Ranking the Best CFB Coach Social Media Follows
While we don't have spring football this year, we do have college football head coaches on Twitter with a lot more time on their hands than usual.
Which ones have been the most entertaining, both in the past month and over the past few years?
Most coach accounts are so vanilla that there's a good chance they are handled by an intern. Take Penn State's James Franklin, for example. Just about all he uses Twitter for is wishing happy birthdays or quote-tweeting players and PSU accounts while adding nothing more than #WeAre. Pretty boring, although he did sneak in a five favorite Netflix shows ranking in mid-March.
But at least Franklin's account is better than the glorified aggregators who almost exclusively use Twitter to retweet recruits saying they are blessed to receive an offer from [insert school]. There's some value in that if you're super into recruiting news about that team, but again, it's pretty boring from a national perspective.
At the other end of the spectrum is Mississippi State's Mike Leach, who primarily spends his time on Twitter sharing memes. They're usually pretty funny—and his obsession with Bigfoot is...interesting—but we can't recommend him as one of the "best" follows because he occasionally crosses the line. This won't be our only reference to The Office, but Leach on Twitter is basically Michael "king of email forwards" Scott.
A handful of coaches are appropriately entertaining, though, and we've ranked them here. If you have any others that we've missed, feel free to share them. We're all desperately seeking some entertainment these days.
6. Tom Herman, Texas
There is a colossal gap in Tom Herman's timeline. Nothing shows up from Aug. 28, 2018 through March 25 of this year.
It's hard to blame him, though. The season-opening loss to Maryland on Sept. 1, 2018 is when people started screaming for him to get fired. No doubt there was a lot of that in his mentions, and it was just easier to avoid Twitter altogether than try to filter through the hate.
But he has been back during the coronavirus shutdown, and he was doing a lot of tweeting during ESPN's April 2 re-airing of the USC-Texas classic Rose Bowl from 2006.
Here's hoping this is the catalyst that brings him back to social media for good because he was fun with the whole #HTownTakeover trend when he was with Houston back in 2016.
Even while he was off Twitter, he was still at the center of at least two things going viral. His "Ok Cool. Hook Em!" text response to Zach Smith in Nov. 2018 was one of the funniest things to happen to college football Twitter, and flipping the double birds on live TV during this past December's early National Signing Day was equally comical.
It would be nice if he could bring some of that cavalier attitude back to his account.
5. Les Miles, Kansas
Les Miles doesn't tweet a ton, and most of his timeline is just retweets of the Kansas football official Twitter account.
But some of his original stuff is pretty funny.
The most recent example was the March 30 video of Miles washing his hands while singing Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" (just the "Start spreadin' the news" part, thankfully), then telling his wife to give him six feet of space for social distancing. He might have been the only coach to put out a COVID-19 message that was both instructional and comical.
I keep waiting for him to post a series of videos in which he's either eating or explaining the benefits of eating various types of grass, though.
4. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
My favorite thing about Lincoln Riley's Twitter presence is he'll often just tweet a single emoji.
If he's sharing something he thinks people need to hear, he'll quote-tweet it and put the emoji of a person shouting. If he finds an article that he agrees with, well, that gets quote-tweeted with the bullseye emoji.
Or when he's on the verge of getting a commitment from a recruit, he'll just tweet the eyes emoji. He did that on March 30, March 1, Jan. 19, Jan. 15 and at least a few dozen other times over the past few years.
When he does include text, it's usually not much. Maybe two or three words and two hashtags, which are usually #OUDNA and #BoomerSooner.
And I appreciate the brevity. He's like an offensive-guru version of Kevin Malone from The Office in the episode "The Incentive."
Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick? Many small time make big time. Sea world. Boomer.
3. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
It wasn't until writing about them in succession that I realized four of the top six on this list are coaches from the same conference. While the SEC has "It just means more," maybe the Big 12's slogan should be "We just tweet better."
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though, that the mullet-wielding man who became famous for his "Come after me! I'm a man! I'm 40!" rant is good at Twitter.
But Mike Gundy is much less angry on social media than he was during that press conference in 2007.
Nowadays, he's a guy who has an autocorrect blunder in a tweet, deletes it, posts a new one and then blames the initial mistake on a few beers. Or jokes that he just needs to sharpen his skills and gain some weight to get back into wrestling in his 50s. He'll also post pictures of himself and his two dogs.
And that was all in the span of about 10 days.
The top two coaches on our list are funny, but Gundy is a good follow because he seems like he would be a cool guy to have a few drinks with.
2. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Jim Harbaugh used to be the no-brainer choice for No. 1 on a list like this.
In 2012, SF Gate's Peter Hartlaub chronicled some of Harbaugh's most absurd tweets from 2009 and 2010 while he was with Stanford. Some of the best included dreams in which he channeled his inner Jack Bauer, as well as thoughts about Greek gods, Dairy Queen banana splits and air conditioning. Anything was possible.
Then, he went to the NFL for a few years and decided to leave Twitter behind. But when he came back to the college ranks, so did the tweeting—and it was awesome. In early 2016, he was a subtweeting fiend, going after the likes of Kirby Smart, Butch Jones and basically everyone in the SEC who had a problem with him taking the Wolverines to IMG Academy for spring practices.
However, he hasn't tweeted at all since early December, and his last somewhat comical social media observation came in July 2018.
We miss our whole-milk-loving weirdo. Come back to us, coach. We'll consider taking you off the hot seat rankings if you start entertaining us 280 characters at a time again.
1. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss
During his three seasons with Florida Atlantic, Lane Kiffin was a "shoot your shot" superstar.
"Come to #thefaU" was basically his slogan. It was always done jokingly (we think), but he tried to recruit LeBron James to FAU, gave Zion Williamson a shout, lacrosse players, Jennifer Aniston, etc. It didn't really matter. If he thought something was cool and wanted to share it, he'd just tell people to come to FAU.
Then, of course, there were all the rat poison tweets, in which he was basically begging his guys not to let any of the positive things anyone said about them go to their heads.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Our Adam Kramer even did a story in 2018 on how Kiffin was rebranding himself at FAU with his Twitter presence.
But it'll be interesting to see if he's still that much of a tweeting loose cannon now that he's back in the SEC with Ole Miss.
While remaking a name for himself (and his program) in Conference USA, it was much more of a "no such thing as bad press" situation. He was funny, FAU was damn good, and if his tweets were bringing more attention to the program, even better.
Thus far, he still seems like his usual self, retweeting a ton, posting inspirational quotes and generally spending about as much time on the site as a lot of us do every day. We'll see if that continues into the fall. Hopefully it does.