College coaches catch Twitter bug (cont.)
Also, coaches probably should set a midnight deadline for new tweets. In the wee hours one recent weekend morning, the following tweets tumbled from Illinois coach Ron Zook's feed. They have since disappeared from Zook's page, but remained visible to followers using RSS readers and to anyone who searched "ronzook" on Twitter.com for seven days after the post.
RonZook: Is that all U got
RonZook: Please. Come here
There can only be two possible explanations for these messages. Either Zook was calling friends together to quote his favorite line from Mickey Rourke's career-reviving turn in Sin City, or he was calling friends together so he could accept Twitter follower kinsella316's challenge of a push-up contest between himself and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Coaches also should understand fans don't get all their news through official channels. So sending a positive-spin tweet while the mainstream media deliver legitimate bad news comes off as desperate. For example, South Florida coach Jim Leavitt sent this tweet on May 6: "Our athletes averaged over 3.0 Now that is big!" Unfortunately for Leavitt, his tweet hit the Web at about the same time the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rates statistics. USF's football team had the lowest APR of any BCS-conference program.
Finally, someone needs to fill in coaches on the concept of intellectual property. The Stewart tweet quoted above is part of a series he calls "Mountaineers Rules for Living." These rules, usually erroneously credited to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, were written by conservative pundit Charles J. Sykes. Sykes does not receive credit on Stewart's page.
Despite its pitfalls, Twitter can serve as an oasis of information in a desert of restricted access. For example, though Alabama assistant coaches rarely grant interviews, they do tweet on the program's official Twitter page. So now we know tight ends coach Bobby Williams recruited in Florida on May 6, the same day defensive line coach Bo Davis recruited in Mississippi. We also know that on May 11, first-year linebackers coach Sal Sunseri -- a Pittsbrugh native -- finally found a decent Italian joint: "i finally found my italian place in alabama- just had an unbelievable meal at Leonardo's in vestavia hills ... Best in Bama."
Restaurants aren't the only things coaches recommend. Over on the basketball side, Kentucky coach John Calipari suggests several books a week. Meanwhile, in Troy, D.J. Petey typically offers a song a day. Carroll, who got slammed in this space last year for listing The Fray as one of his favorite bands on his Facebook page, has eclectic tastes, but he'll rarely steer you wrong. On Monday, May 11, he plugged Kids by trip-poppers MGMT. On Friday, May 8, he dedicated Nena's 99 Luftballoons to disgraced slugger Manny Ramirez.
One coach has already bailed on Twitter. Tuesday, Syracuse's Doug Marrone tweeted this: "Taking a break from Twitter.Thanks for all the support.Check out @suorangeempire for exclusive fb info. See you at the Dome in Sept." Still, expect a few more coaches to jump on board before this fad gets beaten too deep into the ground. Also, expect plenty of impostors. On May 13, someone claiming to be Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt sent this Tweet: "going to Lowes to buy ladders and cinder blocks. Building a fence around Mississippi brother!!!" An athletic department spokesman confirmed the author was a shameless fake and not the right reverend himself. While Nutt hasn't let his Twit flag fly, Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt went live with his feed earlier this month.
If there is any justice in this world, Wannstedt's mustache will start Tweeting by July.
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