FARGO -- Matt Entz has talked more in the last month than he probably ever has in one 30-day span in his football coaching career. That’s the job, now that he’s the head coach at North Dakota State.
He’s the front porch of the program, and with that comes lessons in Speech 501. He doesn’t have to be Tony Robbins, but he can’t be the scared freshman talking in front of a class for the first time, either.
He said those who know him best say he’s a relatively quiet person.
“But I’m getting used to it,” Entz said.
He’s the closer, and just like the relief pitcher in baseball who comes in the ninth inning and finishes the job, it’s Entz who has the final say in which football recruits have the opportunity to walk through the Fargodome doors and which ones do not.
Admittedly, he said he was also the guy who reaped the rewards of his assistant coaches laying all the groundwork with high school players. It’s Entz who a recruit called to say he was committing to NDSU.
“It was good, it was probably some candid conversations with parents, sometimes they were conversations that parents and athletes didn’t like,” he said. “I knew that was part of the job description. It seemed like we did OK.”
Also part of the job description, especially these days: being active on social media. It appears Entz will participate more on platforms like Twitter than previous head coaches Chris Klieman and Craig Bohl.
Klieman was sporadic at best on Twitter and it’s questionable if it was even him doing the tweeting or if it was some other coach, like a graduate assistant.
Entz tweeted or retweeted more in the last month than Klieman or Bohl did combined. On the flipside, Twitter was in its early stages of popularity when Bohl was the head coach from 2003-13, but he still doesn’t use it much as the head coach at Wyoming.
Klieman has tweeted his words once said he’s been at Kansas State, and that was only two: “Go Cats!”
Entz, on the other hand, used a little humor with an impending snow storm barreling in on the Red River Valley tweeting out a photo of a huge truck blowing snow the distance of a half a football field. His wife, Brenda Entz, even got into the conversation tweeting “the driveway is all yours now.”
“I’ll continue to use it, I don’t know if I use it too much or not enough,” Entz said. “I’ll retweet when I need to and I’ll tweet when I need to, but I probably don’t get over the top on it.”
Like many coaches, Entz said social media is a way to connect with recruits -- especially the ones from out of the area. For the last several years, prospects have done most of their research on a football program through the Internet.
“A lot of those small graphics that our people do here or short videos of what game day is like are critical in their evaluation,” Entz said. “They’re seeing and getting a feel of what they’re getting themselves into or what they’re coming to visit prior to arriving.”
NCAA rules prohibit a coach from directly commenting about a recruit, and that applies to Twitter, too, until they sign their letter of intent. Coaches find ways around that, however, using general references to commitments.
It's common, for instance, for NDSU assistant coach Nick Goeser to reference his home state of Wisconsin whenever a player from that state commits to the Bison. Entz did the same thing with a "Cheesehead" hashtag when quarterback Logan Graetz from River Falls, Wis., committed at the end of last month.
“Our staff is on social media quite a bit,” Entz said.
Twitter is business to coaches. One glance at who Entz is following and they’re almost all football related. It’s just the way it is these days.