IOWA CITY, Ia. – It’s easier for Brian Ferentz to tweet than tinker.
When the offensive line coach for Iowa’s football team needed his phone fixed, he called an audible and headed to a nearby Verizon store.
The employee assisting Ferentz responded with a little good-natured teasing.
“He recognized me and said, ‘I thought you were the technologically advanced one,’ ’’ Ferentz recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, but within reason.’ ”
This wasn’t the first time Ferentz’s reputation for being savvy with social media has preceded him.
Several other members of the Hawkeye staff have credited him with bringing coaches up to speed on Twitter — including his father, head coach Kirk Ferentz.
“I just think all that stuff certainly is generational, and it’s very important to recruiting,” Brian Ferentz said. “Because it’s the only way we can contact prospective student-athletes.”
While Twitter remains a tricky issue for coaches and the NCAA, it is the preferred method of communication among high schoolers.
“That direct-message aspect of social media becomes our avenue for communication,” Ferentz said. “As far as the more public aspect of it, I think it’s just based on your personality.”
In other words, Twitter is not for everybody.
“If our head coach was on Twitter, I think it would become very apparent to everyone that he wasn’t running his account,” Brian said of Kirk. “Because that’s not very much his personality.”
The younger Ferentz as well as running backs coach Chris White and receivers coach Bobby Kennedy have become regular tweeters.
“I understand how to tweet. I understand how to Facebook. I understand how to email and do all those things,” Brian Ferentz said. “I would say Bobby and Chris probably have taken it to another level. They’re probably much more proficient even than I am.”
It was White who inspired Kennedy to join Twitter last spring.
“I was a Facebook guy and I saw (White),” Kennedy explained. “He’s on his phone all the time. I kept asking him, ‘Hey, you’ve got to teach me how to do that,’ and he did. So that’s what we’re doing now.”
Of course, there is the occasional blowback.
Brian Ferentz caused some to bristle last fall when he tweeted: “I know that the stadium experience is lacking but this team needs your support — do it on your own. Best fans in the country! #MelroseMagic”
“What I tweeted was exactly what I meant,” Ferentz said Wednesday. “Whatever happened with the response and publicly … Again, it goes back to whatever your personality is and what you’re comfortable sharing, what you’re comfortable commenting on from a social standpoint.
“I don’t tweet about politics,” Ferentz added. “I don’t tweet about other things like that. I made a comment about something I thought was relevant.”
Hawkeye basketball coach Fran McCaffery took a more cautious approach when he banned his players from Twitter following a hostile exchange between fans and senior forward Zach McCabe.
“The last thing that anybody in the basketball program wants is a former mediocre wrestler talking to them about sets or out-of-bounds plays or anything like that,” Ferentz said. “So I’ve never had a conversation with anybody in Iowa basketball other than friendly banter. Good luck and best wishes, things like that.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football