West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins has been around for a really, really long time. Way before the internet, long before social media, and it is certainly a very different world than he experienced when he first started coaching at Walsh College back in 1980.
Huggins was a guest on the podcast, College Hoops Today with Jon Rothstein, and the topic of the impact of social media came up. “Our world has changed, Jon. Any coward can get on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other platforms without identifying themselves, give some made-up name and act like a tough guy or criticize people who are trying to make something of themselves when they, in fact, want to sit behind and take shots at other people.”
Huggins’ take on social media extends to not just his own players and college athletics, it also has affected all walks of life, including the world of journalism. After publishing an article of mine, it’s like my own child – complete with its own personality and quirks – and to put it out in the public to be critiqued by the faceless, hypercritical masses is really very difficult.
Often, I feel that most of my work is too pure, too good to be criticized by a group of people with made up names and tough-guy internet personalities, but unfortunately they are a part of our world. There are countless internet trolls who have never, ever done anything with their lives and only have hatred and negativity to make themselves feel better about their miserable existence.
Huggins continued, “I tell my players from day one, that’s life. You’re going to have people who like you, you’re going to have people who dislike you. That’s our world. As long as I guess we want to live in our world, we have to figure out a way to deal with it.”
While providing informative and helpful criticism is the role and duty of journalists like myself, it is simply hurtful to players and staff when amateurs take to internet forums and message boards to give their uneducated and unwanted views.
Huggins made it clear that although social media has certainly had a negative impact on his program, it’s something that he’s learning to live with. “I can honestly say that I haven’t lost one second’s sleep over any of it. I mean it is what it is what it is.”
- Reference: “Bob Huggins: Social media cowards are biggest difference between days as UC coach and now” by Dave Clark of Cincinnati Enquirer