CollegeInsider.com has been covering online sports almost as long as online sports coverage has existed. CI migrated from a print format to the web in 1996 and the following year the first Coaches Columns
appeared on the site. These columns gave fans the opportunity to hear from a host of Division I coaches in a more relaxed, free form environment and were an immediate hit.
In the July 27, 1998 issue of ESPN the Magazine, CollegeInsider.com was ranked No. 24 on the magazine’s list of 99 things to do before you die. ESPN’s the Rickster, NBA All-Star Jason Kidd and volleyball star Gabby Reece compiled the comprehensive list of who, what, where, when, why and how to watch in the world of sports. The panel assessed CI with the following: “Imagine trading e-mails with Bob Huggins and Mike Jarvis. More than 175 college hoops coaches sound off on the issues of the day. And a host of well-placed columnists serve up the latest dish from the court.”
Later that same year, CI started the first Mid-Major Top 25
basketball poll devoted exclusively to schools outside of the "high major" realm. SI senior writer John O’Keefe wrote about the poll in his column in November of 2001, highlighting what a unique niche the Mid-Major Top 25 filled in the college hoops world. The poll, which has since been trademarked, currently has a voting panel that features 30 active Division I head coaches.
In 2003 CI established the Jim Phelan Award, which honored Mount St. Mary’s legendary coach. The award is presented annually to the top division I head coach. It was the first of 17 National Awards
, which have been established in the years that followed. Among the prestigious national honors is the Kay Yow Award, which is presented annually to the top Division I Women's head coach. All of the awards pay homage to some of the greats in the history of the game:
Gene Bartow Award
Jack Bennett Award
Lefty Driesell Award
Hugh Durham Award
Clarence Gaines Award
Joe B. Hall Award
Lou Henson Award
Ben Jobe Award
Kyle Macy Award
John McLendon Award
Don Meyer Award
Lute Olson Award
Jim Phelan Award
Skip Prosser Award
Glenn Robinson Award
Riley Wallace Award
In 2009, CI founders Joe Dwyer
and Angela Lento
decided to take the bold step of creating a postseason tournament devoted exclusively to deserving mid-major programs. The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament
was born that year, beginning as a 16-team event with Old Dominion capturing the inaugural title.
The event expanded to 24 teams in 2011 and is now a 32-team event that still extends invitations only to schools residing outside of the high major conferences. Response to the tournament has been enthusiastic since its inception, with attendance having doubled every year.
In seven years, over 100 different NCAA Division I schools have participated in the CIT, which represents nearly one-third of eligible D-I schools. The first four Tournaments were broadcast by Fox College Sports, with the last three broadcast in High-Def on CBS Sports Network.
Angela Lento poses with the Emmy Award after the 2013 event in New York.
CollegeInsider.com continued its tradition of getting behind the scenes by introducing All-Access features. Programs such as Butler lifted the veil and provided a glimpse into their inner workings while CI cameras took it all in. The 2012-13 All-Access features highlighting Iona College, LIU-Brooklyn and Manhattan College won a 2013 New York Emmy Award in the Sports Coverage: Sportscast/Series category, winning over outlets such as MSG and SNY.
CI has also shown the lighter side of the coaching profession, with The Runway to the Fashionable Four
being a prime example. The annual competition was started in 1998 to bring attention to coaches and their sideline styles. With active participation from a host of the game's most prominent leaders, the Runway to the Fashionable Four has become a big hit with fans. It culminates every March in a bracketed competition to crown the sport's best dressed head and assistant coaches.
Shots from the Heart
was created in 2010 as a means of contributing to the fight against heart disease. The season-long free throw shooting event has included some of the biggest names in coaching. The charity competition pays tribute to the late Skip Prosser, who succumbed to a massive heart attack in 2007.
Over the years, CI has consistently provided some of the most compelling print material on the Web, helping to bring fans of college hoops closer to the game they love. The site has continued to evolve, providing even greater access to the game across a host of platforms.
Joe Dwyer and Angela Lento brought the College Insider website online in 1996.