The Presidents' Athletic Conference was established in 1955 and is host to 13 member schools that are among the most historical and innovative in the central United States. Two of those schools are leading the pack in innovations outside of the classroom, though...
Following the cancellation of their 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saint Vincent Bearcats launched a Virtual Visit to help jumpstart recruitment. The event, which is free for high-school athletes, received submissions from athletes across the country.
A few months later, Waynesburg University followed suit, launching a Virtual Visit of their own that introduced over a thousand quarantined recruits to the Yellow Jacket coaching staff in a matter of weeks.
The two schools, located about an hour and a half drive from one another, were some of the first in college to launch an interactive virtual college visit on GMTM. The Saint Vincent and Waynesburg Virtual Visits, which are free for GMTM's users, sit alongside those of Division I teams like Army and Memphis.
The two Virtual Visits include tours of the each school's football facilities, introductions to the coaching staffs, and interactive questionnaires for prospects to share what separates them from other athletes in their class. While both schools have been a part of the fabric of western Pennsylvania for over a century, the accessibility of a free online event have offered them each exposure to athletes from every school districts thousands of miles away.
Learn more about each of these PAC schools and their Virtual Visits below:
It's not common that a Division-III school is written about in Sports Illustrated, but each year this one seems to get the same kind of coverage.
About 45 minutes from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 68,000-seat Heinz Field sits Saint Vincent College, a small private school in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The tiny Benedictine school with an enrollment of just over 1,800 in the Pennsylvania foothills has been home to the Steelers' Training Camp since 1966.
While the school has gained quite a reputation as an NFL retreat, the most exciting time to be on campus is during the fall football season. The Bearcat Football Staff have launched their Virtual Visit to help athletes from around the country understand why with an intimate look at the school and its facilities.
Leading the virtual tour is Coach Aaron Smetanka, one of the rising star in the Division III coaching ranks. Aerial videos showcase the three manicured, grass fields and turf field set on a hill just footsteps away from campus. The entire complex is surrounded by the Laurel highlands, offering inspiring views from the library on weekday mornings and from the sidelines on Saturdays.
St. Vincent's football facilities are among the most scenic in the nation, but the weight room and other athletic complexes aren't far behind. Student athletes have access to all of it throughout the year, forwarding the Bearcat Football goal of physical and mental development from an athlete's first day on campus.
Best part of the Saint Vincent Football Virtual Visit:
Three words. Chuck. Noll. Field.
Walking out of the locker room at Saint Vincent is like stepping into a scene from a classic football movie Brian's Song or Rudy. Time seems to stand still at Chuck Noll Field, as it remains one of the most idyllic venues in Division III during a Pennsylvania autumn day.
And when the foliage starts to show on the outskirts of campus that overlooks the football complex, the scene is enough to remind every player at any level what the sport means to them.
Click here to get an inside look at Chuck Noll Field and the Bearcat football facilities..
The Waynesburg University Virtual Visit takes you inside the Yellow Jacket Football program. Waynesburg has a rich history on the gridiron, despite its modern facilities. In 1939, Waynesburg played in the first American football game to be televised against the Fordham Rams in New York City, almost 80 years before the Yellow Jackets got new turf in their own John F. Wiley Stadium.
Playing in college football's first game on television isn't Waynesburg's only claim to fame. The Yellow Jackets are also undefeated against Division I powerhouse Penn State, winning the only two contests in 1931 and 1932. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, Waynesburg will retain bragging rights for awhile as the two are now in different divisions in the NCAA.
That history in college football is not lost on Waynesburg's current coaching staff and they plan to make a lot more of it. They launched the Waynesburg University Virtual Visit in the fall of 2020 to showcase their facilities and culture to more prospects.
The Virtual Visit features an inside look at the Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, with videos tours of the football stadium, locker rooms, and other athletic facilities. Within the visit, athletes will also be able to sit down virtually with Waynesburg Head Coach Chris Smithley, as he chats about the expectations and opportunities that come with being a Division III football player.
Other activities include an introduction to Waynesburg's Offensive Coordinator, Brian Radakovich, and Defensive Coordinator, Scott Venick, who outline the style of play athletes can expect. Athletes are also introduced to some of the academic opportunities at Wayneburg University and the exciting aspects of attending a private university with over 70 academic concentrations.
Favorite part of the Waynesburg Football Virtual Visit:
Offensive Coordinator Brian Radakovich breaks down the Yellow Jacket's no-huddle, multiple-spread offense. Operating mostly out of the shotgun and pistol, Coach Radakovich's scheme simultaneously spreads out his playmakers while keeping the defense guessing.
Multiple tight-ends and style of play-calling that puts the ball in front of every jersey that is eligible, the Waynesburg offense is a skill-players dream and one that rewards a higher knowledge of the game. As for the offensive linemen, just hit your block and try to get to the next line of scrimmage faster than they can stretch the chains.
Click here to check out Coach Radakovich's inside look at the Waynesburg offense.
The impact of these Virtual Visits will certainly be evident on each team's roster in the coming seasons. But, more than any single recruit, this Virtual Visit forward the great cultures of these programs and give more athletes and programs a look at PAC football.
If your program wants to reach more athletes without raising your recruiting budget, head to gmtm.com/virtuals/create to launch your own Virtual Visit on GMTM.