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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff, Wire Reports

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2018 07:24 PM

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Social Media, Fans Basically Cause UT To Back Off Schiano Hire

When reports surfaced that The University of Tennessee was nearing a deal signing Greg Schiano as its new head football coach, Vol Nation took to social media to voice concerns.

"It just took on an incredible life of its own," public relations consultant Mike Cohen said. "The Rock's been painted, Twitter's going crazy, Facebook's going crazy, and obviously the reason to pick a coach is to make the fans happy and get them back into the fold and not have more Saturdays like the one we just passed where the stadium was a third empty."

Cohen says it wasn't typical upset Vol fan tweets that made an impact on the university's key decision makers, but people who don't usually weigh in on Tennessee athletics.

Several lawmakers voiced their disapproval after reports of the hire surfaced.

"That says a lot about the not just the situation, but it says a lot about the University of Tennessee," Cohen said. "They're dependent on the state of Tennessee government for funding, for approval for building projects and lots of other things, so when legislators start weighing in and saying 'this is bad, I'm calling on the University of Tennessee to not do this,' that's significant.

Cohen also said the allegations that Schiano knew about child abuse by Jerry Sandusky fueled the social media movement. Even though he was never officially linked to any wrongdoing, his association with the program doesn't help.

Vol fans on social media seemed to react mostly to the possible connection Schiano had to the Sandusky scandal than they did to Schiano's on-the-field resume.