PantherU

Welcome to the party, ‘Dakdelsur’

Yesterday, I received a tweet from an account by the name of @GoVikeHoops who suggested they had some information for me regarding our coaching search. It was intriguing to me, obviously, because the idea of someone – from another school with a possible candidate for the vacant head coaching position at Milwaukee – having information for me was intriguing.

Immediately, I followed the person and guessed that the information they had was that Tom Billeter, head coach of the new NCAA Division II National Champion Augustana Vikings, would be a finalist for the Milwaukee job.

When the account responded a few minutes later, it was to vaguely confirm my suspicions:

startedtalks

I was somewhat confused by the account. Usually when a fan of another program has juicy news, they like to dish on it as much as possible. Maybe the guy didn’t know anything, he just wanted me to think he was “in the know.” So I thanked him for reaching out, told him I would not be reporting on the coaching search because I’ve decided to stay out of the fray, and invited him to join the PantherU forum to follow the discussion of the Milwaukee fan base. He responded in kind:

gettingagoodone

Sounds like a mess, huh? Yeah, that’s probably the easiest thing any of us can agree with in Milwaukee – our program is in quite the pickle. He also said that Coach B will be interviewing; you know, because he’s buddy-buddy with Tom Billeter and calls him “Coach B.”

I shared my concerns with the Premium section of the forum ($25 per year, all profits through the end of the month will be given to UWM in a donation for general scholarships) that this person may be a front, trying to trick me into reporting that Tom Billeter was a candidate for the head coaching position. If that were the case, this person probably would have been deterred when I said I wasn’t reporting on it.

Instead, a user by the name of “Dakdelsur” registered to the PantherU board. They made this first post on the message board in the Coaching Candidates thread:

deletedpost

Keep this in mind later – the deleted post represents the view of an outsider who isn’t familiar with Milwaukee or its fan base.

Well sure, Dakdelsur, I’m sure we’d accept a D2 coach from a highly successful program. Bo Ryan was a D-III coach and succeeded at a high level, and his successor had also been a D-II national champion – some guy named Bruce Pearl.

Normally, this wouldn’t bother me at all. After all, one of the Green Bay board’s most prolific posters of the past year has been a Florida Southern fan who joined up when Linc Darner left the latter for the former. I hadn’t actually seen the board for most of the night after 8 pm, since I went down to Ale Asylum and had a couple beers with a former manager for Pearl’s program (Great talk, by the way!).

It wasn’t until I received a DM on Twitter from a good friend and longtime fan of the program asking whether or not this ‘Dakdelsur’ was a credible source that I decided to take a deeper look.

As it turns out, that initial post from Dakdelsur had been deleted shortly thereafter, and was followed up by his only three existing posts as of this writing, the latest of which was shortly before six this morning:

progression

As you can see, he gets progressively more assertive in each post. According to this Augustana fan, Billeter will be interviewing in Houston at the Final Four (this is a common occurrence in NCAA). He also posits that the interview is just a formality, that Billeter and Amanda Braun have a “strong pre-existing professional relationship.”

That’s interesting, considering that at no point in their professional careers did Braun and Billeter ever work for the same school, or even the same conference. Braun graduated from Siena and has spent time at North Carolina, Duke, Green Bay, Northeastern and now Milwaukee. Billeter was an undergrad at Illinois, a grad assistant under Lute Olson at Arizona and followed that with stints at Rice, North Dakota State, St. John’s, Texas A&M and now Augustana. If Braun and Billeter have a “strong pre-existing relationship,” it didn’t happen in, you know, their professional careers.

So who is this Dakdelsur? Why are they all of a sudden playing in-the-know fan? Trust me buddy, it’s a role I play very well. I spotted it from a mile away.

Looking at the Twitter account again, it seems to be just fine on the surface. Billeter in the profile and cover photos, @GoVikeHoops name signifying the allegiance, two references to “Augie” – the university’s nickname. As of this posting, the account has 51 followers – I was around number 15 yesterday. Normally that alone would send up a red flag for me, but they did just win the D-II title so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Big fan starts Twitter account, right?

govikehoopstwitter

Here’s my problem. Of the 78 tweets that stand today, the only ones that are original @GoVikeHoops posts and not retweets are a couple just like the one that started my conversation – pleas to Steve “Sparky” Fifer and NY2LA (based in Milwaukee) for them to follow him so he can pass along some inside information.

Not once in his tweets does @GoVikeHoops write out their own celebration of being champions, or anything about Augie. It’s all retweets of things others have said. As of this writing, the account follows 457 users, a lot of them generic college basketball people, some Augie accounts and a bunch of Milwaukee people, Panther fans and local sports media. Something fishy is going on here.

Over at the Eunuch board, I’m not the admin. That fascist who shut down the free exchange of ideas for two days while they scrambled to pick up the pieces remains anonymous. Only they know who they are, as well as others – when you post on a message board, the administrator can see your IP Address. Most of the time, no one cares – your opinions are your own, and if you choose to use an anonymous screen name, you’re more than welcome to do so.

At this point, it’s pretty obvious to me that this Dakdelsur/@GoVikeHoops person was a front, most likely to try and trick me into reporting that Tom Billeter would be hired as basketball coach at Milwaukee. If he wasn’t the hire, I’d have egg on my face. But I declined to report it and told him as much, so he has moved beyond the blogosphere to local sports media.

I’m interested, because I believe this person is not who they say they are. I believe this person could be a surrogate for Amanda Braun, using this account in an attempt to discredit me and embarrass me into staying quiet. If only I were the admin, I’d be able to see the geolocation of the IP Address.

Oh, wait – I am the admin! Imagine that, the PantherU board is administered by PantherU. How about that.

I am not posting the exact geolocation of the IP Address, nor am I posting the IP Address. That person can stay anonymous for all I care, and I’m not interested in outing anyone. Many of the posters on my board, even with screen names, know me and I know them – that’s what happens when you have a tight-knit fan base that engages in passionate discussion for 13 years. So when someone comes along claiming to be something they are not, this isn’t me being some Julian Assange, putting out private information. Everyone has their right to privacy, and this person deserves to remain private, as long as they wish to remain so.

So is this Dakdelsur/GoVikeHoops a real dyed-in-the-wool Augie fan? Or are my suspicions warranted, and this is someone who is out to mess with the process? Well, let’s say without further ado (the IP and geolocations have been blocked out, I retain the original):

IPlookup

Milwaukee, New Berlin, Wauwatosa. This doesn’t sound like the servers that would be accessed by an in-the-know Augie fan in South Dakota. It sounds like the servers that would be accessed by a spy – a dirty, mangy little rat who is trying to subvert the fan base.

I’m not interested in poster’s IP addresses. I will never out someone or threaten to out their IP Address for any reason. The PantherU board remains the beacon of American ideals centered around Milwaukee Panthers Basketball – the free exchange of ideas. I don’t hide behind a screen name because I back up everything I say. This will be the last time that I write a blog post like this, but I don’t think people quite understand that when I talk about “sabotage,” I mean exactly that.

Tom Billeter may or may not be a candidate for the Milwaukee head coaching position. By all accounts he’s a great guy and a strong coach, now carrying the hardware to prove it. He seems to have built a strong following of supporters at Augustana, and I would be pleased to see him as a finalist for our head coaching vacancy. I respect anyone who can grow a mustache like that.

I’ll close with this, a message for @GoVikeHoops, Dakdelsur, whatever you want to call yourself:

I’m better at this than you.

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