Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette

Don Hansen

Don Hansen

“Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette” was started in 1986 by Don Hansen.  The Football Gazette covered NCAA 1-AA, NCAA 1-AA Mid-Major, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NCCAA and CIS Canada over the years.  It was the first publication of it’s kind with exclusive coverage of Small College Football.  Don Hansen was a pioneer in covering the smaller football programs and was recognized as the expert in his field.  Don Hansen’s National Weekly was also the first Small College Football publication to be posted on the internet.

Each year the Football Gazette would publish his All-America Teams for each division; which was highly anticipated by the schools in each division.  Most years there were Pre-Season and Post-Season Teams.  He would print All-America certificates which he would sign and have his son, Dave Hansen, sign them and mail them to the schools for distribution to the athletes.

Each week Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette was published and mailed throughout the world to the subscribers.  Within the pages were Top 10 Division Rankings, game stories, game results, conference standings, Players of the Week for Offense, Defense and Special Teams.  Don also published his top predictions within each division.  Many years his predictions were close to 70% accurate.  Now think about that for a bit, he would make predictions within each division of NCAA 1-AA, NCAA 1-AA Mid-Major, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NCCAA and CIS Canada. There are hundreds of games each week.  No one could compare to his knowledge of this level of college football.

Don’s love for Small College Football was sparked by his Uncle Tom Bourgart.  Tom was already attending college football games in the mid-50’s and one weekend asked Don to come along and was hooked from that point on.  Each weekend became an adventure in planning a road trip by car to see as many games as they could.  Back then they could catch a Friday night game, maybe in River Falls, Wisconsin, catch a day and night game on Saturday in Minnesota and finally catch a game on Sunday also in Minnesota.

He continued to feed his enjoyment of college football throughout the years. In 1980, he began to make predictions on all the college football games and send them out to newspapers across the nation. Football News asked him to rank the smaller college divisions (NCAA 1-AA, II, III and NAIA) along with his predictions for them. He also did All-Americans for them that year.

After several years of the Football News publishing his material he decided to try and put his own publication together.  So, in 1986 he started publishing Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette.  Many Sports Information Directors would fax stories to him to have published.  Don would travel to a game on Saturday and write a story covering the game and include it in the publication.  Each week he would have more Football Gazettes printed than he had subscribers and would hand them out at the games he would attend.  This was “Only One of A Kind” as he published on the front of the gazette.  It truly was the only one of it’s kind.  Subscriptions started to come in each week which helped to keep his work going.

The Football Gazette was a in a niche market and at that time advertisement money was not available to his publication.  This was both good and bad.  Good because you could trust the rankings were not influenced by money advertisement and Bad because it was always a struggle to have enough to break even each year.

During one of the college football trips Don made he met a man that would become his closet friend, Craig Borroughs.  Craig was on a quest to see every college football match in every college football field and would write stories on each game to document his experience.  Craig offered to travel across the United States and Canada to cover college football games.  He became Don Hansen’s Football Gazette National Correspondent.  Craig would drive his car across the US and into Canada each week to see a new match-up.  Every week he would write an article covering the week and he titled it “The Red Zone.”  Craig’s articles were published weekly with a complete year’s summary at season’s end.   He would also update the readers on the progress he had made with his goal of attending all possible college football matchups.

Dave Hansen started helping his Dad after graduation from college and was the co-editor as well as webmaster for the Gazette.  Don’s other son, Dan Hansen helped while he was in High School with preparing the page layouts with a scissors, paste, and hard cardboard pages for the printer to use as the proof copy for printing.  This was all before home computers were available.  Hansen would go thru 1 or 2 word processing typewriters each year.

Dave Hansen took over ownership of the publication when Don Hansen’s health started to make publishing difficult because of neuropathy and lung problems from a lifetime of chain smoking.  He struggled to feel anything with his fingertips which made typing a complete challenge.  There were many physical health issues, but Don’s mind was still sharp.  Dave would handle all of the receiving of articles, subscription sales, page layout and getting the proof to the printer.  Don would continue to Rank Teams, choose Players of the Week, make predictions and organize the All-America teams until he was no longer able live without hospice care.

Don Hansen was the Recognized Expert on Small College Football.

  • He was a member of Melberger Award Selection Committee.
  • A member of the Committee for NCAA Division III player of the year.
  • A member of the John Gagliardi Award selection committee and Sports Information Directors of America.
  • A member of the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame Committee.
  • A member of the “The Farm Team All-American” Selection Committee.
  • Received a Celebrity Certificate of Appreciation from the American Red Cross.
  • Listed in the following: Marques Who’s Who, America, The World, The Media, The Midwest and Finance and Industry.
  • Leadership Trophy from Chase Park, Chicago
  • Statistician of the Year, Oak Park-River Forest High School, Oak Park, Ill
  • Originator of Oak Park annual wrestling tournament
  • He also contributed articles to professional Journals.
  • His polls have been published all over the Nation.
  • Don was published in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Football News, and numerous others.