Pete Carroll is a fifty-seven year old multi-millionaire football coach. According to conventional wisdom, Coach Carroll is the least likely of Americans to take advantage of the new Twitter phenomenon.
A fifty-seven year old man, according to conventional wisdom, should not know what Twitter is. He should be just discovering that “Gloogler” thingy on the “Interweb,” or trying to be online friends with his grandchildren on “The Facebook.”
A football coach, according to conventional wisdom, does not have time for normal hobbies such as Twitter. A coach is constantly in the film room, drawing up plays, teaching players, or recruiting—any minute not spent on football is a minute that an opponent could use against you.
And even if a fifty-seven year old football coach decided that Twitter would be good for recruiting, or public exposure, conventional wisdom tells us that a multi-millionaire coach such as Pete Carroll would hire an assistant to manage his tweets.
Then again, Pete Carroll is not your conventional coach.
As a student here at USC, I witness the student body’s obsession over our beloved football coach. Charismatic, friendly, and most importantly, successful, Pete has the love of his Southern California campus. And if that was not enough, Pete Carroll now has their computer screens, too.
Anyone who has met Pete Carroll, or seen him take the time to speak to class, can attest to his childlike enthusiasm for not only football, but people as well. I have seen Pete around campus numerous times, and every single time he wore a bright smile. With his enthusiasm for the USC campus and students, it is no surprise that he has joined Twitter nation.
Of course, there are conventional, practical reasons for Coach Carroll selling his soul to the digital world. He can share pictures from practices and team meetings, announce dates and times of public practices, and give praise to players. Carroll used Twitter to announce Aaron Corp as the starter at Quarterback. This past weekend, he used Twitter to congratulate each of his eleven NFL draftees. Carroll has also interviewed over Twitter, his most recent being (what he calls) a “Twitterview” with Foxsports.com Lisa Horne.
Not that Pete is completely practical with his Twitter use. Carroll has championed his version of Earth Day (going to the beach), given followers his songs of the day such as “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, and even suggested books for quality reading ("Tribes" by Seth Godin and "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell). Through Twitter, I now know that Carroll loves blasting Coldplay and scouring Youtube for inspirational videos.
Even more importantly, he has pushed endlessly for his good friend Will Ferrell to join Twitter. Why? Probably just to bust his chops. But regardless of the reasoning, Pete Carroll’s month-spanning campaign found success on April 24th, when Will Ferrell finally created a Twitter account.
How can you tell that it is really Will? According to Coach Carroll's Twitter, it was “confirmed by a double secret code from an ancient Egyptian mystery school—will is a tweebe!”
Twitter is not simply a marketing tool for Pete Carroll. It offers him a chance to share his enthusiasm with the world, and reveal what USC has known about him for a very long time. Pete Carroll does not act his age. He works hard, but he is far from the conventional, impersonal football coach stereotype. His players love him, and so do his fans. And he loves them back.
As Pete continues to Tweet, the Trojan nation will continue to follow his every word. His personality has reached outside the bounds of the University Park campus, and onto the World Wide Web. If possible recruits read his Tweets and see his energy as a plus, that is great. If news outlets are drawn to Carroll’s tweets, and inadvertently give even more media time to USC, that is wonderful.
But I sincerely doubt that Pete has any of this in mind. After all, Pete Carroll is the unconventional coach. Not everything has to have a purpose. To Carroll, Twitter is another way to share his enthusiasm with his campus, his school, and his world.
That is why Carroll temporarily steps away from his work to update his fans. That is why he does not hire an assistant to write his tweets.
Pete Carroll is unconventional. And that is why USC loves him.