It all started with a check mark.

It was that little blue check mark that appears next to a verified account on Twitter. Ohio volleyball player Lizzie Stephens wanted her coach, Deane Webb, to get one. 

"Deane, you (have) got to be verified!" Stephens, a junior outside hitter, said during Ohio's flight to Nebraska in August. "It'll get some recruits!"

But Webb didn't think so. He didn't even want a Twitter account in the first place. The Ohio Athletic Department wanted him to have a presence on social media, so he made a Twitter account. But that was it.

When Stephens told Webb to get his account verified, Webb wanted no part of it. He didn't care if it gave him the clout that some people associate with verified accounts, and he said he still doesn't understand the significance of that blue check mark.

"What the heck does that mean?" the 45-year-old coach said. "I don't know what stage of life that happens, but it's great when you get to that stage of life where you really don't care. You're not trying to be cool. You're not trying to fit in."

That means that Webb shouldn't care about Debb — "Weane Debb," the parody account created and operated by Stephens as an alternative to having a verified account. It offers a hilarious inside look at Webb's personality not seen on the court.

And it's nearly perfect. The header? A picture of Webb when he wore a Star Wars robe for an interview near Halloween two years ago. The profile picture? Webb rocking a pair of sunglasses and sporting a classic dad look.

The account's biography, "Coach, Husband, Dad, Coach and Inspirational Quoter. Oh yeah, Ohio Volleyball Coach" is exactly what the account showcases — everything that makes Webb a likable coach for his players on and off the court. 

Even though Stephens is the sole operator of the account, everybody on the team is constantly looking to catch Webb doing something that could end up as Weane Debb's next tweet. When the team went to the Athens Middle School volleyball game on Monday night, each player was on high alert.

"Every opportunity, we were like, 'Oh, yeah he's getting something!'" Katie Nelson said. "He got water, but we were like, 'Oh, he's getting chips and stuff.'"

In the next few minutes, the Weane Debb account had a new post.

The account, which has 58 followers as of the writing of this article, was most active when the Bobcats were traveling to Missouri and Nebraska. Long flights and additional bus trips to and from airports gave Stephens and the team plenty of opportunities to mess with their coach and capture more content.


Webb said he doesn't mind the account at all, and he usually knows when tweets are coming because they usually involve a picture of him. Sometimes, he'll even pose, such as when he was photographed at a Chick-Fil-A in Missouri. Other times, however, he's not really feeling it.

But that doesn't stop Stephens.

When the team had to transfer planes at a stop in Chicago, Stephens wanted her coach to go stand in front of a "Coach" store sign.

"I'm not going to walk over there," Webb said with a smile. He knew exactly what Stephens was up to. 

So Stephens ran in front of Webb, held up her phone and waited for Webb to pass the store.

After about a full month of existence, Weane Debb has become more than just a parody Twitter account of Webb's lifestyle. 

Recruits have noticed the account, too, and it's actually been a perfect way to showcase Ohio's comfortable environment. Webb said players who have committed to Ohio have been texting him with rave reviews about the account.

"We're not trying to act like everything is perfect," Webb said. "You have to be able to laugh at yourself, whether you're the head coach or whether you're a freshman trying to figure things out or anywhere in between. We're all a family trying to improve and get better."

Webb has fully embraced his parody account, just like he's embraced his personality as a stereotypical dad and coach. He probably wishes that social media still wasn't a thing — but hey, if a parody account can somehow improve his team, he's all for it.

But Webb still isn't going to get his personal Twitter verified. He still has some work to do in understanding Twitter itself.

"I don't tell anybody like, 'Look, I'm going to brush my teeth now. Send,'" Webb said. "I don't understand a lot of the stuff that's on Twitter."

@anthonyp_2

ap012215@ohio.edu

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