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What Not to Say to a Coach’s Wife

What Not to Say to a Coach’s Wife

I had a SiSter (spouse in sports) text me Saturday night “why would he even say that, doesn’t he know this is our life?”…a thought that happens often in a coach’s wife’s head, when a friend turns into a fan. I promised when I started this blog I’d be real, so here is me being real and trying to help whoever wants to read this.

There are about 7 general things not to say to a coaches wife:

1 – The Head Coach doesn’t know what he is doing

Whether or not our husband is the HC, big no no. We rely on him, we see him whenever we want to see our husband, we believe in him, he becomes our family, do not mess with him.

2- Coach (insert name) needs to go

All coaches on staff are our family, as wives we defend them all until we are blue in the face. The world of coach’s wives is small, it’s best to never mention a coach should go even if on a different staff, you don’t know who we know.

3 – You probably don’t work

Let’s be real, before the few who hit the big time hit it, they all start out as volunteers or GA’s with a girlfriend or wife busting her butt to help make this goal become reality. The non “big-dogs” (Some lower level D1, D2, D3, NAIA) are paid far less than the normal person would find to be an acceptable salary. We work our butts off.

4 – Never ask anything personal about a player – or make any sort of insult on his ability

This is where momma coach comes unglued. These are 18-22 (in general) year old boys who are dealing with the pressures of college, relationships, being a student athlete, and doing it all under constant scrutiny. Do not mess with our kids.

5-  You know when you have kids this will have to stop

No – just no. Walk away.

6 – Why would he call that?

Go ask him.

7 – When you see Coach after the game tell him

Refer to #5, for all our sakes.

My friend, who will remain nameless, was out with non-football friends and her coaching significant other. Dudes (and the occasional female) always seem to think that because football is a public event they also get to voice their opinion in public. We can’t stop them, we won’t stop them, after all we need and love SUPPORTIVE fans. Sadly there are fans, who I believe according to my husbands thesis, fall under the category of “dysfunctional” fans, their self worth revolves around the outcome of a game that they have no control over and does not directly affect their lives. These are the people that just forget when they are publicly bashing a coach you are also offending their families, who may or may not be sitting in a booth right next to you or are reading your Facebook post…defriend.

There comes a time in every coach and coach’s wife’s life where they find themselves shrinking their circle because a friend turns into a fan and that fan forgets this is life for us. That friend wants to share their opinion with others to seem like they know what is going on in the “inner circle” of coaching. Every opinion gets back to a coach’s family, people bashing your husband thinking he is a guarantee fire, people blaming losses on him, heck I have had people bold enough to tell me if anyone was retained it should NOT have been my husband. Let me tell you one thing my coach teaches his players so they don’t say something they will regret when they are angry, and it has saved me from being as hurtful as many people have been to me, “bite your tongue until it bleeds, and bite it some more“…thank God tongues heal quickly. Sadly the messages that come from many tongues are still heard, ears and hearts don’t forget what people say. Long story short, my friend’s fan friend (a lot to follow sorry) mentioned that the head coach of their team should be fired, in which she rightfully popped back that “this is our livelihood how could you say that?” to which this person made their second mistake “what you don’t have a job too?”.

Ok, let me lay it out there for you. Yes she works, yes she can support herself, frankly she doesn’t need her coach, but like the rest of us crazy women, she loves him and this is their life. When you say a head coach needs to go you are also saying our spouses need to go because when HC changes, all our worlds are rocked. Saying our HC needs to go is the quickest way to get yourself ejected from our life. When our HC is fired, our spouses will move across the country for our next school, our jobs will now have to come to an end, and we are sent in to job search mode. Many times, this sends us into months of living apart while we search for a job in our new city that we had no say in moving too, sell our homes in our current city, potentially have to pull kids out of school, etc. So want to know what will be a hot button for a coach’s wife right after talking poorly about staff or players, asking if we can’t support ourselves or have our own career. We can, most of us are well educated, independent, self sufficient women, but no matter how good we are at our jobs, our HC being fired leads to our spouse being fired, which means ultimately we lose our jobs too.

As a coaching family your skin gets extremely thick, the amount of times I’ve heard my husband called names that most people have to be deeply hurt to use, is far more than I can remember. I always wonder what he ever did to them for them to get so personally upset he made a bad call, or t he kids didn’t execute, or the other team was flat out better. Once in Iowa, I went in to grab a pizza after we received a pretty good butt kicking, coach stayed in the car just to avoid conversation and we figured I would be safe. It was our first year and we only won 3 games. This fan, who seemed to think we were National Champ caliber and just had coaches who couldn’t call plays, SCREAM at me in the bar about how horrible my husband is and that we needed to leave town. Two seasons later when we brought that team to their first ever winning season in D2 history, this dude was just my best bud any time I walked in…at least he thought 🙂

I want to point out we all choose this lifestyle because we love it and our coach. I, in no way, am complaining about the moving or sacrifices, neither was my friend who text me. We realize that because of football we experience some amazing highs and moments that the general public don’t get to. The entire point of this blog is to remind you that yes, you are completely entitled to your opinion, you are welcome to voice it, just be conscious of who you are voicing it to and know a tad bit about how firings work in the coaching world before you do so. Heck just ask us, we are happy to explain it. Also know, the supportive, positive fans, who still high five us, shake our hands, and give hugs after a bad game reminding us we will do better next week, those are the fans we remember forever. Michelle Martin, is a woman I will remember no matter where me move, because every Saturday, win or lose, she had a smile on her face and a hug for me. She loved her team with everything she had, that meant players, coaches and coaching families.


Theresa Lemke Theresa Lemke earned her degree in Organizational Communications, as well as met her husband Dan, at Western Michigan University. Dan was a member of the Bronco Football team, which was her introduction to the world of athletics. They married in 2006, and started their journey in coaching college football. Theresa held a successful sales career until 2011 when she decided to change career paths and begin her career in Higher Education. She is currently the Service Learning Coordinator at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, where her husband is the Defensive Coordinator. They have two dogs, Roxi, a Boxer (8), and Rosebud, an English Bulldog (2). Outside of volunteering and their dogs, Theresa's interests are in fitness, living a clean lifestyle, renovating their fixer upper, and managing her blog: lifeasafootballwife.wordpress.com.