COLUMBIA — Somebody's got to take "Champ" out in the mornings.
A new puppy needs a lot of attention and wakes up early to go to the bathroom. So, how did Dave Steckel and his wife, Mary Beth Steckel, decide which one of them would wake up with Champ?
They made a bet before the start of fall camp: If Missouri's defensive coordinator could garner 1,000 Twitter followers, Mary Beth Steckel would be on dog duty.
Perhaps it seemed like a safe wager for Mary Beth Steckel. Some consider her husband a computer novice. Moreover, one of the Tigers' assistant coaches will tell you that Dave Steckel has a history of making — and losing — bets. But this time Dave Steckel might have come out on top, even if the outcome was controversial.
If you ask Dave Steckel about his Twitter presence, the former Marine might slowly turn his head and look you over before locking in on your eyes. If you can match his stare, his stern expression will soften, replaced by a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me grin.
"I'm a computer illiterate, according to my daughter," Steckel said, adding that he had previously kept his Twitter account private because he didn't want to follow a lot of people. (He didn't understand he had a choice in whom to follow.)
But Steckel's godson, an Eastern Illinois University student, wanted to follow his godfather, so Steckel allowed his family to make his Twitter account public.
Once public, Steckel's account — @Coach_Stec — began accruing some followers. Tigers players and coaches noticed the trend and thought Steckel could garner even more.
"So the boys were here and we were all joking around and they said, 'Stec: You can get up to 1,000 (Twitter followers) before you know it,'" Steckel said. "And I said, 'No way.'"
"So my wife bet me."
Quarterbacks coach Andy Hill said he didn't "know a darn thing" about Steckel's 1000-followers bet. But he wasn't surprised the Steckels had made a wager.
"I know Stec likes to bet his wife about things," Hill said, confirming that the couple has a history of making friendly wagers.
Did this wager mean Steckel would lose another one to his wife?
On the eve of fall camp, the outcome hung in the balance. But Steckel said that defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski and starting center Evan Boehm, among others, led an unsolicited, grassroots campaign to increase Steckel's Twitter following.
On Aug. 2, Boehm — @BIGboehmTheory — sent two tweets out into cyberspace, the first of which was retweeted 40 times.
Kuligowski retweeted Crawford's note.
On the 1,000-follower bet, Steckel would get the last laugh.
As of Wednesday, the Tigers defensive guru has 1,527 Twitter followers (and he's following 173 people). Moreover, Steckel has posted 97 photos and he's "favorited" 455 tweets.
The "computer illiterate" Dave Steckel seems to be getting the hang of Twitter. More importantly, he won a bet with his wife. But Steckel said his wife thought he cheated: "She thinks I had them (players and coaches) put that tweet (Boehm's) out."
Steckel denies the allegation and said to "put that on (the) record."
"I did not (cheat), Mary Beth — you lose," Steckel said.