- Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer
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Social media has changed the way we operate in the sports world. Players use social media to vent about playing time. Fans praise and criticize their favorite programs with it. Some coaches value it, too. A few have even mastered their Twitter voice. And that’s why you should follow these coaches:
John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari): With nearly 1.2 million Twitter followers, he’s the Ashton Kutcher of college basketball. Kentucky’s head coach tweets about everything. In recent weeks, he’s discussed the breakdown of the Indiana-Kentucky series and praised former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo. But he also offered this recent nugget on a favorite dining spot: “Thanks to Wagon Bones Grill for lunch today. Everything was delicious, but the mac 'n cheese may have been the best I've ever had.”
Tom Crean (@TomCrean): Indiana’s head coach loves to use his Twitter feed to motivate. He sends Bible verses and motivational quotes to his 75,000-plus followers. Crean’s feed is a must-follow because it embodies his real personality. His machine-gun pace of updates on his goals, recruiting and player observations mimics his true identity as an extremely energetic coach who touts the company line whenever he gets the chance. Check out this tweet during March Madness: “I can't imagine the value the ESPN commercial of Christians [sic] shot against Kentucky has for our Program, Athletic Department and our School.”
Tim Miles (@CoachMiles): Nebraska’s new head coach pushes the boundaries of social media integration. He’s a jokester (“@brycerausch ... You have excellent sideburns. Well done”), self-promoter and leader through his Twitter feed. Miles has attained the most social media success among his 14,700-plus followers for his in-game tweets. As his team struggled in the first half against UNLV last season, Miles offered this observation at halftime, “We just allowed them to get into way too much of a rhythm. You can’t allow UNLV to hit 7 threes in a half!” I’ve talked to Miles at length about his social media game. And from what he tells me, he’s going to push the limits going forward, too. Tweets during timeouts? Don’t be surprised. Follow him.
Chris Mack (@CoachChrisMack): Xavier’s coach uses his Twitter feed as practice for a future in standup comedy. It’s a side of Mack that’s rarely witnessed on the sidelines. But through his Twitter feed he offers a different perspective to his 13,600-plus followers. He tweets about food. “Chili's chips n salsa should be illegal. Or should be considered a basic food group. 1 of the 2..” He tweets his frustrations on life’s greatest challenges. “I dont understand why my parents pay for call waiting. They NEVER click over. Might as well have that 1981 busy signal to the house phone.” Mack is one of the top young coaches in the country. His social media swagger, however, is underrated.
Rick Ray (@RickRay1): Since leaving Clemson to take the Mississippi State post, Ray has been a Twitter addict. He’s using social media to promote the program. But he also provides the everyday updates that anyone can relate to. He clearly didn’t like the officiating in Sunday’s Celtics-Heat matchup, especially the foul call that sent LeBron James to the bench for good. “Are you kidding me!? You foul out the league's MVP on a rim run post up!? That is a no call all day long!” He loved “The Avengers” and wanted his nearly 8,000 followers to know it. “FINALLY got a chance to get away from work for a minute and saw The Avengers. Thumbs up, cgi Hulk steals the movie. Now back to the office” Ray’s raising the stakes among the SEC’s twittering coaches.
Cuonzo Martin (@CuonzoMartin): Tennessee’s head coach has amassed 18,000-plus followers in the short time he’s led the Vols program. The coaches who actually man their Twitter feeds usually praise the other coaches in their respective athletic departments. Martin, however, is a true fan of Vols athletics. Yes, he uses his Twitter stream to promote all things Vols basketball. But he seems equally concerned about his colleagues in other programs, especially Vols baseball and softball, which was recently knocked out of the World Series. The Vols have certainly had Martin’s support, proven by these tweets: “Went to the softball game today. Another big win for UT. They play like warriors.” and “What's the baseball score? Are the Vols winning? Coach Serrano is going to do a great job.” It’s an interesting read each day with Martin.