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Ralph's Report

Hitting the Wall at SNW

Rating: 4 votes, 4.75 average.
Three years or so seems to be the limit for modern era "Executive Directors" at the Sports Network (SNW) in their FCS division and they've hit the wall again. Friday was the last day in that position for David Coulson who now joins Matt Dougherty and Tony Moss in that category. Coulson came to the SNW right before the Conference media days in July of 2007.

Dave's long career in sportswriting began in college and after his graduation from Fresno State's school of journalism in 1980, he cut his teeth on the staffs of smaller papers and publications in California. He gained enough chops to start writing sports at one of the country's leading papers, the Los Angeles Times, handling numerous beats in the prep and collegiate realms, from volleyball to football.

After two years at the Times, he packed up and headed East with his family to North Carolina in 1993. His work began to appear regularly in the Charlotte Observer before he became the award-winning sports editor at the Watauga Democrat in Boone, N.C. He eventually worked out a freelance routine covering numerous sports, primarily college football and basketball.

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ID:	19In the late 1990s, Dave joined the team at College Sporting News and moved quickly up the ladder to become the senior national columnist, producing a couple columns weekly as well as assisting in the direction of what was then for CSN. He also wrote a pair of popular columns for CSTV each week and continued to freelance for many newspapers around the south. He also found time to write an account of Appalachian State's 2005 national championship season in the award-winning "MAGIC ON THE MOUNTAIN" book (available at his website,

Along the way, there was always SNW, the only other national FCS news source which had a decade jumpstart on CSN. The key difference between the two were the major Robinson/Payton/Buchanan awards that SNW bestowed every year since 1987 and their poll. One other difference was the amount of news produced. SNW had only one columnist that produced a single column a week and published a small handful of press releases. CSN always had a bevy of writers (now nine) who all produced weekly columns and hundreds/thousands of published press releases. CSN also had the Gridiron Power Index, the GPI, a mixture of polls and computer rankings that was very accurate in determining the eight at-large teams qualified for playoff selection.

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ID:	20Dave made quite an impression in his three seasons at the SNW. He automated their national poll for the first time and increased the voting panel to historic levels, with over 140 media members and sports information directors participating. The awards banquet also achieved a record attendance number (not to mention the quality was never better). In addition, Dave increased the number of weekly columns, began unparalleled actual in-person game coverage and initiated a partnership with the NCAA on multiple levels. He also made an unprecedented impact in terms of public relations with his frequent appearances at media days, CoSida conventions, press conferences and other events.

In the years I have dealt with Dave Coulson, I have come to regard him as a leading voice of the national FCS scene and very knowledgeable on the subject. He is a preeminent columnist and always noteworthy. His work is a must read and I know that the FCS fire has not burned out for him. Look for his reemergence at another or several outlets in the near future and pontificating on our beloved NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

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Updated 02-01-2010 at 03:52 PM by rwallace

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  1. rwallace's Avatar
    One has to wonder if the SNW will wait until July to fill the position again.
  2. rwallace's Avatar
    SNW posted the position on their website today.
    Description: Immediate opportunity for a skilled and organized writer/reporter also willing to display some P.R. and event management skills. On the writing side, the candidate will serve as the only full-time beat writer covering FCS Football (formerly I-AA) on a national basis. Duties include two weekly columns in-season, plus news stories and other features on FCS. Attend and report on several games of interest in FCS per season, including the NCAA Championship. Also attend and report on conference media days throughout FCS, beginning in late July. Must be available for regular radio and television appearances. In the P.R. realm, will oversee, coordinate and execute voting for the TSN-sponsored Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in FCS, as well as the sub-classification's most widely-recognized Top 25 poll and All-America teams. Work regularly with 100+ university and conference media relations directors throughout the country. Point-person for annual FCS Awards dinner, in which the Payton, Buck Buchanan (top defensive player), and Eddie Robinson (top coach) Awards are conferred on the eve of the FCS title game. Primary writing and editing responsibilities for the Awards program. Sound like a lot of work? It is - for roughly half the year, but a relaxed schedule from January through mid-July is enjoyable. Knowledge of FCS football not a pre-requisite, we are simply looking for an organized, assertive professional who can write, be objective, and understand that hitting deadlines is a must, not an option. Must work from on-site, no telecommuters need apply.
    Updated 02-01-2010 at 04:03 PM by rwallace