In contrast to Tweetin’ Pete, one coach who doesn’t “get” social media is Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach. He’ll be the first to admit it, never having sent a mere email himself. In the video below, taken from an interview this past summer, Leach gives his limited insight on new technologies and social media.
Earlier this season, a Texas Tech player tweeted from a team meeting wondering why he had to be there when the head coach couldn’t even be on time. This prompted Leach to ban his players from using Twitter. In a rather comical interview, which I couldn’t find online, Leach said that he could put mirrors in his narcissistic players’ lockers if all they wanted to do was talk (or tweet) about themselves. In addition, the coach planned to monitor his players’ Facebook pages.
Texas football Coach Mack Brown has gone on record saying that he thought imposing limits on social media usage would be unlawful. Rather than restricting his players’ use of social media, Brown has simply encouraged them to be careful and responsible with the information they share, just as they should with traditional media.
The Dallas Morning News surveyed its editorial board about which coach’s policy was better. Nine out of ten preferred Mack Brown’s hands-off, common sense approach. Some seemed to believe that Leach was naïve for attempting to limit his players’ public communication, for which Twitter is simply a new medium. A tweet can essentially have the same effect as an unsupervised interview with a reporter, which Leach probably allows. Others noted that Brown’s policy allows his players to make their own decisions and learn from them.
In my opinion, Brown has taken the correct approach with social media. He doesn’t attempt to limit their channels of communication, but instead trusts them to be responsible and make good decisions. Sooner or later athletes will realize that anything they say in social media has the potential to reach a national audience.