Ole Miss Football: Social Media’s Negative Impact on College Football

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14: Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second half at Neyland Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. South Carolina defeated Tennessee 15-9. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14: Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second half at Neyland Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. South Carolina defeated Tennessee 15-9. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Ole Miss football fans know all too well the negative impact of social media on a football program. We’ve seen the effects firsthand.

In today’s world we expect instant gratification and success. Nothing is more true than in college football. As Ole Miss football fans we can easily relate. With the advent of social media college football fans make their opinions known about their school and coaches after each game for twelve weeks. Those opinions are splashed on social media, especially Twitter.

This season, particularly in the SEC it’s a Dr. Jekyll  and Mr. Hyde existence. One week, the coach is great.  The next week he needs to be fired.  And not at the end of the season. They want him gone now! How can we forget the assault on Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin to the point that a Board of Regents member took to Face Book demanding that Sumlin be ousted immediately and he received a racial hate letter in the mail. Now after playing Alabama tough and beating Florida in the swamp Aggies are thinking he may survive.

On The Coaching Hot Seat

Ole Miss Rebels Football
Ole Miss Rebels Football /

Ole Miss Rebels Football

Tennessee’s Butch Jones was on the hot seat before the season even started and now he’s in the frying pan. Fans are posting on Twitter to fire him now.

Gus Malzhan at Auburn was cruising along until the loss last weekend at LSU.  Now the War Eagle faithful have taken to Twitter to consider new leadership at Auburn.

These are the same fans that ran off Tommy Tuberville even after he beat Alabama six years in a row.  Add to that Gene Chizik got the boot two years removed from a National Championship.  LSU fires Les Miles and replaces him with Ed Orgeron. Really? That’s an upgrade?

Looking Back

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to see if the same impatient attitudes from the past were implemented today and if the coach was let go, was it a good decision. First how about a great example from the NFL. In 1960, Tom Landry became the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. His first season, they didn’t win any games. And the next few seasons were not much better.

Despite that, Tom Landry was given a 10-year extension in 1964. He only went on to win two Super Bowls, several division and Conference Championships and is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What if Dallas has fired him in 1964? Would the Cowboys still have become America’s Team? Maybe not. Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer became coach of the Hokies in 1987. His first six seasons delivered records of 2-9, 3-8, 6-4-1, 6-5, 5-6 and 2-8-1. Today would any coach survive a 24-40-2 record in six years? Absolutely not!

Beginning in 1993 Beamer began a string of twenty-three straight winning seasons and a bowl game each of those years. Not to mention he landed Michael Vick and played for a National Championship versus Florida State in 1999. If the leaders at Virginia Tech let Beamer go after the 1992 season would the Hokies be a top tier program that they are today? I doubt it.

Locking The Vaught

Legendary Ole Miss head coach Johnny Vaught took over the Rebel Program in 1947. After two sub-par seasons in 1949 and 1950 there was pressure on Vaught to close out the 1950 campaign with a victory over Mississippi State or he could be on the chopping block. He told the Ole Miss administration and players that if he didn’t win that game, he would resign. The Rebels won 27-20 and Vaught went on to win six SEC Titles and one national championship. From 1957 through 1963 Ole Miss lost just seven games in those seven seasons. What if he had lost that MSU game and was fired or resigned? Would Ole Miss have had those glory years and even had Archie and Eli Manning played there?

What does firing a coach mid-season do? Ask Ole Miss. They fired Houston Nutt in the middle of the season and let him finish the season. The coaches and team basically quit and the results were a disaster. It really does nothing by doing that as you aren’t going to land a new coach until the season is over anyway. Now back to social media. The lashing out of fans to the coaches and sometimes the players is over the top. Do you think the Tennessee players can focus on the season with the constant “Fire Butch” messages out there? Can Butch’s assistants concentrate on the job at hand? They are probably looking for their next gig.

Can’t We All Get Along?

Finally, we forget that these coaches are human beings and have families. Imagine if in your job, you were threatened with being fired after having a bad day, week or month. How would you feel and how motivated would you be to perform at your best. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when a change needs to be made. But the best thing to do is look at a coach’s entire body of work and his plans for turning the program around. Regardless, wait until the season is over.

Next: Season Predictions!

Patience used to be a virtue but that isn’t the case in college coaching anymore. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are college football programs. Let the school Presidents and Athletic Directors do the job they are paid to do. Hiding behind Twitter with insults to coaches and their families is wrong. So, before you send out your next demeaning tweet to a coach, think about his wife and kids. Treat people as you want to be treated. Do that and the College Football World will be a better place.