Maybe sit a few plays out there, champ. Maybe, uh, stop using the Twitter machine for a little while. Sound good?
Why the social media crackdown? Hewitt took to the Twittertubes yesterday to do something most coaches don't ever do: be provocative. The Georgia Tech coach led off with: "As we are coming to the latter part of the season, now is not the time to be judgemental. You all need to come out and support this team." He kept going from there (tweets in chronological order):
"Are you a critic or a supporter of this team? Supporters will continue to watch this team fight."
"To you critics: when athletes say some of the things you say, then you condemn them as quitters. Are you quitting?
"I believe in this team!
"Don't forget that we are honoring all former players for Lettermans weekend. There's no game this year but they will be honored at halftime.
"Their effort and level of commitment should never be questioned.
"We realize we still have work to do but no one should ever question the effort, intelligence, or dedication of our program.
"Our team deserves to be treated truthfully. This young basketball team is on the verge of earning an NCAA berth."
Why the outburst? It might have something to do with Hewitt's job status, which has begun to erode in recent years. After the success of Hewitt's Final Four run in 2004, it was fair to assume Hewitt would have a job at Tech as long as he wanted, but that's not the case -- Georgia Tech fans are beginning to lose their patience. The 2009-10 season hasn't helped. Tech entered the year as the No. 21-ranked team in the country, and Hewitt has three McDonald's All-Americans and a host of experienced players at his disposal, and yet Tech is still, as of this post, fighting for a tournament berth. The Yellow Jackets have put on displays of talent this season that makes you think they can play with anyone in the country. They've also lost a host of very pedestrian outings. They are, to put it mildly, inconsistent.
Which means fans are getting disappointed, media is getting critical, and Hewitt is feeling the heat. I'm not the only one who thinks this was a bad idea:
Before practice Thursday, he told reporters that coverage of his team has been reduced to “cyberbullying.” He also claimed he hadn’t read the AJC since 2005 because the team that went to the ACC finals and lost to Louisville in Round 2 of the NCAA tournament was “absolutely bashed.” (Given that I covered the ACC tournament and the loss to Louisville, I assume he was referring to me.) [...] That said, do you win anyone back via a dare?
Believe what you see, Tweeted GTCoachHewitt, but I’m not sure he means that. Because some Tech rooters might say, “Know what I see? I see a coach who’s 6-7 with the most talented team in his league asking why I’m not rooting harder.”
That’s the trouble with a dare. Ask someone to look hard at your program and that someone might decide your program isn’t half what it should be. If several such someones band together, it might not be your program much longer.
That's one way to look at it. Another one is simply that it's never good form for a college basketball coach to show weakness. The harder you talk, and the more you posture, the less likely anyone is to believe that things are under control. You can't calmly say "I got this" if your thumbs are busily tweeting excuses for why things are going wrong.