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Coaches wives wedded to game as well as the man

Friday, September 20, 2002

(Photo)
Rosemary Latham can often be seen watching her daughter cheer for Sikeston while listening to her husband's East Prairie football games on the radio.
SIKESTON -- "Do you have about five hours?" joked Julie Anderson, wife of Charleston head coach Brent Anderson. "No really, it's not all bad being a coach's wife."

Life married to a coach has been described as difficult, lonely and bad for a marriage. Recently three area women took the time to discuss the common joke and to let readers know how they really feel about being married to a coach. "I go to all of his games," Anderson said. "And it helps because I love football so much."

The newlywed Andersons were married in June and watch the film of Friday night's game together on Saturdays. Sometimes Anderson helps her husband make up plays for games.

Kathy Vickery has been married to Sikeston head football coach Charlie Vickery for 27 years -- and she's been there for him every season he's coached. They were only married two weeks before the football season started up.

"Our lives go around the season. It's just how we live," Vickery said simply.

In 270 games, Vickery can only remember missing three games, she recalled. And one was for the birth of their third child.

Like Anderson, Vickery likes to watch football. Both women understand the sport and think it's exciting.

Rosemary Latham, wife of six years to East Prairie head coach Ken Latham, admitted she doesn't know the game as well as Anderson and Vickery, but it doesn't stop her from going. "He's such a good person. It's easy to support him," Latham explained about her husband. "He has a true love for the kids and the sport."

Latham's husband has found himself at times making up plays while sitting in church, she laughed.

Last year Latham's husband assumed the position of junior high principal and quit coaching cold turkey. "He was miserable the whole year," Latham said. "He wasn't griping about anything, but he wasn't happy. Coaching is branded in these guys, and it's something they truly, truly love."

It's a tough situation wives get left in sometimes, Latham added. Husbands are always gone, and it's possible others don't realize the time coaches put in. Latham's husband leaves at 6:15 a.m. and returns home at 9:30 p.m. Anderson's husband is the same. her husband leaves at 6:30 a.m. and comes home around 9 p.m. And Vickery said she's learned not to cook supper.

It's one thing to be married to a coach, and it's another to be married with children to a coach. For the Andersons, their biggest concern is that Anderson's husband won't have time to spend with their children.

Vickery doesn't think the Andersons need to worry. She and her husband were able to raise three children together. She thinks it's possible for other couples to do it, too.

"Children were very important to us," Vickery said. "We raised them together and learned to adjust our schedules. One would drop them off and the other pick them up. And it helps to have family to rely on."

This year Latham is facing somewhat of a dilemma. Her daughter is a cheerleader for Sikeston's football team, and as previously mentioned her husband is the coach at East Prairie.

So on Friday nights, Latham can be found sitting on her East Prairie Eagles cushion in the Sikeston Bulldogs section. She's the one wearing headphones, listening to the Eagles' game while watching the Sikeston cheerleaders root their team on.

Other wives are just as dedicated. Vickery arrives at the games early and tries to sit in the same area for good luck. Anderson can also be found on Friday nights at the Charleston Bluejays games sitting with her husband's parents.

These women knew their husbands were coaches when they married them, they said. They would like to see them more often, but at the same time, they admire their husbands' devotion and dedication to the kids and would never ask them to give up coaching.

"He puts 110 percent into his job," Anderson said about her husband.

All three of the wives mentioned they can't go anywhere without their husbands being recognized or hearing a "Hey, coach!" from current and former students. They don't mind it, though. They feel fortunate their husbands are role models, and they would do anything for the kids, the women said.

The common ground these women share -- and also the special ingredient it takes to be a coach's wife -- is understanding his passion for the sport.

"I would never ask him to give up coaching because it's part of who he is," Anderson said. "I've learned ways of getting involved and helping him."

Being supportive is the key. Just be there for them and be present, Vickery advised.

"It doesn't matter if they have a losing season," Latham said. "These coaches will win in the long run, and the kids will win, too."