Mike Slive has stepped down as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. Slive, while exceptional in his duties as commissioner, was somewhat ineffectual and boring–in a good way? Don’t get me wrong, Mike Slive is one heck of a guy and oversaw the deployment of the most lucrative conference network in history, the SEC Network. Anyone replacing him has tremendous shoes to fill. The point is, Slive was the strong, silent type in his duties as commissioner. Such seemed to be the requirement of someone in his position; it’s a serious job for serious people. Well, it was until Greg Sankey took over.
Commissioner-select (is that a term?) Sankey has begun leveraging Twitter as a way to connect with SEC fans (and college sports fans in general); he applies a personal touch in his responses to other users. Additionally, the gravitas of his office makes it seem like he would not likely respond in any way but officially. It seems even less likely that he even runs his own Twitter account. But, it turns out that Sankey does not care about what people think he’s “supposed” to do. He runs his own account and connects with many fans daily. This is unprecedented for someone in his position, as evidenced by him being the only Power 5 commissioner on Twitter in the first place. I grabbed a few of my favorite tweets of his from the past month or so. Enjoy!
Here, when he replied to the South Carolina softball team in a rain delay (and ribbed one of SC’s Athletic Directors in the process):
Or here, where he drums up support for SEC Softball:
Or this, presented without comment:
Perhaps you’re interested in how he shows gratitude to bloggers?
Or how he displays his marketing genius?
He’s always ready to deliver the inside scoop.
And, he’s never shy about sharing his past shortcomings so others might benefit from his experience.
Or, finally, here where he replied to a certain blog’s account when I pointed out how great it was he was using Twitter to connect with fans.
Sankey does a great job keeping it light and fluid on Twitter. The point isn’t that he’s a source for rumors, stories, and reports. It’s that he’s very much a sports fan and realizes the opportunity he has to connect with other fans. Maybe as his job duties ratchet up, he will have less time for lighthearted tweeting. Who knows? But, the key is that he has a healthy understanding of what makes his conference great, the fans. And, he uses his office to make sure they know he’s one of them. The SEC has been left in great hands with Mr. Sankey. We look forward to more from him, both on Twitter and elsewhere.
Now, if only he could convince the other commissioners to join.