Pettine 'definitely learned a lesson' after Twitter saga

Just before 8 p.m. on Jan. 16, Megan Pettine responded to a Twitter post from a high school friend asking about her dad's job status with a tweet of her own.

Pettine had no idea it would take over the social media network the way it did.

When the Cleveland Browns named Mike Pettine their new head coach Thursday, Megan, a 2013 graduate of Westminster High School, barely got to chat with her dad about it.

Pettine said she was heading into lacrosse practice at Stony Brook when her father called to tell her he had signed a deal with Cleveland. Mike Pettine spent last year as defensive coordinator in Buffalo, where he guided the Bills to a franchise-record 57 sacks.

Before Buffalo, Pettine served as defensive coordindator for the New York Jets (2009-12) and a defensive coach with Baltimore (2002-08).

When the Browns and Pettine went through a second interview process last week, Megan Pettine and fellow 2013 Owls grad Nick McDonough conversed via Twitter about it. She posted a message that said "Its the Browns.. But hey, still pretty cool!"

And with that, the Finksburg resident and former multi-sport athlete at Westminster became a social media sensation.

Pick a popular national football website and chances are her tweet was slapped on it somewhere. Newspapers published articles with Pettine's tweet.

The college freshman quickly deleted the message and adjusted her Twitter feed to private, she said, but that didn't stop hundreds of Browns fans from inundating her with feedback.

Mostly positive, but not all.

"It's been crazy," Pettine said Thursday night after checking her phone and seeing nearly 400 follower requests from Twitter - in one day (she had 688 followers beforehand).

"My dad was OK with it, he actually thought it was kind of funny," she said. "He looked at it as funny and a lesson, the power of social media. I definitely learned a lesson too.

"I didn't realize that I could give away information and then people can take it and run with it like that."

Pettine said she's been focused on getting back into lacrosse shape - she missed most of her senior year at Westminster with an ACL injury, her second suffered in high school - and the rigors of adjusting to college life.

Her recent Twitter celebrity was unexpected, but Pettine said she's taking it in stride and is happy about her dad's new job.

"I really think my dad has a lot of power to make that team good," she said. "They had a really good defense last year, and they have some good draft picks coming up ... he knows his stuff, he'll be all right."

Pettine took to Twitter again Thursday night to post some pictures via Instagram of her and her father, with the following message:

"Not only have you taught me my whole life that hard work pays off, you've proven it to me congratulations to the best dad in the world on becoming the new head coach of the cleveland browns! No matter where you are I'll always be your #1 fan, cause I know that you will always be mine."

Reach staff writer Pat Stoetzer at 410-857-7894 or