Calipari and Crean race for Twitter followers

Months before John Calipari and Tom Crean renew their on-court rivalry, the two coaches have picked a less traditional fight to pass the time.

Crean, Indiana’s head coach, and Calipari have engaged in a race to see who can gather more followers on Twitter, a popular social networking site on which both Crean and Calipari have accounts.

“I just read that coach Calipari is up to 7100 followers on twitter. I will never hear the end of it from him,” Crean posted to the site Monday morning, sacrificing punctuation because of the site’s 140-character limit per post, or Tweet. A Tweet immediately following said: “Spread the word around the Hoosier Nation. We cant let the Kentucky fans be more locked in than us. Lets get it going.”

Calipari, who created his Twitter account Thursday, responded about an hour later: “I heard that my good friend Tom Crean is calling on Hoosier Nation to catch us on followers. He said we had 7100. He’s wrong its over 8600.”

As of Monday afternoon, Calipari had 9,323 followers and Crean had 2,175.

Calipari and Crean, who have both Tweeted about their friendship, coached against each other in Conference USA when Calipari was at Memphis and Crean was at Marquette. Calipari holds a 3-1 advantage in the series between the two.

Crean said he gave Calipari the idea of joining Twitter, which both coaches have used to give the fans a unique look at the coaches’ insight on everything from recruiting trips to the NBA playoffs.

“How about DRose today?………….How bout Rondo? Man, I wish I had got a chance to coach him,” Calipari Tweeted on Sunday after the Chicago Bulls (with former Memphis player Derrick Rose, whom Calipari coached) played the Boston Celtics (with former UK player Rajon Rondo).

Crean’s arrival in 2008 and Calipari’s arrival in March have pumped new blood into the UK-Indiana rivalry. The Twitter challenge is just one more way the coaches are biding their time until the real fight is settled in December.

“Tom Crean did give me the idea. He’s a great friend. He was first but KENTUCKY will always be bigger…” Calipari said in a Friday post. “…I will not enjoy competing against my good friend.”