This week: Mike Molin provides a fix for a statistics
junkie like me.
I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to statistics. In
fact, one of my favorite Christmas presents was the 2007 Almanac
published by Baseball America. The book contains 447 pages of
statistics on every major and minor league baseball player. Hope
Mills native Blake Maxwell is right there on page 73.
I guess my confession is not a surprise to anyone who has read
any of my articles over the last seven months. You can imagine how
much time I spend on the Internet looking at sports statistics. One
of my favorite places to visit is ncprepsports.net. This is the Web
site for high school sports for Cumberland County schools and was
created by Mike Molin, a county resident since 1972.
Molin played freshman baseball at West Virginia after competing
in football and basketball in high school. Today he is an avid
golfer as a member of Gates Four Country Club, where he lives with
his wife, Patti. They have two daughters, Nicole, a lawyer in
Wilmington, and Jodie, a teacher at Gray’s Creek Middle School.
Molin began recording statistics at South View in 1996 and helped
compile the school’s record books for football and basketball.
Soon, his work began to be noticed by others in the county.
“In 2001, Fred McDaniel, director of student activities for
Cumberland County Schools, asked me to compile all the boys and
girls basketball stats for all the county schools,” Molin said.
“So I worked with the coaches. They sent me their stats. I
compiled and faxed back to them each week. I would also send them to
The Fayetteville Observer.”
Molin, a 30-year employee of IBM, began to think about expanding
his contributions to the local sports scene.
“I thought to myself that there were many other high school
sports fans in the area who would like to see not only these stats
but other information like schedules, archived news articles,
all-conference teams, college commitments, athletes of the week —
not only for the major sports like football, basketball, but for
volleyball, soccer, wrestling, baseball, softball, golf, tennis,
track etc.,” Molin said. “At that time the Internet was kind of
a mystery to me, so in the spring of 2001, I enlisted an IBM
associate of mine who was a little more technical than me and we set
up the site using AIT as the host.
“Initially, I sold ads on the site, but when it became apparent
that the ads were taking up too much space, I cancelled all my
agreements and went to Dr. David Jackson and Fred McDaniel with
Cumberland County Schools, and we worked out a contractor’s
agreement where I would provide the site for the school district.
“This has worked out great. Although I still own the
ncprepsports.net domain, the district’s athletic directors are the
real owners. I attend their monthly meeting and brief them on what I
am doing with the site.”
The site has fared well, competing for attention in the vast
world of cyberspace.
“On August 1, I reset the counter to see how many hits we would
get to the site for this school year,” Molin said. “At the end
of December, we were averaging over 22,000 hits per month. I guess
that is pretty good, since we do not publicize outside the county
and there is nothing to compare it to. I do get very positive
e-mails from people outside the county wishing their district had
such a site.
“Also, I ask the athletic directors and coaches to help push
the site noting that we are just trying to get area sports fans
interested in their athletic programs and to help fill their seats
at their sporting events.”
The cooperation with the schools is the lifeblood of the site. It
would be impossible for an individual to maintain the records of all
the local schools without considerable assistance.
“Most of the coaches are very good about sending in accurate
statistical information on a timely basis,” Molin said. “The
stat information cannot be posted without their input, so I am very
appreciative of the time the coaches and members of their staff take
to keep the stat information and send in to me.”
With 10 high schools each sending him statistics on 16 different
teams, it takes a lot of effort to update the site daily.
“It’s very labor intensive,’’ he said. “Every morning
there is usually something new to add to the site whether it be the
prior day’s scores, updating conference standings, links to news
articles. I get stats that are sent in that day posted by that
evening. When I travel, I take my laptop with me and do updates on
Even with the amount of attention required, Molin still enjoys
spending his spare time working on the site and said his favorite
part is, “finding new and updated information that I can post.”
“Last week for example, I found information on the winningest
active coaches on the N.C. iHigh site, so links were put in to
that.” Molin said. “A great time is waiting on that Saturday
when the football playoff pairings are announced from the NCHSAA. I
compare it to the NCAA basketball pairings Sunday. The great thing
about the Internet is that you can get the information out there
where the public can see it immediately.”
Of course, upon hearing Molin talk about the new information on
the winningest coaches, I decided to immediately check out the link
mentioned above. My craving for information was satisfied when I
read the listing for winningest active softball coaches. The top
spot is occupied by our very own Eddie Dees. Yeah, that’s right
Mayor Dees won 522 games in his 24 years as the softball coach at
See, stats can be fun. I don’t know if there is a cure for my
addiction. I hope I never find one.
Chris Koonce is a local sports enthusiast. He can be found at
sporting events throughout the South Cumberland County region
rooting for the young athletes.