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Chuck Landon: Twitter is ruling the sports universe

May. 19, 2013 @ 12:35 AM

Twitter isn't actually taking over the world.

It just seems that way.

What a phenomenon.

Who would have guessed this relatively simple concept of exchanging ideas, information and opinions would have mushroomed into such a way of life?

Not me.

But it certainly has.

Just look what The Herald-Dispatch sportswriter Grant Traylor experienced last Tuesday. When the sporting world discovered he would be breaking the long-awaited news of Huntington Prep basketball star Andrew Wiggins' choice of colleges, Traylor's list of followers soared from 1,962 to 17,800 in only two days.

Crazy, huh?

Welcome to the minute by minute world of Twitter.

Why, it has reached the point that colleges, coaches, celebrities and the media use it as an everyday tool in their professions.

Marshall, for example, released its football recruits one by one on national signing day via Twitter. The media utilizes it to post breaking news. In fact, The Herald-Dispatch's web site includes a feature where all the staffers' tweets are posted automatically.

Then, there are coaches.

Some of them actually are on Twitter as much as the rest of it. A recent story in the Tulsa World newspaper detailed how many followers collegiate head football coaches had individually on Twitter.

The results were more than a little interesting.

For starters, Alabama's Nick Saban isn't on Twitter. Anybody surprised? Other coaches such as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops have private accounts that are used just for recruiting.

But otherwise?

Well, West Virginia University's Dana Holgorsen ranks in the Top 20 at No. 19 with 28,503 followers, as of May 3. Interestingly, Holgorsen was one spot ahead of Louisville's Charlie Strong, who was No. 20 with 28,152 followers.

The overall leader really comes as no surprise. It is unabashed LSU coach Les Miles, who seems to be about as public as any high-profile football coach possibly could be. Miles has 105,760 followers.

The rest of the Top 10 includes No. 2 Brian Kelly, Notre Dame, 91,042; No. 3 Butch Jones, Tennessee, 75,300; No. 4 Mark Richt, Georgia, 65,240; No. 5 Bret Bielema, Arkansas, 57,958; No. 6 Jim Mora, UCLA, 49,239; No. 7 Steve Sarkisian, Washington, 46,377; No. 8 Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss, 45,098; No. 9 Dan Mullen, Mississippi State, 44,697; and No. 10 Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 43,162.

Just missing the Top 10 was new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, who was No. 11 with 43,068 followers. And he hasn't even coached a game yet.

Then, there are Conference USA's coaches, present and future.

The leader is Louisiana Tech's Skip Holtz at No. 43 with 6,482 followers. Trailing Holtz are Western Kentucky's Bobby Petrino at No.49 with 5,239; Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill, No. 54, 3,586; East Carolina's Ruffin McNeill, No. 61, 3,003; UAB's Garrick McGee, No. 62, 2,980; Southern Miss' Todd Monken, No. 63, 2,753; Tulane's Curtis Johnson, No. 68; 2,159; Tulsa's Bill Blankenship, No. 74, 1,703; Marshall's Doc Holliday, No. 81, 1,054; and Texas-San Antonio's Larry Coker, No. 87, 520.

The funny part about Holliday's Twitter account is he never has tweeted. Not once. But there's also a Fake Doc Holliday account that has 368 followers and has tweeted 142 times.

Oh, yeah, and the Fake Doc follows me on Twitter.

It figures.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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