An exciting new look, improved navigation and a better overall experience is featured as the NFCA unveils its new and improved “Home Plate” on the World Wide Web.
The NFCA Web site, which was first launched in 1999, has become one of the top softball-related sites on the internet. This is the first major overhaul since the site’s inception.
While some aspects of the NFCA web site will remain the same, such as the more recently developed sites for the NFCA Convention and National Fastpitch Coaches College, many of the popular features will be moved to the new site, as well as some new features.
An all-new members area, with discussion boards and live chat options, will be a key component of the new site. Members can discuss issues with other members in a password-protected environment. This should be available by February 2.
The staff section lists responsibilities for all NFCA staff. Users will be able to submit their questions to the right person the first time, rather than a general mailbox.
There will also be an interactive poll that will change weekly during the season. Members will be encouraged to submit questions for the poll. Although results will not be scientific, it will help gauge how the softball community feels about a certain issue, such as the new ASA bat standards.
Interested in knowing who the Division I Player of the Week was for April 5, 1999? Before, you would have to search through years of All-Americans, Coaching Staffs of the Year and other award winners. With the new searchable awards database, visitors to the site can easily search through the archives and see every winner of each award that the NFCA administers, including the NFCA Hall of Fame. This system is currently in development, and should be available by March 1.
The popular NFCA scoreboard section is also being renovated. Teams can enter their scores and they will instantly be displayed on a Java-based ticker on the front page. If a user is looking for multiple scores after a day of Saturday doubleheaders across the nation, they can just sit back and watch as scores roll across the screen.
There will also be a section similar to ESPN.com’s “Clubhouse.” Users can see all teams (as well as links to their official websites) divided up not only by division, but by conference affiliation.
The latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25 polls will now just be a click away from the main page. You will also be able to access polls from years past.
Information about the NFCA’s Recruiting Camps will be included in the new site. Locations, hotels and maps will be included. Potential campers can also register online, and campers and coaches can use an online form to evaluate.
A searchable calendar system can help you keep up with NFCA events, as well as deadlines for nominations. The “On Deck” section will post the next three events on the NFCA calendar on the front page.
Also new is a section devoted to the NFCA sponsors. Information about all of the NFCA’s corporate partners as well as links to their Web sites will be found here.
Another new addition to the site will be a section for the NFCA Leadoff Classic. A history section with records and information about past tournaments will be included, as well as upcoming tournament information.
“Softball Today” will have up-to-date information on fastpitch sponsorship at the high school and college levels. There will also be a transactions section to keep up with coaching moves from across the nation. Job opportunities and competition dates will be available through AthleticLink.com.
Like the old site, the new site will include a searchable news database. Users will have access to NFCA releases, as well as special releases from other organizations.
One of the more popular features that the NFCA site has offered the last two years is online nominations and balloting for the Division I and Division II All-Region teams. This will remain in place for the 2004 season.
Although the new site will take on a totally new look and use different technology, users with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or better or Netscape 4 or better should have no trouble accessing the new site. However, users will need to have a version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to access certain features.
The current NFCA site received over 600,000 hits in October, and nearly 1.2 million hits during the month of May. During the collegiate softball season (Feb.-May), the NFCA site handled an average of 999,967 hits. The site received over 100,000 hits a day during the 2003 NFCA Leadoff Classic. The most accessed page over the past year was NFCA Leadoff Classic Central, receiving over 120,000 hits in a three-day span.
During the NFCA’s recruiting camp season (June-August), the site averages over 500,000 hits per month. In addition, the site has been accessed from 44 different countries over the past year.