ATLANTA -- It's not the way players would like to find out they are losing their head coach, but in this era of instant news through social media, it's becoming the norm.
The Georgia State Panthers fired their head football coach Trent Miles on Sunday. Miles was in his fourth season with the team, which went to its first bowl game last season but are 2-8 in the first 10 games of 2016. Assistant coach Tim Lappano will take over as the interim coach for the final two games of the season.
The university did not officially announce Miles was fired until Sunday, but a Sports Illustrated reporter broke the news the night before on social media before the team had been told.
SOURCE: Georgia State fired coach Trent Miles today.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) November 13, 2016
For safety Bobby Baker, it was déjà vu.
"The whole team found out through social media. I think somebody Tweeted it from somewhere and guys are like, 'Wow,' " Baker said after practice on Monday. "It's a weird feeling. It's just really confusion."
Baker called his defensive coordinator, Jesse Minter, who confirmed the firing to him. The team was not officially told until Sunday when they met with the coaches and Athletic Director Charlie Cobb.
Baker transferred from UAB when the program was initially cut in 2014, only for it to be reinstated in 2016. Baker had found out that the Blazers football program was shutting down through social media, and he thought it was interesting that a similar scenario played out again at Georgia State.
"I was torn," Baker said about finding out about the UAB football program through social media. "But I knew in a couple years I would understand why it happened. And that's what I told guys [at Georgia State], everything happens for a reason."
The team returned to the practice field on Monday, and while Miles' presence was missing, there was still a palpable energy because the team feels like it has something to prove. Baker said Miles' departure made the players realize they had not been giving it their all and that they better start.
"If you love the game like you say you do, then it shouldn't be that hard," he said.
Quarterback Connor Manning echoed Baker's sentiments of feeling responsible for Miles getting fired.
"At the end of the day on the football field, I feel like we let him down," Manning said. "I feel like when the lights came on on Saturdays, us players, weren't performing."
Manning said he texted Miles to apologize after he saw the news on social media.
"I felt like as a team, we let him down. I apologized to him when we heard he was released because I felt a lot of that guilt on myself and on the team for not doing our job on Saturdays."
The university would like to have its new head football coach in place by the end of the year.
Hopefully, the players won't find out who their next head coach is by a Tweet.