ESPN profiles wives of SEC head football coaches

ESPN has produced a brief feature on the wives of SEC football coaches titled “The Better Half.” It’s really short, but I also think really telling. One of the wives says that her husband goes to work on July 13 and won’t get a day off until Christmas Eve. Another is pictured with her kids (sans husband) at the kitchen counter saying that it’s a hard life but that you get what you sign-up for.

Yes, there is lots of money and big houses if you’re an SEC coach’s wife. Still, there seems to be an underlying sadness with some of these women. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. Watch it, and see for yourself. See below.


  • chaddamitz

    Denny, I agree with you. Seems like there is a void missing in the family. It must be hard to have a dynamic, thriving family when you are away from home traveling and the pressure that comes with winning games. They do indeed need our prayers. Thanks for posting the comment.

  • Matthew Leighow

    Denny, you hit the nail on the head. I saw this last week and yes it’s full of rich tradition and all the stuff we love about college football, but there are some harsh underlying realities. I remember when will muschamp was introduced as head coach at the university of florida(a dark day), he said at his press conference that his wife is used to being a “widow” from August through February. I tend to think it’s even longer than that with spring ball, year round recruiting, and off the field issues that pop up when you’re least expecting it, to name a few. This is a rough life and these women need our prayers.

  • Kim R.

    I smiled all the way through it.
    Shrink that house down…move those bright lights from the southeast to central Texas…shrink the division down to high school…and those fans from 100,000 to 10,000…and you’ve just witnessed my life as a coach’s wife from the last 25 years.

    We have it a little easier. He didn’t start work until July 21st. And we should finish before Christmas this year but given how great our guys are playing, it might only be 3 days before.
    But the truth is, it’s Sunday and he’s not here…and won’t be until well after dark. There’s game film to review…personnel to evaluate…a game plan to get down and print off for those guys to learn…and a practice schedule that fits the next team we’ll see. And that’s just Sunday.

    He calls once during the day to catch the top three things I need to tell him about whether it’s grades for one daughter, a doctor’s appointment for another and that funny rattle in the car. But the truth is, it’s just sharing the news. He’s not going to be around to mess with any of it during his 5:30am – 8pm daily schedule.

    But don’t read that as us not having a dynamic marriage or thriving family. We all have our things…our compromises…things others probably can’t understand…ways that it seems like it just can’t work. But as with all of life, it’s not the circumstances of our lives but the way we focus our gaze in them that rules how we all do in them.

    My husband isn’t disabled as one friend’s is. He’s not headed to Liberia to help with the Ebola crisis like my cousin is. He’s not on a two year tour in Korea as another friend is.

    But still…you saw it right. October is an especially hard month as the early excitement has waned…and the edge of lose-and-go-home playoffs hasn’t begun. We wives are more than a little tired of handling it all…and the younger our kids are the heavier it all feels.

    So, why 25 years with hopefully at least another 15 years more at least?
    Because of Aaron and Jason, Ty and Q, Quelle and Edward and whoever else comes with them into my home tonight. There are not too many places you find young African American boys…unbelievers all…hanging out on some white middle aged man’s house…year after year. Especially in today’s world where Ferguson-like stories seem to prevail, my quiet Algebra-teaching, receivers coach has an in with them like no one else you'[ll meet.

    When he speaks, they listen. When they see him, their faces light up and their shoulder’s relax and their faces break out into huge smiles. They ask questions about heaven and why I quote Scripture all the time at them…and why we think like we think and whether we have more Ramen. They ask us to excuse their language as we just smile. They ask us if they can come back tomorrow…which is far too long away.

    Why alone from July to Christmas? So the Gospel is displayed and told and shown and taught and coached for them down after down…night after night…meal after meal.

    It’s not worth it for a game. Just know this. It’s not a game to us.
    These are our boys. This is our way of reaching the unreached…of finding those He loves in our Samaria. We wouldn’t be anywhere else. And on the days I see that clearly, sending him off to study dig routes and Cover 2 strategies is not a problem.

    When you pray, pray for what we all need…a sight of Christ and a sight of this world that would fuel both our compassion and endurance. It’s October. It’s hard. I need it.
    Thanks for posting.

    • Sarah R

      Kim, Thanks so much for this! I’m a high school music teacher with rehearsals, concerts, festivals, shows, throughout the year. There’s a 3-month stretch where I work every Fri night and all-day Saturday on this or that event. When my husband and I first got married, a lot of people were really worried about me “not spending enough time, etc” at home. But my husband and I knew each other and what it would be like and…we’re just fine. I’m a crazy extrovert who LOVES her job and views it as vocation, community service, and ministry all rolled into one. My husband, the introvert, is just fine and also loves on my kids and is a great example of an upright, Godly married man. “These are our boys” – this is exactly how I feel. We are missionaries in those halls trying to share hope and light and God’s grace with those who desperately need it. Thanks for sharing!

      • Kim Ransleben

        Love that you are there for those kids, Sarah!
        It definitely takes eyes wide open going in…and mine were. In fact, when I was growing up, a “coach” was the only type of guy I said I would never marry…of course. haha

        But back then, I wasn’t a believer in Christ and I just couldn’t see how anything would be worth it for a game…for choir…for anything. And it’s not, is it?

        But for the one who left His own family to bring us back with Him into that family? It’s worth it. So grateful you know it. And on the days when your vision dims…and it does, doesn’t it?…just learn to fix your gaze back on Him again. Over time, you’ll find yourself doing it more quickly and holding that gaze longer. He’s so faithful to keep growing us up into Him.

        Thanks for staying in when so many are leaving. It’s hard. It’s long. But the Light has come into the darkness and the darkness can not overcome Him. Praise God, it’s as true today as it was 2,000 years ago.

        Hope you have a great season!

  • bobbistowellbrown

    If a woman is married to a driven man she will most likely be a single parent. My husband was a news photographer. He went to work one day to cover a mine disaster and didn’t come home for a week. Then he was a manager for a software company and he traveled a lot. One time he was gone for 6 weeks traveling around the world. Even though I was a Christian when we got married, I had no where to go but to Jesus ,so as a result of his work schedule, I became a stronger Christian. Now in retirement he ends up volunteering for almost everything. I have finally told him if he doesn’t help with the grandchildren I feel abandoned! So he is forcing himself to pay attention to what is important to me!

  • David A Booth


    I’m a graduate of the Naval Academy who spent five years on active duty in the Marine Corps after graduation. I can assure you that many military wives understand having their husbands away for long periods of time and the toll that this can take on the family – without the monetary compensation of being married to a high profile coach.

    It was also interesting how the coaches were introduced as “clergy” in the SEC. I wonder how many pastor’s wives would echo the sense of loneliness and frustrations about how they go for extended periods of time w/o having their husband’s to themselves.


    • Chris Ryan

      Based on my mother’s experience, I can tell you that they echo it quite a bit. Being a pastor’s wife is hard–and lonely, and unfulfilled, and selfless–work.

  • Ryan Davidson

    I think we’re headed this way in a lot of professions. A lot of companies stopped hiring after the recession, and have simply increased salaries and working hours of existing employees. When I was at a large DC firm, I rarely left work before 10 p.m. on weekdays, and typically worked 15-20 hours from my home office on weekends. I have an in-house job now. I still work until 7-8 p.m. on weeknights, but only 4-5 hours on the weekends. It’s an improvement, but a far cry from the 9-to-6 schedule that my father maintained throughout his career.

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