Tweets, titles, international traveling

Some general observations while finding it hard to believe that NFL training camps are already underway and fall can’t be far behind

n We learned this week that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has joined the Twitter-sphere, becoming the fifth NFL head coach to become active on the social media platform. Tomlin’s first tweet promised “No BSjust straight fire,” and fans would expect nothing less. Within just a couple of days, he had more than 70,000 followers. Can’t wait to see what Coach Tomlin says throughout the season.

n The Penn State women’s basketball team has been active on Twitter for several years, using the technology as a way to connect with fans as well as potential recruits.

Lady Lion sophomore center Candice Agee could have been tweeting from around the globe as a member of the 19-and-under USA squad this summer. The sophomore center saw limited action but gained valuable experience in Lithuania as the Americans captured their fifth straight championship, defeating France in the title game, 61-28.

n NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 is always an exciting highlight of the racing season, but this weekend, there were stories away from the track worth noting. Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced with a heavy heart after his uncle, 60-year-old Randy Earnhardt, lost his long battle with cancer. The brother of Earnhardt’s legendary father was not only family but a trusted friend of both Earnhardts. And that wasn’t the only challenge for the 88 team this weekend; Earnhardt suffered a loose tire early on and had to battle back from a lap down. He worked his way back toward the front to finish sixth.

Indiana native and Big Ten graduate Ryan Newman took the checkered flag, and it was nice to see a proud Hoosier make good at Indy.

Newman, having earned a degree in interdisciplinary engineering from Purdue is one of NASCAR’S most educated drivers; he’s probably as qualified to go under the hood as he is to climb behind the wheel. Newman still contributes to the scholarship fund that helped him get through college.

n The St. Francis swimming team was recently honored with the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Team Scholar All-America Award. The team has proven its prowess in the pool and in the classroom, following up its fourth straight Northeast Conference championship with a collective grade-point average of a whopping 3.61, the third best team GPA in the country.

Such accolades made the Red Flash swimming program an attractive position as the university searched for a successor to Patrick Gallagher, who resigned his post in May as the program’s winningest coach. Rory Coleman will take the reins on Aug. 1 and also assume the position of Director of Aquatics. Coleman comes from the University of Delaware where he served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He inherits an incredibly successful team, which lost only two seniors to graduation, so the Flash should continue to make a splash in the NEC.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Her column appears on Tuesdays.