On February 19, 2013, the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League introduced Dan Hawkins as the team’s 20th head football coach. Hawkins replaces Marc Trestman, who was hired by the National Football League’s Chicago Bears in January.
Hawkins comes to the Alouettes with previous head coaching experience at the University of Colorado, Boise State University, and Willamette University. While at Boise State and Willamette, Hawkins experienced great success compiling 53-11 and 40-11-1 records, respectively. This success, though, could not be replicated at Colorado where Hawkins was fired during his fifth season after posting an overall record of 19-39.
Additionally, Hawkins’ time at Colorado was marked by many bad losses, scrutiny for playing his son at quarterback, and of course, his famous rant that went viral for calling out a player’s parent for complaining about the reduction in the football team’s time off before the summer conditioning program started, saying:
“It’s Division I football! It’s the Big 12! It ain’t intramurals! You’ve got two weeks after finals. You’ve got a week at July 4th. You’ve got a week before camp starts. That’s a month! That’s probably more vacation than you guys (reporters) get. And we’re a little bummed out that we don’t get three weeks? Go play intramurals, brother. Go play intramurals.”
After his dismissal from Colorado, Hawkins served as a college football analyst for ESPN.
As a result of Hawkins’ tumultuous tenure at Colorado, his hiring by the Alouettes was a surprise to many and drew mixed reviews in the media and presents an opportunity to gauge public reaction on Twitter, using Microsoft’s Analytics for Twitter with PowerPivot for Excel.
For this analysis, the following search queries were used: “dan hawkins”, @CoachHawk, @MTLAlouettes, #danhawkins, #alouettes. This search resulted in a total of 1902 tweets, 906 of which were retweets, for the period February 14, 2012 through February 21, 2013. Most tweets occurred on February 19, 2013, the day it was formally announced that Hawkins was the new coach of the Alouettes. (Figure 1).
After reviewing the individual tweets in PowerPivot, I felt it necessary to adjust some of the metrics in the Tone Dictionary to better correlate with the positive and negative tweets. Specifically, the term “cool” was replaced with “congrats,” “rocks” was replaced with “congratulations,” “criticized” was replaced with “disappointment,” and “humiliated” was replaced with “fraud”. (Figure 2).
These adjustments resulted in an overall percentage score of 10% “positive” tweets during the seven day period, with only 1% considered “negative.” (Figure 3).
As the above results were somewhat unexpected, I sought to explore further by limiting the search to only #danhawkins using the Search Query slicer to filter out some unrelated tweets. This action resulted in an overall percentage tone score of 15% “positive” and 4% “negative.” (Figure 4).
Again, this result was unexpected so I sought to gauge the public’s initial reaction when it was first rumored that Hawkins would be named the next head coach of the Alouettes. In doing so, I selected the Tone worksheet and limited my search to February 15, 2013, using the Date slicer, and again selected #danhawkins for the Search Query. This action resulted in an average tone score of -10. (Figure 5). For me, this was the result I was expecting.
Interestingly, to gauge the public’s reaction after Hawkins was formally announced as the new coach of the Alouettes, I used the same procedure as above, but limited the date to February 20, 2013. This action resulted in a slightly improved average tone score of -6. (Figure 6). Again, this was the result I was expecting after initial reactions had calmed and the public had some time to reflect on the hiring announcement.
In summary, the overall sentiment of tweets appears to indicate that Hawkins is a controversial hire by the Alouettes. This result is most likely attributed to a combination of factors, including Hawkins unsuccessful stint at Colorado and the perceived elevated stature of the Alouettes head coaching position after losing its last head coach to the legendary Chicago Bears. Maybe people were just expecting a “bigger name” to become the next head coach. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to follow the tweets during the Alouettes 2013 season.