Water Valley (Texas) junior Brittany Sutton is “Twitter famous.”
And the Wildcats’ athletic director Keith Woolf gets to make a point, even though it’s at his own expense.
Sutton and Woolf took a recent trend and added their own twist, and now coaches and athletes from all over the country have seen what is happening with the athletics program at the small school north of San Angelo.
“I saw these Twitter bets like you can ‘get out’ of exams and so I was kinda being stupid and just joking, but like not joking at the same time,” Sutton said. “And I asked Kenzie Jordan, ‘What if I asked Coach Woolf, if I got 500 retweets, do you think he’d wear short shorts, tall socks and sweat bands and work out with us for a week?’
“And she was like, ‘Yeah, no, totally, let’s do it!’”
Sutton and Jordan both play multiple sports for the Lady Wildcats and are part of Woolf’s strength and conditioning program, where the male and female athletes work side-by-side to help “build unity in the school,” Woolf said.
After negotiating to 1,500 retweets and just one day of workouts dressed like John Travolta in the movie “Perfect”, the athlete and coach shook hands on the deal.
What would Sutton risk if she didn’t get 1,500 Twitter users to retweet – or share?
“A lot of people asked me that but nothing was going to happen,” Sutton said. “If I thought he was going to say, ‘If you lose, then you have to…’ but he didn’t, so either way, I was a winner.”
At 12:19 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18, Sutton posted the following:
“1,500 retweets and coach Woolf has to wear short shorts, tube socks, and a sweatband to workout and workout with us. Twitter work your magic we have until Christmas Day” along with a photo shaking hands with Woolf and the “1500 retweets” scrawled on the white board behind them.
By 8:42 p.m. Tuesday, the number of retweets stood at 1,507. At 48 hours, it had reached 1,772 retweets.
“The girls were like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re twitter famous!’ And I was like ‘sure, whatever.’
“I knew I was in trouble as soon as my daughters got ahold of it,” said Woolf, who came to Class 1A Water Valley last spring after a career spent mostly in the Class 5A ranks. “They are both in college and they sent it to lot of my former players.”
Woolf’s last coaching stop was at Abilene Cooper, where former players and coaches really got the avalanche of retweets going.
“It went all the way to Canada and all over the country. It’s only been two days and I looked at it this morning and it was over 1,600. My phone started blowing up and my former coaching buddies and all kinds of people were wearing me out this morning,” Woolf said.
It even got retweeted by an ESPN radio personality.
“I saw that this morning and I was really excited,” Sutton said.
Sutton, who plays volleyball and runs cross country, along with basketball and tennis in the spring, is part of the athletic program that Woolf is attempting to unite.
“The way we do in the weight room, we always lift our boys and girls together,” Woolf said. “It’s a whole program thing, and that’s where this (Twitter bet) stems from also. We want to build unity in the school. We have a motto – Live as One – and it’s coming from that also.
“It’s good for morale, it’s good for our program. If I’ve got to be silly to improve morale, and make sure we’re all in this together, then that’s OK.”
Woolf said between 40 to 45 athletes show up each morning for strength and conditioning workouts.
“We’ve got great kids who work hard and we want to be successful in everything, not just in one sport or two,” said Woolf, who is also the head football coach. “You’ve got to make it a little fun. We tell them, work doesn’t have to be miserable. We can enjoy hard work, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Woolf said he’s seeing the work pay off in better performance, but also in the durability of the athletes, most of whom play more than one sport.
“We’re not trying to make body builders out of them or football players out of them,” the coach said “Everything is about being an athlete, being explosive and fast. And injury prevention is the most important thing.”
Sutton’s joke shows the approval of the athletes.
“He’s definitely been welcomed,” Sutton said.