Tag: NCAA D3

Steve Croce Named The Next Head Coach of Anna Maria College Football

Steve Croce, who has over 30 years of experience coaching high school football in Connecticut, has been named the next head coach at Anna Maria College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo Peter Hvizdak/GametimeCT.com)

By Matt Noonan

A new era for the Anna Maria College football team officially began on the final day of January as Steve Croce was introduced as the fourth head coach in program history.

Croce, who was both an assistant coach and offensive coordinator with the AMCATs last season, takes over for Dan Mulrooney, who recently accepted the head coaching job with Lock Haven University.

“I am truly honored to assume the head coaching duties for this amazing team,” Croce said, via GoAMCATS.com.

Named the 2021 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Assistant Coach of the Year, Croce will oversee an AMCATs squad that enjoyed its best season in program history last fall, which included a league title and trip to the NCAA Division III postseason.

Croce, a former high school football coach in Connecticut, joined Mulrooney shortly after he was introduced as Anna Maria’s third head coach in December 2016. He has experience as both a head coach and offensive coordinator and has been a full-time firefighter in Waterbury, Connecticut for 30 years.

“Dan and the entire coaching staff built a close-knit football family at Anna Maria College … I will continue to expand on our winning formula as we move forward,” said Croce.  

Checking In On The D3 Football Coaching Carousel

Dan Swanstrom will be returning to the University of Pennsylvania after spending five seasons as the head coach at Ithaca College. (PHOTO COURTESY: University of Pennsylvania Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

The football coaching carousel never stops, especially in NCAA Division III.

As noted, both this morning and over the last few days by D3Football.com, three schools, including Ithaca College, will be looking for a new head coach to lead their respective program onto the gridiron this fall.

Dan Swanstrom, who guided the Bombers to 32 wins and 11 losses in five seasons, is returning to the University of Pennsylvania as the Quakers’ new offensive coordinator. His final day at Ithaca College is next Monday, January 31.

Penn head coach Ray Priore announced Swanstrom’s hiring on Monday and is excited to welcome back his former quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator that helped the Quakers share a pair of Ivy League crowns in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s great to have Dan rejoin the Penn Football Family after leading Ithaca to great success over the last years,” Priore said in a statement on Monday. “He returns with a tremendous work ethic, an incredible amount of football knowledge, and a passion for the game.”  

Swanstrom inherits a Penn offense that ranked last in the Ivy League in touchdowns (24) and points (191).

In his final season at Ithaca, the Bombers won eight of 10 contests, including five of six Liberty League (LL) matchups. Ithaca concluded its campaign with a heartbreaking defeat to SUNY Cortland in the 62nd meeting between the two schools last November.

According to D3Football.com, this year’s Cortaca Jug Game between Ithaca and SUNY Cortland will be played at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, November 12.

“I can’t put into words how special my time at Ithaca has been,” said Swanstrom, via D3Football.com. “I would like to thank the players, coaches, and fans for the cherished experiences and the meaningful relationships.”

Swanstrom isn’t the only one making a transition from Division III to Division I as it was announced yesterday that Chris Wilkerson, who guided the University of Chicago for the last nine seasons, has been named the new head coach at Eastern Illinois University.

Wilkerson, who is an Eastern Illinois alum, guided the Maroons to an 8-2 record last fall, including a 7-2 mark in the Midwest Conference. UChicago’s offense shattered numerous single-season records while halfback Nicholas D’Ambrose placed second in the nation with a school record of 1,714 rushing yards.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the head football coach at UChicago for the past nine seasons,” said Wilkerson, via athletics.uchicago.edu. “I want to thank all the players and coaches for their commitment and passion for Maroon football.”

North Central will also have a new head coach — the school’s athletic director Jim Miller recently announced Brad Spencer will be taking over for Jeff Thorne, who recently accepted the offensive coordinator role with Western Michigan.

Thorne will reunite with Western Michigan coach Tim Lester as the two coached together at North Central under Jeff’s father John Thorne.

As the head coach of North Central, Jeff Thorne guided the Cardinals to the school’s first-ever championship in 2019. They fell short of winning their second title last month against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.  

Other coaching changes/notes:

Three MIAA Games Highlight Week Seven Of The Spring Football Season

By NoontimeSports.com

For those us from Massachusetts, the acronym MIAA is often associated with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association but it is also used to abreviate the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. And this weekend, six MIAA teams will be in action with two games scheduled for Saturday, March 20 while Kalamazoo College and Olivet College will cap the weekend with an early afternoon kickoff on Sunday, March 21.

Hope College, which won the MIAA conference crown in 2019, will not be competing this weekend or spring, but will use this time to prepare for their initial fall contest against Anderson University on September 4.

Here are this weekend’s matchups:

  • Albion College at Trine University (Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. est.)
  • Adrian College at Alma College (Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. est.)
  • Kalamazoo College at Olivet College (Sunday, March 21 at 1 p.m. est.)

The Thunder of Trine enter the seventh week of the spring season with a perfect 2-0 record – they scored wins last October against Adrian (44-27) and Manchester University (37-0), and will attempt to capture their third-straight victory on Saturday, as well as their first win against Albion since 2018. Albion won the previous meeting in 2019 by a score of 24-14.

Similar to Trine, Adrian also competed last fall, appearing in three contests while securing an early October victory against Manchester (41-10). The Bulldogs enter their first spring game with a 1-2 record with hopes of evening the mark against an Alma squad they edged in 2019 by a score of 34-31.

Albion enters the spring season as the favorite, according to the MIAA preseason coaches poll, which was released earlier this month. The Britons secured five of six first-place votes while Olivet, which garnered one first-place selection, is projected to finish second. Trine rounded out the top three sports while Adrian and Alma are projected to finish fourth, respectively, while Kalamazoo rounded out the poll in the sixth position.

The MIAA’s spring season will run from this weekend to Saturday, April 17.


News and notes from the spring college football world

  • The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) spring season will kickoff this weekend with Greenville University visiting DePauw University. Saturday’s matchup with Greenville will be the Tigers’ final contest of the 2020-21 school year. – DePauw beat Ohio Wesleyan University last September before beating The College of Wooster. DePauw’s meeting with Wooster was an exhibition contest.
  • In case you missed it, four New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) teams kicked-off their spring seasons last weekend. William Patterson, which was initially scheduled to play last Saturday against Christopher Newport, will play its first game this Saturday, March 20 against Kean University. Kickoff between the two teams is scheduled for 12 p.m.
  • In honor of March Madness, ESPN asked the following question: what would a 64-team postseason bracket look like 2021? It is certainly an interesting read, but something we know (and sadly, most college fans do, as well) won’t happen.
  • The college football world has changed because of Covid-19, according to Chip Kelly, who believes Zoom will be something coaches will continue to use going forward, especially when connecting with recruits.
  • Last weekend was a busy weekend of NCAA D-II football – are you ready for more games this week?
  • Congratulations to former Fordham University quarterback Mike Nebrich, who has been inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Looking Ahead To A Busy Weekend of SAA Football

By Matt Noonan

The fifth week of the spring football season is upon us – crazy, right? – and there are a ton of matchups to follow this weekend, including some in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).

As of this evening, three teams boast perfect records in the SAA – Berry College, Hendrix College, and Trinity University (Texas) – while Birmingham Southern College sits alone in the second place with a 2-1 record.

All four teams remain in contention for the SAA crown. But the same could be said for Centre College, which enters the final week of the conference’s regular season with a 1-1 record.

Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups with two of the three outcomes determining what two team will compete next Saturday, March 13 in the SAA Championship.


Hendrix at Trinity (Saturday, March 6): Both teams enter this must-see ad must-follow contest with identical 2-0 records. And the winner will most likely compete against Berry or Centre or perhaps see each other again next weekend in the SAA title game.

The Tigers’ offense has been impressive thus far, averaging 36 points per game, thanks to quarterbacks Tucker Horn and Wyatt Messex, who have combined for seven touchdown passes.

Trinity has not competed since February 13 while Hendrix appeared on the gridiron at the beginning and end of February. Their two wins have come against the same squads Trinity has beaten: Austin College and Millsaps College. Austin provided both squads with challenges, including Hendrix, which found a way to outlast a Kangaroos squad that produced a season-high 31 points last Saturday.

Kip Vanhoose was the player to watch on Hendrix last weekend – the Kansas City, Missouri native rushed for a season-high 94 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns.

This has the making for an exciting matchup that should mimic the previous meeting from 2019, which saw the Tigers edge the Warriors, 20-17.

Berry College at Centre College (Saturday, March 6): It would be hard to pick against the Vikings of Berry, which enter the final week of its shortened season with a great deal of momentum.

The Blue and White scored two wins last month, including a come-from-behind victory against Birmingham Southern. Two weeks after their three-point victory, the Vikings rolled past Rhodes College, 54-7.

Quarterback Gavin Gray has tossed six touchdowns this season – last week, he connected with three different receivers for scores, including Cameron Kawa, who hauled in the game-winning touchdown last month against BSC.

Trentin Dupper will lead a Colonels offense that has recorded 65 points in two games, including 35 last week against BSC.

A win over Berry would help Centre’s chances with securing a spot in the SAA title game next weekend.

Berry College has won the last four meetings, including their most recent clash in 2019, which saw Gavin Gray complete 10 of 24 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 45-22 victory.

Millsaps College at Austin College (Saturday, March 6): Despite back-to-back losses to Hendrix and Trinity, Austin seems primed to finish its shortened season with a win over Millsaps.

The Kangaroos enter their final contest averaging 27.5 points per game – let’s call it roughly four touchdowns – and will once again rely on quarterback Tyler James, who concluded last week’s contest against Hendrix with 320 yards of total offense.

Regan Wilkins and Jarrett Pleasant concluded the game with 10 total tackles, respectively, while John Aldridge converted five kicks, including four extra points.

Millsaps has not played since February 13 when they fell to Trinity by a score of 37-7. Quarterback Amryn Jeffrey finished the game with one touchdown while Mickale Massey and Liam Vincifora each recorded 13 total tackles.

Austin beat Millsaps in their last outing in 2019 by a score of 20-7. Evan Powell highlight the Kangaroos win by rushing for a game-high 117 yards on 13 carries.

LEC Set To Tip-Off Its 2020-21 Basketball Season This Weekend

The LEC is set to tip-off its 2020-21 college basketball season this week. (PHOTO COURTESY: bobert1980 on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Little East Conference (LEC) basketball season is set to begin this weekend. And this is certainly good news for New England small college basketball fans.

As of this evening, three men’s basketball games are scheduled to tip-off this Saturday, January 23, along with one women’s contests between Keene State and Rhode Island College. More games will occur both later this month and next month, along with a four-team playoff in early March. And pending a national postseason does occur, the winner of their respective conference tournament would represent the league in the NCAA D-III playoffs.

Both Keene State squads have competed previously this school year in their Red vs. White contest while the men’s team squared-off last November against New Hampshire. The Rhode Island men’s basketball team competed last December against Bryant.

While the opening weekend will feature just six of the league’s nine members, Southern Maine is expected to play some games next month, according to a recent post from Al Bean, who is the school’s athletic director.

UMass Boston and Western Connecticut are the only two LEC members that won’t be competing this winter.

The Western Connecticut men’s basketball team captured the LEC crown last winter to secure a date with Tufts University in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament.

The Eastern Connecticut women’s basketball team, which won its second-straight LEC title last February, announced earlier this month that they would not play an abbreviated season due to “health risks surrounding COVID-19.”

Here is this weekend’s LEC men’s and women’s basketball schedule:

  • Keene State at Rhode Island College (WBB) | 12 p.m.
  • Eastern Connecticut at Plymouth State (MBB) | 1 p.m.
  • Castleton at UMass Dartmouth (MBB) | 2 p.m.
  • Keene State at Rhode Island College (MBB) | 3 p.m.