By Brian D. Stanchak

Social media can be a tremendous way to keep in touch with friends, connect with recruits, and network, but social media can also be the difference between a coach obtaining a Head Coaching position, let alone an interview, and not.

I once had a client who was interviewing for a Head Coach position at a Division I University who said they were unaware of what was on present on their social media accounts because they had been using the sites since they were in college and had an enormous amount of viewable content on them. My response was to tell them that if they felt they could have something that could perceived negative on Facebook or Instagram, delete the accounts. Getting the coveted opportunity was the priority, not having a social media account. There are always ways to access content from accounts made private and sometimes it is not worth taking the chance.

When searching for a new Head Coach, administrators are scouring sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to get to know the “real” candidate they may be considering for their open position. I have spoken with three different Athletic Directors over the past month who informed me that the difference between who received an interview for a job and who didn’t did in fact come down to what was being presented via the potential candidate’s social media account(s).

In addition to those three Athletic Directors, I spoke with nine athletic administrators regarding some of the ways social media can be a detriment to a potential Head Coach candidate. Here is the compiled list of the most frequent responses:

  1. Photos of drinking or drug use
  2. Profanity
  3. Poor grammar
  4. Frequent negative talk and complaints (especially about your current job)
  5. Unethical behavior
  6. Too many selfies
  7. Hateful comments
  8. Strong political opinions – yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and free to express them, but some employers will be turned off, especially if they don’t agree with your opinions.

Again, everyone is free to post what they so desire and express their opinions. You may think that if the administrator does not agree with your thoughts they may not be the person you want to work for, but remember that a coach is public figure. You are a reflection of yourself, your program, your athletic department, and your University. College athletics is big business and Athletic Directors will not invest in a coach whose past can reflect poorly on the program, department, and University or unfiltered comments presented on social media will most likely continue if they are hired. To obtain a Head Coach position, everything must align and be played out perfectly. With so many things you can’t control, why take a chance on something you can control?