There are many ways to judge the popularity of a college football coach, but perhaps one of the best is to look at his Twitter followers.
With the way the college football landscape is changing, Twitter is growing in popularity, and coaches use it in a number of different ways.
Just a few months ago, USA Today came out with the top 10 most popular college football coaches on Twitter. We are going to take it one step further and list the top 25 coaches.
So, here are the most popular coaches in college football. At least when it comes to Twitter, that is.
*Number of Twitter followers are current as of Sunday, April 28, 2013.
Here are five coaches who just missed out on making the list.
Mike Riley, Oregon (@Coach_Riley): 14,832—The head man at Oregon State is one of many very popular college football coaches out West.
Kevin Wilson, Indiana (@IUCoachWilson): 15,494—Even though Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson does not win too many football games, he is very popular with the social media.
Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati (@TTuberville): 17,384—The new head coach of the Bearcats brings a large number of Twitter followers. Not quite as much as two former Cincinnati head coaches near the top of the list.
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech (@TTUKingsbury): 18,437—The new Texas Tech head coach is not afraid to speak his mind, making him perfect to follow on Twitter.
Larry Fedora, North Carolina (@CoachFedora): 19,418—Coming from Southern Miss, Fedora has quickly grown popular on Twitter in just one season in Chapel Hill coaching North Carolina. He is always quick to back his players (former and present) on Twitter.
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (@coachfitz51): 19,861
At just under 20,000, Fitzgerald is quickly rising in popularity with the success of his Northwestern squad.
Like many other coaches on the list, he backs his team and the university as well.
When it comes to number of tweets, he is very consistent with around five to eight tweets a day.
James Franklin, Vanderbilt (@jamesfranklinvu): 20,020
Having just gone over 20,000 followers in recent days, Franklin is one of 11 SEC coaches on the list.
No question that the Twitter followers from this conference are higher than any other league in the country.
Franklin is a big believer in the retweet and is not afraid to throw in a tweet of his own once in a while. Look for him to continue to grow in popularity in coming years, particularly if he finds a big-time gig somewhere else.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson (@coachswinney): 21,107
The ACC is another league that has a lot of very popular coaches on Twitter. One of those is Dabo Swinney.
What is most amazing about the popularity of Swinney is the fact that he has not tweeted anything since 2009 but is still gaining followers.
Just think how many followers he would have if he decided to tweet every once in a while.
Al Golden, Miami (@GoldenAl): 22,912
Even though he does not tweet quite as often as some of the other names on the list, Golden is still one of the more popular coaches in the country as far as Twitter is concerned.
Similar to James Franklin of Vanderbilt, Golden is a master of the retweet. It is very rare that he tweets something of his own.
Golden is not gaining Twitter followers quite as fast as others, however.
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State (@CoachGundy): 27,942
This is where the number of followers starts to jump up. Gundy is one of only a few popular coaches from the Big 12 as far as Twitter is concerned.
Gundy is good for one or two tweets a day. More on special occasions. Unlike some of the other coaches on the list, most of his tweets are his own words.
Look for his number of followers to continue to rise in the coming months.
Charlie Strong, Louisville (@CharlieStrongUL): 28,088
The number of followers for Strong has rocketed up and with the popularity of the Louisville football program continuing to grow. He could be in the top 10 within a year.
Not only does the move to the ACC help, but so does the fact that he is very interesting to follow on Twitter and always tweets out pictures.
That is a great bonus for those following him.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia (@Holgorsendana): 28,426
The West Virginia head coach seems a little eccentric to begin with, and judging by the number of Twitter followers he has, there is no doubt that he is worth following.
Holgorsen does not tweet nearly as often as a lot of other coaches on the list but has some very interesting things to say when he does.
He also tweets a boat-load of pictures.
How does a personality like Lane Kiffin in a city like Los Angeles at a university like USC have less than 30,000 Twitter followers?
That is very surprising considering the fact that he still tweets periodically.
What might help Kiffin is tweeting a little more. He typically sends out around 10 a week or fewer in some cases.
I guess he is too busy landing 5-star recruits.
Mack Brown, Texas (@UT_MackBrown): 29,794
Some might think that a coach like Mack Brown would have more Twitter followers, but he is just under 30,000. Still, that puts him in the top spot as far as the Big 12 is concerned.
Brown is a constant tweeter, always supporting the different Texas teams. He also shows love for his players through his Twitter account.
Longhorn fans need to help get this guy higher on the list.
Gary Pinkel, Missouri (@mizzoufootball): 31,632
This is the beginning of a run on SEC coaches, and the top 15 is far ahead of the names below it on the list.
When it comes to number of tweets, few coaches do it better thank Pinkel. He does a little bit of everything on Twitter, including posting pictures.
No doubt he will continue to rise in popularity as long as he is coaching in the SEC.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn (@CoachGusMalzahn): 32,095
Few coaches have seen a rise in popularity in recent months like Malzahn. When he took over the Auburn job, needless to say he did not have a lot of Twitter followers.
Even in December his number was less than 10,000. He has skyrocketed in recent months, and coaching at a university like Auburn, that number will continue to rise.
He posts frequent tweets but is definitely not a fan of the retweet.
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (@CoachSumlin): 32,810
Here is another coach who has risen in popularity since his team joined the SEC. Coincidentally, that was also the same season that Sumlin first became a head coach.
Sumlin does not tweet very often and is also a big friend of the retweet.
If he showed a little more interest in his Twitter account, he could be closer to 40,000 followers.
Will Muschamp, Florida (@CoachWMuschamp): 39,460
No doubt that Muschamp will be in the top 10 at some point if he remains at Florida. The Gators head coach continues to rise up the rankings, and he is coaching in the right conference.
He is good for a few tweets a day and is relatively consistent with that number.
Muschamp is also a fan of the pictures.
Mike Leach, Washington State (@Coach_Leach): 42,145
With all Leach has been through, it is nice to see he has more Twitter followers than almost any coach in college football.
His tweets come very sparingly, so this number might be even higher if he kept up with it a little better.
With the exception of the SEC, the Pac-12 has more coaches near the top of the list than any other conference.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky (@UKCoachStoops): 42,881
The new Kentucky head coach is definitely on the right track as far as Twitter followers are concerned.
While his number of followers may seems like a decent amount as he nearly cracks the top 10, it is nothing compared to the over 1.2 million head basketball coach John Calipari has.
No doubt that he could be up near the top five with a decent 2013 season at Kentucky.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska (@BoPelini): 43,117
The Big Ten is certainly not big on Twitter, at least as far as coaches are concerned, but topping the list and one of only two coaches in the top 25 is Pelini.
Pelini does not tweet very often at all and has only put out three tweets this entire year.
No doubt that he could be a little higher on the list if he expressed himself more via Twitter.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State (@CoachDanMullen): 44,642
The Mississippi State head coach loves to express himself on Twitter, and he is very interactive with a lot of his followers. That is more than can be said about a lot of the names on this list.
He is in a battle with Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze but right now is currently right behind him.
Look for this off-the-field battle along with the one on it to continue for years to come.
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss (@CoachHughFreeze): 44,987
Just ahead of Mullen is Freeze. The Ole Miss head coach had quite a recruiting class and being active on Twitter can do nothing but help in that respect.
He is good for about five to 10 tweets a day. That is a high number compared to most and should help his number of followers continue to rise.
For those fans looking for a retweet, just send a tweet to Freeze. He might gladly oblige.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington (@CoachSark): 46,318
Just a few months ago, Sarkisian was in the top five, and while he has not lost followers, he has not gained them as quickly as the coaches from the SEC. That is why he has dropped a few spots on the list.
One of the reasons two new SEC coaches might have passed Sarkisian is the simple fact that he is not tweeting as much anymore.
He put less than 10 tweets out there in April, and that is not a good way to add followers.
Jim Mora Jr, UCLA (@UCLACoachMora): 49,845
At one point in time, Mora was over 50,000 followers but has since slipped right under the mark.
He is the top coach as far as Twitter is concerned from the Pac-12 and picked up a ton of followers while quickly turning the UCLA program around last season.
He just might tweet more than any coach in the country. He is new to Twitter, so expect his number of followers to start rising, particularly when the season begins.
Bret Bielema, Arkansas (@BretBielema): 57,918
Among those who are also new to Twitter is Bielema. Since becoming the Arkansas head coach, he has made a huge rise through the Twitter rankings.
Bielema is now nearing 60,000 followers and will likely be there in a few months.
He is a tweeting machine compared to everyone else on the list and is not afraid to get into conversations with people. He will also answer questions when asked.
Mark Richt, Georgia (@MarkRicht): 65,076
Yet another SEC coach comes in next. The Georgia Bulldogs have had a wealth of success in recent years, and that is part of the reason why Richt has accumulated so many followers.
He just might use more exclamation points than any other coach, and it is not even close. Good luck finding a tweet without an exclamation point.
If his number of followers continue to rise, he could be over 100,000 before the end of the 2013 season.
Butch Jones, Tennessee (@UTCoachJones): 75,083
Since becoming the head coach of Tennessee, Butch Jones has seen his number of Twitter followers explode, perhaps more so than any other coach in college football.
He is very interactive with fans and also very supportive in his tweets.
Very few people love their job more than this guy, and he gets the most out of his talent. That enthusiasm and passion is also on full display on his Twitter account.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame (@CoachBrianKelly): 90,915
Kelly is one of those coaches who likes to put up motivational tweets or interesting quotes.
He is very consistent with a tweet or two every day to keep fans interested. With the following Notre Dame football has, this guy should be going over 100,000 followers very soon if he can continue to tweet as much as possible.
The recent success of the Notre Dame football program certainly does not hurt, either.
Les Miles, LSU (@LSUCoachMiles): 105,581
Topping the list is the only college football head coach with more than 100,000 Twitter followers.
Miles is showing no signs of regression as his number continues to rise. He is pulling away from the field and is doing it by using his own words.
There are very few retweets with Miles, and he also does not tweet at people very often, either.
Whatever he is doing, he is doing it right as he tops the list by a long shot.
While I may not have as many Twitter followers as these guys, a few more wouldn't hurt.