Don Hansen Short Bio

Don Hansen was the publisher of Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette which he started in 1986.

Don Hansen

Don Hansen

Don was recognized as an Authority 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.
  • 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.
  • Was published in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Football News, and numerous others.

Several people have shown an interest in knowing how my Dad got started in small college football. Since he thought that there might be a general interest overall, He decided to give a very short autobiography on himself and what led up to his interest in small college football.

The below information was taken from the short bio he put together and had me post on the the website many years ago. I’ve updated it just a bit, but the thoughts are from him.

His uncle Tom Bourgart was already attending small college football games back in the mid-1950’s when one day he asked Don to go with him to a football game, and he became hooked from that point on. At that time they would travel by car over quite a wide area each weekend, and try to catch a day game and a night game. Some years they would see as many as 20 games.

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. It is hard to believe, but he had been covering football since 1980. But the real motivation to create his own niche in this world started many years earlier.

My Dad had spent many years in children’s homes, foster homes, and orphanages since he was six. In 1939, at 13 years old while living with his dad; he took off hitchhiking from Williams Park, Illinois to Ajo, Arizona, to find his mother. He always considered Ajo as his adopted city.

He was only in Ajo a short time, but felt his experience there stuck with him and had been an inspiration to him for the rest of his life.

While in Ajo, He met a girl who was able to restore a belief in himself and helped in developing his confidence. They enjoyed roller-skating in the outdoor roller rink, swimming in a “cow watering hole” and taking long walks in the desert.

It’s funny, but several years ago He wrote a “letter to the editor” in the Ajo Copper News trying to locate her after all those years. One problem was that the only name he knew her by was “Toughie”, and after running the “letter to the editor” in the Ajo Copper News for several weeks, it seemed as though no one recalled a girl with the nickname “Toughie”. He remember Ajo with a special place in his heart and always did. The people in Ajo were some of the nicest that he had ever met and retained a special place in his memory.

Skipping a few eventful years, He received his discharge from the U.S. Navy and proceeded to live in Mexico for a while and in 1955 moved to Kansas City, Missouri. In Kansas City he started out by setting pins in a bowling alley, worked in a Mexican bakery, worked as a busboy in the Muhlenbach Hotel, vended Coca-Cola at the Kansas City Athletics games and finally laid rail for the Santa Fe railroad in Kansas.

He was getting no where and didn’t have a high school education. Don went back to Mexico and soon decided to return to his place of origin in Chicago. He yearned to have a high school education. But finally decided that the best he could do at 21 was to get a GED. While working in an old peoples home in Kenilworth, Illinois, in their laundry, He studied for my GED.

My dad finally received an Associate Degree in Accounting, and worked 21 years for the Scott Peterson meat packing company in Chicago.

People asked him for years how he got started in covering small college football and he thought that there might be more people out there wanting to know what gives him the drive to persist in doing the Football Gazette. It was a struggle, to keep the Gazette going, he was unable to attract advertisers, but somehow he keep managing to keep it going. My Dad was a recovering alcoholic and refused to accept advertising from the industry that he felt contributed to his “eventful” years. Those years weren’t all happy times for sure.

Don’t forget He love college football. College Football gave him more focus than anything else I remember him enjoying or pursuing.

My Dad only had one wife, Rose. The marraiged ended in divorce, but my Dad stated she brought foru wonderful kids into this life and they both enjoyed them: Teresa, Donna, David and Daniel.


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