Midway through his press conference to open Texas' fall camp on Sunday, Mack Brown was handed his iPhone.
On it, Texas’ assistant athletic director for media relations had typed out a message for Brown to post on his @UT_MackBrown Twitter page:
“Congrats 2 Sanya Richards on her Gold medal. She's worked so hard & were so proud of her. Enjoy it, hug Aaron & good luck in the 200 & relay.”
Brown smiled and hit send.
The Texas coach joined Twitter in June and has sent out 108 tweets since. He’s picked up more than 9,700 followers but still only follows one account: The official Texas football Twitter account.
“Our staff encouraged it, because they thought I needed to be on Twitter for recruiting,” Brown said. “If it helps recruiting, I’m going to be on it and moving forward with it. It’s something we feel like we stay modern with.”
Brown said he’s had discussions with athletics director DeLoss Dodds and UT president William Powers about how to properly manage how its student-athletes use Twitter and Facebook. Both officials agreed the privilege is an important one.
“We really feel like it’s a right as a student to be on it,” Brown said. “It’s a means that young people are learning to communicate. It’s there and it’s not going to change. It’s a wonderful thing when it’s used right.”
And when it’s used wrong? Texas continues to partner with UDiligence, a social network monitoring company, to track what its football players are posting online.
If a Longhorn posts something inappropriate, Brown is going to hear about it.
“It’s something we need to allow them to learn to use,” he said. “But at the same time, they can’t abuse it.”