by Morgan Montalvo
We're familiar with their high-profile husbands, football coaches whose careers hang on the outcome of a season or, sometimes, a single game. This week, football coaches' wives from across the country are in the Alamo City for some solace, networking and public service, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The American Football Coaches Wives Association is meeting locally in conjunction with their husbands' group, the American Football Coaches Association made up of coaches from all levels of play.
AFCWA President Kristi Maloney says the wives group is celebrating its 30th year and, in that time, has developed a sophisticated mutual assistance playbook to help coaches' spouses deal with frequent moves, the uncertainty of employment tenures, and even treatment at the hands of fans who take the games a bit too seriously.
She describes the challenges - known among the wives as "pain points" - of being a coach's spouse as somewhat similar, but equally intense.
"A coach gets fired and then he gets hired somewhere else - the coach goes right away and leaves the wife and children, and they have to figure out how to sell the house, move the house," she says, along with uprooting kids from familiar surroundings, schools, and sometimes longtime friendships.
Maloney says the group is informally divided between older, "seasoned" wives and newer members, with the experienced members taking on mentoring roles and sharing their expertise on such issues as relocation, career interruptions, employment networking, and long hours alone, not only during football season, but also during pre-season preparations, scouting trips, and summer training camps.
"They're working lots of hours, seven days a week many times and long, long hours," Maloney says, "so even if we are there with our husbands, sometimes it doesn't feel like it."
One of the lessons learned, Maloney says, involves the art of diplomacy in the face of boisterous, sometimes aggressive fans.
The group's standard tactic for defusing potentially volatile fan situations is always wishing fans a safe game.
While in the Alamo City, the group is getting in some public service and charity work, another of the organization's missions. Today they visit the Children's Hospital of San Antonio to donate $1,000, along with $2,500 in gas cards for parents of patients to help with visits and related travel, and t-shirts, toys and other gifts for the children.