By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
One of the more underappreciated roles on a football team is a coach’s wife. The in-season schedule does not allow for much family time at home, and the emotional toll of the season can leave a coach’s wife playing armchair psychologist. Two wives of coaches offer their tips for getting through the season.
Jamey Simpson is finally starting to feel as if she has a handle on the high school football season. It only took the wife of Southside Batesville High (Ark.) coach Kenny Simpson a couple decades to get the hang of it.
Now, with her three kids becoming more independent – with one in junior high, one in middle school, and one elementary school – she’s able to strike the balance of being supportive of her husband while holding down the fort at home.
“I get to be more involved with the team now,” Simpsons said. “For a long time, I had to keep the family rolling when he was gone.”
For any aspiring (or inevitable) coach’s wife, Simpson offers advice on how to fill six essential roles.
1. Team Chef
“We have pancake suppers for the offensive linemen to celebrate pancake blocks. We have dinners for special teams, quarterbacks, defense; we have all of the groups. I’m working at the school now, so they start bugging me about pancake suppers in August.”
2. Taxi Mom
“We have three kids, and they all have their own stuff to get to. I do a lot of taxiing and still try to support Kenny.”
3. Single Parent
“When I was younger, my role was to keep the kids alive. I felt like that was my support for the program. Early on, my expectations were severe. I didn’t get it. Now, we’ve all gotten how it’s going to work. I plan our suppers, and if he’s there, great. I don’t expect or demand him to be there. He’s mature enough to know when he should be there. He knows how to balance kid stuff with his stuff.”
4. Late-Night Host
“After home games, we always have the coaches at our house. We know sometimes after a hard game, it’s either going to be really great or really terrible. After away games, I’ve always known he needs time to decompress and hang out at the field house. I try to wait up for him, but I don’t expect him until after midnight.”
5. Fix It
“If something breaks in the house, I take care of it. I don’t wait for him to fix it over the weekend because he’s involved with the PeeWee league to grow his program. He’s at the field all day Saturday, and then he’s getting prepared for Sunday meetings.”
“Early on in his career, I always called him a mountain climber. He always wanted to go to a bigger school. I would brace myself that if this job opens, he’ll look at that. We had a verbal agreement that once the kids were in school, we would build a dynasty and not move from school to school.”
Lean Into It
Chelsea Simpson, wife of Pilgrim High (R.I.) coach Blake Simpson, has some advice for coaches wives: Have fun with it.
She sets up a live stream on Instagram during games, makes hype videos, chooses an MVP after each game, and conducts post-game interviews, which she also posts to Instagram.
“The schedule has never been a problem for me,” Chelsea Simpson said. “I really look forward to the season. Post-season depression sets in after the season ends.”
Simpson does admit that her enthusiasm for the football team is likely heightened at this stage in her life before she has kids. Still, she thinks her husband will continue to make her feel included and prioritized after they decide to start a family.
“Blake is really good at that sort of thing,” Simpson said. “After they win, the coaches go out together. After a loss, they go right home, but he’s not sulky all weekend.”