By Bennett Conlin
I come before you, a verified Twitter user (yes, I’m bragging in the first sentence of this post), to talk about the better side of Twitter.
Us blue checks? We’re boring. We aren’t what make Twitter fun.
When it comes to sports Twitter, the dialogue between fans is what makes the app a blast, eveeeen if it’s a little toxic at times.
Today we’re going to highlight a bunch of the best Twitter accounts for JMU fans to follow. I’ll miss some quality accounts, I’m sure. I apologize in advance.
Editor’s note/shameless plug: Feel free to follow myself, JMU Sports News, Jack Fitzpatrick and Nick Stevens. We make up the JMU Sports News team, with Nick focusing mostly on baseball for us.
I’m writing this article in late August for a reason.
First, it makes sense to have this list at the beginning of the sports season. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I want this article to be here for the new JMU sports fan. Whether you’re an incoming freshman, a transfer student, a new professor or the parent of a new Duke, this article is for you.
I struggled with home sickness my freshman year at JMU. By senior year, I found my place at the school and was quite happy. JMU Sports Twitter made for great days my senior year. It also helped me find a sliver of joy on days I needed it as an anxious and lonely 18-year-old.
I love chatting JMU sports with my dad, and we’re both actively engaged in JMU Twitter circles. Heck, Tweets from the guys over at the JMU Sports Blog help prompt half those JMU sports conversations.
Speaking of the JMU Sports Blog … start there, kids.
They’ve been blogging and Tweeting and podcasting about the Dukes for over a decade now?? Geez, they’re old! That’s also one impressive accomplishment.
I wrote about them a couple years ago, and they’re just two genuine dudes who know plenty about JMU sports. They’re funny. They pay attention to local media coverage. They share thoughtful and nuanced takes.
I don’t always agree with their opinions about the Dukes, and that makes their content even more fun. They share reasoning for their opinions, and as long as you’re polite, they’ll engage with discussion about why you might agree or disagree.
Fan accounts aren’t always rational (we’ll get to those accounts pretty soon) but the guys at JMUSB do it right. They don’t bash athletes, and they’re able to calmly break down heartbreaking losses or massive victories as the games happen.
They also have good taste in beer. What else do you want?
The beat writers
We’ll get to more fan accounts shortly, but let’s give some of the wonderful people on the beat props first.
Greg Madia has slowly evolved into a JMU sports legend. Fans love the guy, who primarily focuses on football coverage for the Daily News-Record.
Greg’s coverage is consistent, perhaps the most important quality in a beat writer. Want updates on position battles in camp? Greg is all over that. Looking for features on specific players during the season? Greg tells quality human interest stories. In need of a football podcast with sound bites from players and coaches? That’s all Greg.
As far as obvious must-follows go, Greg may top the list for JMU football fans.
We won’t go too crazy on this section, but Shane Mettlen and TJ Eck are both worthy follows. Shane covers primarily basketball for the Daily News-Record, and he’s a great follow if you want to keep tabs on the basketball programs. Both the men’s and women’s squads should be strong this year.
TJ works for the local TV station and does good work. He’s been in Harrisonburg for a few years and knows the athletic programs well. WHSV also just added Peri Sheinin to its team, and she’ll likely have some significant JMU coverage in coming months. WHSV does well to cover all of JMU’s athletic programs.
Not sure Curt Dudley necessarily falls into the “beat reporter” category, but the voice of JMU sports is a human encyclopedia when it comes to JMU sports. He’s a JMU sports legend and a good person to follow for frequent JMU news and score updates. You’ll hear him on broadcasts this fall.
Kevin Warner works in JMU’s athletic communications office. He’s not a beat reporter either, but I’m tossing him in this category. He throws out stats you probably won’t see elsewhere, which makes him a solid follow.
And I can’t end this section without giving a shoutout to JMU’s student-run newspaper, The Breeze. The sports account is a good one to keep an eye on for stories, especially as it pertains to the Olympic sport programs.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to define him
Who exactly is Chase Kiddy?
I’m not totally sure. I’m not sure he knows how to define himself. Regardless, Chase is a bright sports mind.
He’s an intelligent sports gambler, who happens to star on a podcast about sports gambling. He’s a former JMU student who wrote for the Breeze many moons ago.
Chase worked in the newspaper business for a time after graduating from JMU. He was on the FCS beat with HERO sports at one point. He knows JMU very, very well. He’s covered the program. He follows JMU sports, the FCS and the broader college sports landscape.
He won’t always Tweet. He won’t always Tweet about JMU. But when Chase does Tweet about the Dukes, it’s informative and often witty. He’s a really good follow.
Holy sh*t, this guy loves the Dukes
Few fans root as hard as Michael Evangelista. If you want to follow a truly engaged football fanatic, you can’t go wrong with Evangelista.
Always rational? No, but Evangelista knows his stuff.
He poses interesting questions on Twitter and truly cares about JMU athletics. Again, he’s another person I disagree with at times when it comes to JMU sports discourse, but he keeps the banter respectful and is more informed than the average fan. He’s also a great resource for recruiting info, as he keeps fairly close tabs on who the Dukes are adding on the recruiting trail.
Why is he talking trash to a random Sam Houston blog?
I mostly enjoy Not Curt Cignetti’s Tweets because he has major reactions to JMU defeats and victories. Sue me, I love a good overreaction from a fan account.
The real reason you should at least consider following Not Curt Cignetti, though, is because roughly once a week he’ll randomly own an opposing fan account. You’ll wake up on a Tuesday morning in early October and see that he roasted a Weber State fan account late Monday night or that he got into some hilarious argument with a Twitter egg who supports Sam Houston.
I don’t understand how some of the trash talk comes up, but it always seems to happen during important game weeks.
Wait, they have a top-25 vote?
Jamie Williams and Lawrence Smith love them some JMU. They also follow the FCS so closely that STATS FCS gives each a vote in the top-25 poll.
If you want to learn about the FCS from JMU fans, you’d be crazy to look elsewhere. They both know the FCS and JMU well.
Average CAA Ref pokes fun at the CAA’s officiating crews and the conference overall. Given the state of CAA officiating and JMU’s apparent disdain for the league, the account seems more relevant by the day.
Sam Herder and Craig Haley cover the FCS from a national perspective. Could follows for football fans.
FCS Fans Nation is another account to follow for broad FCS discussion.
The bottom line
Follow JMU Sports Blog and Greg Madia. From there, take your pick on who to follow.
I’ll say this when it comes to JMU Twitter, at times I strongly disagree with the opinions JMU fans share. But I’m not sure there’s any group I’d rather discuss sports with than many of the people mentioned above. Debates are part of sports fandom, and JMU fans make for fun debates.
They’re also fiercely loyal and extremely passionate. When it comes to trash talking other fanbases on Twitter, this group does more than hold its own.
Few FCS programs can match the entertainment value of JMU Twitter. For that, I’m grateful.