Baylor coach Matt Rhule made several shrewd hires from the Texas high school football ranks. Hiring former Baylor quarterback and Cedar Ridge coach Shawn Bell might rank among the most popular.
In an industry with numerous backchannels and search firms, Rhule found Bell in perhaps the most unusual place: Twitter.
“Literally, someone at’d me on Twitter and said I should hire Shawn Bell,” Rhule said. “And I was like Shawn Bell, how do I know that name?”
No, Rhule did not know the name from Bell’s two-year stint as Baylor’s starting quarterback in 2005 and 2006. Instead, Rhule had simply seen Bell’s name on a resume earlier in the day – one of hundreds. It was a total coincidence – Rhule didn’t even know Bell played at Baylor before contacting him!
Rhule went to Baylor staffer (and former San Antonio Reagn coach) David Wetzel to ask about Bell. Wetzel gave a glowing recommendation. That was all the convincing Rhule needed.
He slid into Bell’s direct messages on Twitter to gauge his interest. Days later, Baylor officially hired Bell as a staffer. Since then, Baylor has officially categorized Bell as an offensive analyst.
“I love guys who don’t ask how much money, they just say yes, I’m doing it,” Rhule said. “He’s going to have a long collegiate coaching career.”
It’s hard to know for sure which tweet Rhule saw, but this one by Baylor alum Scotty Swingler seems to fit the bill.
— Scotty Swingler ϟF (@ScottyRossSwing) December 9, 2016
Swingler sent the tweet just two days after Baylor hired Rhule. As far as we can tell, his was the first time Rhule and Bell were ever mentioned in the same tweet, and only time before the hire became official.
“It’s a cool feeling what social media can do in certain instances,” Swingler told DieHards in a message. “I’ve known Shawn since I was five, he was one of my first sports heroes. I admire him a lot and I’m thrilled he’s at Baylor now in a coaching capacity. He’s going to crush it.”
Before Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence arrived in Waco, Bell held several Baylor passing records. However, fans remember Bell best for a 2004 game against No. 16 Texas A&M in Waco.
With the game in overtime, Bell threw a touchdown to wide receiver Dominic Zeigler. Rather than go for the tie, Bell completed again to Zeigler for a two-point conversion and a 35-34 win.
“The fun thing for us is we get to put the film on of Bell beating A&M and all that, and we get to make fun of him a little bit,” Rhule said.