Home Sis Blog Connie Whitesell’s Championship Life Series: Roller Coaster Life!

Connie Whitesell’s Championship Life Series: Roller Coaster Life!

Connie Whitesell’s Championship Life Series: Roller Coaster Life!

You’ve heard my story. Let’s dive into others’ experiences.

The Lows:

At one end of the spectrum, we have the experience of being with someone who has been fired or is having great difficulty in getting a job in this field that is so competitive, with hundreds of people giving it their all for just one coaching or playing job. We have the challenges when the team is not doing well and, with this being a pretty public profession, our husbands/partners being criticized – by fans, local media, even people within the organization.

I conducted a “Life with Coach” survey of coaches’ spouses/partners and many told me about their own challenges and rewards. For the players’ spouses/partners reading here, these apply equally to you, I believe.

On the difficult side, coaches’ wives/partners described that they felt most overwhelmed when:

  1. Their coach/spouse is gone recruiting – and feeling like a one-person show (or as one woman put it – a “married single woman”).
  2. The team is losing and the overall atmosphere at home suffers also.
  3. Dealing with the physical and emotional toll that comes with moving as our spouses change jobs, whether by choice or not, but almost always at the drop of a hat.

Coaches’ wives/partners stated what they felt was most challenging about this role was:

  1. Finding time and attention for their relationships with their spouses/significant others.
  2. Taking on the primary parenting responsibilities.
  3. Coordinating physical moves.

The Highs:

Compare that with the other end of the spectrum.  This often is an amazing lifestyle! Am I the only person that thought it was pretty cool to be dating a basketball coach when I first met my husband? (although I’m embarrassed to say that at that time, a friend had to explain to me what the Final Four was)

Participants in the “Life with Coach” Survey shared the perspective that they considered the top rewards of being a coaches’ spouse/partner to be:

  1. Supporting their husbands’ dreams/desires and sharing in his feeling of fulfillment.
  2. Experiencing the excitement of the season.
  3. Seeing their husbands as role models for student athletes.

They said this lifestyle is the best experience to be a part of when:

  1. The team is winning.
  2. Players return after graduating and show their appreciation for the coach.

For most of us attending the NCAA Tournament Finals/NABC Conferences, we enjoy some pretty high moments there – having a great time with our husbands, re-connecting with other coaches’ wives/partners, and simply relaxing on a mini-vacation away from home with someone else cleaning our rooms for us. My favorite was 2012 New Orleans – great music – a few cocktails – beignets and chicory coffee.

For those in other sports, you have your own exhilarating times of celebration and more restful times of regrouping

Life is good during these times, right, living this Championship lifestyle?

Wouldn’t it be great to keep this feeling with us when we are back into the heat of the seasons? Recruiting time is upon the basketball coaching spouses in April and our hubbies will be on the road again. Camps start soon, then more recruiting, then school starts and the games begin again.

Remember though – we CAN better balance these highs and lows. We CAN keep this relaxed, inspired, fun, connected-with-our-husbands spirit with us year round.

We will be exploring ways of doing this in the next few Championship Life posts.

Click below if you missed previous posts in the series:
Championship Life #1 – Welcome to the Championship Life Series!
Championship Life #2 – New Beginnings

In the meanwhile, please share below what you consider to be the highs and lows of your experience being a player or coach’s spouse or partner. 


Connie Whitesell Connie Whitesell, the “Other Coach Whitesell”, is the founder of Scattered to Streamlined Business Coaching. She currently is enjoying life – snow and all - in gorgeous Western New York with her University at Buffalo basketball coaching husband, Jim.