Traditional media has a career of contacts, trusted sources in and out of organizations, and their constant finger on the pulse of the sports world.
UB Bull Run has a few contacts and a few sources, but social media has allowed us to in some ways keep up with the professional journalists.
Yesterday, however, social media let us take first. And we did it while publicly showing our hand the whole way.
Feeling by Saturday night that the coach announcement was imminent, we did what we could as best we could; tracking flights and running down rumors. When it was announced by Mark Gaughan on Twitter, and minutes later UB Athletics via email, that the announcement would be made at 1:00 PM Monday, we were on red alert for information.
At 6:47 Matt sent a tweet to the Bull Run editors and he posted it on Bull Run at 6:53 PM.
The tweet was sent by an excited family member and later deleted, but not before Matt, who sees everything UB, saw it. In it a woman from the Midwest notes that her uncle would be named UB head coach today ("tomorrow"), and that it was "pretty cool." Someone who didn't seem to be a UB fan asked "whos your uncle?" to no response.
Over the next hour Matt and I dug for whatever publicly available information we could and the tweet was deleted. By 7:48 I had the clue, a hunch of geography and a photo from a football game, and found a name: Lance Leipold. It was the first time I had ever heard of him.
3 minutes later, Tim was able to confirm a maiden name and Leipold seemed to be the "uncle" we were looking for.
At 7:54 UB Bull Run teased what we had:
Got him. 95% confidence. stay tuned— Bull Run (@UBBullRun) December 1, 2014
Five minutes later we published: "Is Lance Leipold the New UB Head Coach?" There was momentary debate over whether to publish a piece or just play the Twitter game. Had the tweet not been deleted, we wouldn't have been so confident.
We had the vital information out: Division-III, 106-6, former Nebraska assistant. All we could do was wait.
At 8:14 Matt mocked Paul Myerberg for suggesting that our coach was a candidate for Nebraska
At 8:21, Sports Illustrated's Thayer Evans announced on Twitter, along with Pete Thamel, that UB hired Lance Leipold. They clearly had the news before us but were either less confident or sticking to a timeline. I have to believe if they had the familial connection we found they would have been 100%, or, in the other scenario, would love to believe that our scoop forced their hand on any planned timeline.
At 8:27, UB Athletics did that thing where they don't deny anything, and sent a kind of blah tweet, considering how much steam the news had, to watch the announcement of the next UB Coach on UStream.
The most delightful thing about that is the first two responses: "Already leaked might as well announce it." and "Welcome @CoachLeipold to Buffalo !"
I tell this story for two reasons:
1) To show that we do our best to track stories down with what we've got, so we're going to savor this victory and pour a little bit out for the mysteries we never solved (looking at you, 2013 Women's Volleyball coaching drama)
2) Hopefully Coach Leipold brings us many moments of joy in the next few years, so make sure you follow @ubbullrun on Twitter, Bull Run on Facebook and keep up with us right here at ubbullrun.com because we'll have it first, and we'll have it best. We're only getting better.