Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Boyle rumor: Coaching searches, the power of the 'Net and LadySwish

Sorry, folks, but we don't have any "scoop" on Virginia's women's basketball head coaching search today. Never have, really.

We set up this site because we love the sport and wanted to shine a spotlight on the cool players and teams within the state in which we reside. It was never our intent to be a news-breaking vehicle; we're simply not set up that way.

Last week, the Internet winds were howling about Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy being in play for the Virginia job, so we wrote a post passing this on. We wrote it in an "for what it's worth" tone, and noted in the first paragraph about these were simply rumors. Even so, our site went crazy, and for the next two days we nearly doubled our typical volume of hits.

You'd think we'd be happy. But because many were interpreting our post as our actual reporting, we got nervous. Over the next 48 hours, for purely personal reasons, no one wanted Williams-Flournoy to be the Virginia coach more than us.

That didn't materialize, and we vowed to be more careful the next time. So on Tuesday, when the 'net began buzzing about Cal coach Joanne Boyle, we simply retweeted what was being said. Next thing we knew, that tweet had become the basis of a newspaper story. Within hours, other news outlets across the country were scrambling to verify the substance of our "report." Report? It was one mouse click. We never wrote a single word.

We have extensive newspaper backgrounds, so we know how the game works. But we're still trying to figure out the whole cyberspace game (you'd cackle hysterically if you saw us trying to post pictures on here sometimes). And over the past several days, we've learned a great deal about how quickly something we post can gain traction in the 24/7 online world.

We vow to be careful. Our credibility is on the line. That said, we feel that if something is making the rounds, it is our responsibility to make sure Virginia hoops fans know about it. At a time when most major news outlets outside of Storrs treatment women's basketball as an afterthought, it is our primary focus. We don't make a habit of posting everything we hear or read -- trust us.

But getting a lot of attention or "beating the competition" is not why we do this site. We've been fortunate to cultivate a small-but-loyal band of followers. We feel blessed to have a few very well-connected sources, most of whom are friends. But we have little interest in nor are we equipped to chase news, and we don't want to leave folks with the impression we are.

So we hope Virginia lands a really fine coach. In the meantime, we'll try to stay as plugged into the search as we can and be as honest and reliable as possible in passing along the information that comes our way.


  1. I hear Pat Summit was seen in Charlottesville.

  2. As a journalist myself I can appreciate your explanation, however, some thought should be given to the impact such rumors can have on individuals and programs. For the rumored coaches it's one thing and part of being a professional, but for the players of these various programs to be forced into the vortex the coaching carousel based on mere rumors and unsubstantiated Tweets is unfortunate. Caution should be the watch word going forward.

  3. You do a great job. Keep it up!!!