Early in a conversation with the Duke head coach today, I mentioned Twitter—and not long after, David Cutcliffe was Tweeting away on his laptop and BlackBerry from his fourth-floor office in the Yoh Football Center. The biggest decision of the day was not to join, but rather, what username he should use. We discussed DavidCutcliffe, CoachCutcliffe and CoachCut before settling on the first option.
First came his introductory post: "Just completed an interview. Learned about twitter. I'm off and running. We are working hard in football at Duke!" Then, an attempt at starting a conversation with a Twitter celebrity: "@elimanning Hey I'm on twitter can you believe that! Give me a call when you can!" Finally, to complete the initial triumvirate, a test Tweet from his phone: "Just checking my phone device."
Cutcliffe is not the first college football coach to use Twitter to his advantage—Pete Carroll has more than 1,700 followers, and Steve Sarkisian is nearing 1,000—but I do believe he's the first ACC coach to use the microblogging service. It seems obvious, though, that something like Twitter would appeal to a coach. It allows a coach to brand his team better, reach out to fans, interact with potential recruits and, more important, students, and stay on the cutting edge. At a place like Duke, it makes even more sense. Plenty of Duke students are on Twitter, and more are bound to join in the coming weeks and months. Come September, Cutcliffe could reach a base of thousands of followers with just one text message. Essentially, it follows the same logic as schools building flashy recruiting sites to help market their team, a phenomenon I detailed in The Chronicle and on The Sports Blog this morning.
Plus, it gives him a chance to keep up with Eli.