for the sites – the message boards are unlike most Internet forums. The well-moderated boards remain free of mindless insults, racist comments and cruelty. People gather to talk Division III sports, beer and tailgating, and in doing so often end up meeting people who become great friends, even if they’re from hated rivals. A certain poster with a name similar to mine spends some time there chatting about St. John’s and its inevitable victory in the 2012 Stagg Bowl.
Coleman started on this odyssey when he took over the site that became D3hoops.com in 1997 and created D3football.com in 1999. Fans of Division III sports have plenty of memories of being unable to ever find scores on their favorite teams, forced to scour the Sunday newspaper’s agate section results. Division III is filled with small schools. But Coleman’s work means the teams and players receive big-time coverage.
And he basically does all this as a volunteer - while working media jobs in the real world. Again: Does he sleep? Coleman grew up in Minnesota but graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 1994. He has worked at USA Today, USA Today Baseball Weekly, USA Today Sports Weekly, nbcsports.com and Verizon Headlines. After spending years on the East Coast, Coleman is back in Minnesota, where he lives with his wife, Cate, and three kids.
With the D3 football pairings being announced this weekend, it’s a perfect time to chat with Coleman. Here, Pat talks about the Mount Union-Whitewater rivalry, how he ended up at Catholic, how to improve the D3 playoffs, the 1936 Orange Bowl, the best game he’s ever seen and a lot more. Thanks a lot for your time, Pat.