As administrators across college sports watched Tennessee’s attempt to hire Greg Schiano implode on Sunday, a new reality settled over this pressure-packed business. Never before had a major coaching hire been nixed in real time by social media reaction, building to the point where school administrators got spooked into backing out of an already signed agreement. By the time screaming radio hosts and message board posters had rallied several hours worth of resistance to the idea of Tennessee hiring Schiano, it became clear that bringing him to a news conference in Knoxville would have been untenable. And that kind of thing will have consequences, not just for Tennessee but potentially all of college sports. On Monday, some industry insiders were trying to figure out if hiring a football coach at a high-profile program would ever be the same again. Much like in 2001, when the fiasco over George O’Leary’s embellished résumé at Notre Dame created a totally new vetting practice for coaching candidates, this felt a little bit like a seminal moment for athletics directors. Schiano wasn’t the first coach whose name elicited an immediate negative reaction from a fan base, often based on a perception that was premature and misinformed. But in the era of social media, the power of those voices was realized at Tennessee in a way that had never before had as big of an impact. Athletics directors used to worry about whether their hires would win the news conference. That now seems almost quaint. These days, does the hire have to win Twitter? “If you do your job and you know you are right, stand by it,” said one college coach who was granted anonymity in exchange for speaking freely about the situation. “Everybody’s got a voice these days and athletics directors and presidents are swayed by those outer voices. (Sunday) was a clown show.” “It made me sick,” another coach said.
Social media reaction, which wrecked Tennessee's search, could be new reality in hiring
USA Today | Nov 28