PULLMAN, Wash. — Rumors began circulating on the internet that Washington State University football coach Mike Leach was headed for Ole Miss after a fake account tweeted the news on Monday.
Mississippi fired coach Matt Luke on Sunday, just three days after his third non-winning season ended with a rivalry game loss.
Athletic director Keith Carter said in a statement the decision to change coaches was made after evaluating the trajectory of the program and not seeing see enough “momentum on the field.”
On Monday morning, a fake Twitter account representing itself as 247Sports Ole Miss beat reporter David Johnson tweeted that Ole Miss hired Leach as its new head coach.
“We now know why administration moved so fast to terminate Matt Luke,” the tweet reads.
WSU sports information director Bill Stevens told KREM 2’s Karthik Venkataraman that Leach has not taken a job at Ole Miss.
The tweet pulled the wool over many fans’ eyes, with hundreds of retweets.
The fake account has more than 5,600 followers while Johnson's account has more than 16,000 followers. USA Today reports that the account holder also changed all of the details, including the username and bio, to mirror Johnson’s account.
The “Bourbon Johnson” account, active since 2010, has since changed its username and profile picture and does not claim to be run by Johnson.
Some fans may have been unable to spot the fake because Johnson’s Twitter account is not verified. But he later tweeted, “There is a very well done fake Twitter account for me out there tweeting Ole Miss has hired Mike Leach. It isn’t me.”
Johnson added that his Twitter account had been hacked.
Leach recently came under fire for his comments to a columnist following the WSU Cougars’ seventh straight loss to the University of Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup.
Leach responded to a question about playing teams with higher-ranked recruiting classes by lashing out and calling the columnist a “sanctimonious troll.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.