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Inside the NCAA Convention: Are coaches wise in banning social media?

It's an issue that just will not go away. Social media, and the proper path to handle athletes' tweeting tendencies are a common recurring headache for football coaches across the country. 

To help those coaches, particularly those at the smaller levels, the NCAA gathered three people who work in the trenches of social media and college athletics every day: Northwest Missouri State athletic director Wren Baker, Washington new media and recruiting services manager Daniel Hour and Fieldhouse Media founder Kevin DeShazo

Baker has had his own Twitter account for two years but just recently began actively using it within the last six months. "Social media is part of what we do," he said. "The impact you can have with re-tweets on game times, promotions, it's amazing. We get borderline hate-mail when we don't tweet game updates."

Unsurprisingly, all three disagreed with the outright banning of Twitter that some programs enforce.

"They always ban Twitter. It's never Facebook, just Twitter," said DeShazo. "It's amazing in 2013 we still see some programs ignore it. Seventy-five percent of college students are on Twitter. Last February, it was 31 percent."

"I don't think you're doing the right thing by banning it. I think it's just the opposite," Baker added.

Baker uses Twitter not just to monitor his students, but to build fan support for his Division II program. "Any way that you can connect with your fans, you should." 

Hour believes banning Twitter has a negative impact on recruiting and creates a level of mistrust between a coach and his players before the first whistle has been blown. "If you tell a 17-year-old recruit, 'Hey when you get here, you won't be able to be on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram', that's not going to help you in recruiting."

In the end, the panel agreed, Twitter is a tool that has become a necessity of modern life. The trio sees proper use of social media like anything else in a coach-player relationship, a real-world situation that is up to the coach to educate his student-athletes on its proper usage. 

"We tell our kids to stay away from profanity and stay away from the refs," said Baker. "They're kids. They're going to make mistakes. That's where our jobs come in, to educate." Baker then closed his thoughts with a quote that St. Thomas (D-III - MN) head coach Glenn Caruso invoked in his address at the AFCA Convention, "Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child."

For any coaches not sold on the beliefs of three professionals, DeShazo added this anecdote, "In the past two years, only one team that played in the BCS banned Twitter."

 

From FCS to the NFL: Quantifying the rise of Gus Bradley

Seattle Seahawks Gus Bradley was tabbed the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday morning. The coordinator of the NFL's top-ranked defense grabbing a head coaching job isn't at all surprising. In fact, it's to be expected. However, the speed and ferocity of Bradley's hop scotch up the coaching ladder is a story worth telling.

First, the background. The Gus Bradley story starts at North Dakota State, where he played from 1984-88, and as a graduate assistant from 1990-91. He then jumped to Fort Lewis (D-II - CO), where he worked as the defensive coordinator from 1992-95. After four months as the Fort Lewis head coach, Bradley received a call to return to Norht Dakota State where, from 1996-2005, he served seven seasons as the defensive coordinator and six as assistant head coach. 

Then, as Mike McFeely of KFGO.com writes, Bradley was grabbed by the claw of destiny.

"Monte Kiffin, the NFL’s legendary defensive guru and advocate for the “Tampa 2” defense, was then defensive coordinator for Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. Kiffin called Bradley looking for a recommendation on Bison secondary coach Willie Mack Garza. The conversation between Kiffin and Bradley quickly turned to Xs and Os chalkboard talk about the Tampa 2.

"Kiffin was wholly impressed. He and Bradley talked more. Kiffin hired Bradley to be the Buccaneers’ quality-control coach for the 2006 season, with the possibility (no promises) of being elevated to linebackers coach in 2007. That, indeed, happened in 2007 and Bradley held that job for two years.

"'He totally exceeded my expectations,” Kiffin told the Seattle Times in 2009. “He was really under the radar.'"

As McFeely states, Bradley had made the improbable FCS-to-NFL leap, but he was still only a quality control assistant. At that point, it was on Bradley to prove his worth, and that he did. As the Bucs linebackers coach, he helped Derrick Brooks reach the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2008 and, which landed him a spot as Seattle's defensive coordinator in 2009.

(As an aside, Kiffin again went back to North Dakota State before the 2012 season, plucking Scottie Hazleton to be the Trojans' linebackers coach. Is current Bison defensive coordinator Chris Klieman, the 2012 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year, the next star to come from the Fargo gold mine?)

Bradley produced instant results in Seattle. His first defense became the first Seahawks defense to post two shutouts in a season since 1986, and in 2011, Seattle ranked in the NFL's top 10 in total defense for only the sixth time in franchise history. This season, as Russell Wilson grabbed all the headlines, the Seahawks led the NFL in total defense en route to the NFC Divisional Playoffs. 

How's this for perspective on how fast Bradley has risen: he will now coach Jaguars center Brad Meester, a 13-year veteran who was in his seventh season in Jacksonville when Bradley made his NFL coaching debut. 

As was pointed out to us on Twitter this morning, Bradley is unique but not alone. After all, Chip Kelly was coaching at New Hampshire up until six years ago. Brian Kelly was coaching in Division II as recently as 2003. That leads us to wonder who the other potential coaching diamonds are currently lying in the rough, but that's another column altogether. 

As for Bradley, while he will be tasked with turning around a team that finished 2-14 in 2012 and hasn't had a winning season since 2007, but his tale is yet another reminder that sometimes it's about the journey, not the destination. 

Kelly tells reporters at airport: 'The challenge is why I came'

After landing in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly briefly fielded a few questions from reporters.

Kelly explained that the decision to leave Eugene was very tough, especially leaving behind quality people and his staff at Oregon, but ultimately the challenge was something that he couldn't pass up.

"The challenge is what excites me, and that's why I came. It's a great city, an iconic franchise, an unbelievable owner, but I left some unbelievable people back in Oregon and that was the tough part...the human side of this whole thing." he explained.

When asked if this was his dream job, Kelly said, "My dream is to just win, and this is the best opportunity for me to win."

Kelly is expected to settle in and have an official press conference later today, but the clip below provides a solid few minutes of him fresh off of the plane, courtesty of KEZI9TV.

 

University of North Florida looking to add football

The University of North Florida is starting to gather information, and reach out to students and faculty, on the possibility of bringing football to campus.

However, the ball's just started rolling, as president John Delaney explained in an article on Jacksonville.com.

“I do want to stress that we’re thinking about thinking about it. We’ve made no commitment. We haven’t begun discussions with the faculty or looking at the budgets.” 

Back in 2004, Delaney made a recommendation to make the move to Division I with "three no's" in mind - no change in admission standards, no academic funds to be used on athletics and last but not least, no football. All other sports now compete in Division I.

But with the college football landscape changing constantly the past few years, along with the fact that enrollment has risen despite dip in the economy, Delaney's mind has opened up a bit.

“I’ve long said 25,000 students ... to be able to make it work, and so I thought it was many, many years away, especially with this recession. Then the major shakeup in the conferences, where the big boys raided the little boys and the little boys raiding the mid-majors, and the mid-majors raiding the entry-level conferences.”

Delaney added that many other schools in their conference (Atlantic Sun) are also in the beginning stages of exploring the possibility of bringing football to campus.

The results on enrollment and bringing a sense of school pride are raved about by programs who have added football recently, and if North Florida does add football, they'll be able to walk right out their front door and have one of the richest recruiting bases at their fingertips.

We'll keep you updated as to how this one plays out.

 

The Scoop on Jamey Chadwell to Charleston Southern

We have learned that Delta State (D-II - MS) head coach Jamey Chadwell has been hired to the same position at Charleston Southern, a South Carolina-based FCS school that competes in the Big South Conference.

Chadwell, 35, spent one season at Delta State and before that spent three seasons as the head coach at North Greenville (D-II) in Tigerville, S.C. At North Greenville, Chadwell inherited a program that had beaten just five Division II opponents in school history and went 22-14 in his three seasons, including a 20-6 mark over his final two campaigns and an appearance in the Division II Quarterfinals. 

Chadwell, who played at East Tennessee State and coached there from 2000-03, returns to Charleston Southern, where he was an offensive assistant and recruiting coordinator from 2004-08, helping the Bucs win the 2005 Big South title. 

In our opinion, this is a great move for both parties. Chadwell moves back to a place he experienced great success previously, and Charleston Southern gets a head coach that is a proven winner and is well-liked throughout the coaching community. 

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