For most people, football is a season which starts late August and travels throughout the fall into December’s spirited bowl games culminating with the national championship. To collegiate coaches wives, football is their life. For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, being married to a football coach is being married to the game.Through our intimate conversations with Division 1A collegiate coaches wives from across the country, Team FANtanista reveals the real stories behind American football. It’s really more than a game.
This week Team FANtanista had coffee with Christi Nussmeier who is married to Doug Nussmeier, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach for the University of Alabama. It’s a toss up if she is more passionate about football or family. She is a true southern belle from Louisiana and is delighted to be returning to her southern roots. Could the mighty Crimson Tide take home back-to-back national championships? Christi surely believes so!
Team FANtanista: What has been your biggest surprise as a Division IA football coaches’ wife?
Christi: “Having been in this business for a few years now, there are no longer too many things that surprise me these days! Sometimes I hear from others how it must be hard to move around so much. We look at this much differently. Every place we have ever lived has been exciting and a critical part of my family’s life journey. We look forward to integrating into a new community and consider it a privilege to do so. Some people never get to experience new communities, but our kids get to have many unique experiences in so many different places. They have embraced their experiences and we are proud that they are such well adjusted children.”
Team FANtanista: How is football Saturday special for you and your family?
Christi: “We enjoy when our company arrives anticipating the big game. Saturday morning breakfast together is always a fun part of our gameday traditions. I really love watching my kids get fired-up, just as the football players do, saying their own chants and cheers on the way into the stadium to see their daddy coach. Through the years we have enjoyed tailgating and spending time with other coaching families. There is a special bond among these families. One of my fondest memories to-date, is when I lived in Seattle we drove our boat across the lake, tailgated together, and went to the game together as coaching families. One of our favorite traditions is to greet Doug as he makes his way into the stadium. At Alabama it is particularly exciting because we get to participate in the Walk of Champions and I always make sure we are able to give him a good luck kiss! Singing Sweet Home Alabama is new to us but a welcomed addition to our gameday rituals. It is particularly exciting to hear the stadium roar “Roll Tide Roll” as we make our way off the field and into our seats to cheer on Doug and the Crimson Tide!”
Team FANtanista: Tailgaiting is a popular part of American culture. When your husband sits down to watch a game what is it he will be snacking on?
Christi: “The only time Doug gets to enjoy other football games is if we have an early game. We come home as a family and Doug spends time with the kids. Once the kids go to bed Doug breaks down film which can sometimes be to three o’clock in the morning. To keep him awake he likes to snack on a handful of cashew nuts and beef jerky.”
Team FANtanista: What is your favorite dish for tailgaiting?
Christi: “My favorite dish for tailgating, oh gosh, I have so many! Being from the south, the best thing that has ever been invented is jumbalaya or a big pot of Gumbo because it feeds so many people and it holds the flavor all day long. A delicious appetizer that is a treat for our guests is Brown Sugar Brie with Nuts. It’s well worth the effort!”
Team FANtanista: What happens differently in the Nussmeier household the Sunday following a win versus a loss? Is there a special way you handle a loss for you, your husband and your kids? Is there a special way you celebrate victories?
Christi: “We have a 24 hour rule in our house. This rule allows us to celebrate or mourn for 24 hours and then it’s time to move onto the next game! Whether we win or lose, watching Doug and the kid’s faces after the game is always a priceless moment. Sunday morning is our time to attend church as a family. After mass Doug goes to work.”
Team FANtanista: Is it difficult to hear negative comments about college football or coaches and how do you handle this? What is the best thing ever stated about your husband?
Christi: “I know my husband always does the best job he can. I stay away from negative commentary and keep myself focused on progress. It always makes me feel good when people come up to me and say Doug is really down to earth or he’s a really good guy and very friendly. I find this funny because we are just normal every day people!”
Team FANtanista: Coaches tend to have rituals, is there something your husband does or you do as a family every game? How long has he done this for? How did this come about?
Christi: “Doug brings home the game day program, Rice Krispy Treats, and his media pass for the kids. They really look forward to seeing daddy after a game and this just adds a little bit of fun.”
Team FANtanista: Many people make Friday night their date night. What happens to you as a football coaches’ wife on a Friday night during season?
Christi: “Well, I am quite busy with our children at this stage in their lives. When I am not doing sports activities with them, I am usually entertaining company in town for the game. If not, I make it a popcorn and movie night with the kids. Date night isn’t really significant to us because it is important to be together as a family. When Doug comes home at a reasonable time (before 8:00PM once a week) we enjoy a family meal at the dinner table. This is the time we share what is going on in each other’s lives for that week. One of the benefits of being a coaching family is the tightness and bonding that grows from this. What is two hours together for someone else might be literally five minutes with Doug. Whether it is five minutes or fifty I always know it will be quality time and I cherish this for our family.”
Team FANtanista: Tell me something nobody else knows about your husband? How about you?
Christi: “Most people do not know that Doug and I actually met in New Orleans, Louisiana. When Doug was a New Orleans Saints’ football player and I was a New Orleans Saintsations’ cheerleader we started dating and it was top secret!”
Team FANtanista: This is your opportunity to share anything you wish with the FANtanistas! What is it you would like to share?
Christi: “I am really excited to be back home in the south and near my family who are in Louisiana. I am enjoying being a part of the southern hospitality again and the special community of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama. It is so nice to be in a place where everything revolves around football, just like it does in our family. This community knows the football schedule by heart and plans their lives around the games. That makes all things a little easier on us so we don’t miss out on community functions. It is really a special place. It is fun to be greeted in an establishment by ‘Roll Tide’ rather than the usual hello. The spirit around Tuscaloosa is infectious! The kids and I really enjoy giving back to the community. Recently we were able to assist the Tuscaloosa Habitat for Humanity with a project helping those affected by the tornado and we look forward to many more chances to contribute in a meaningful ways. Being a coaching family we are very grateful for many opportunities we have in our lives and enjoy giving back to the community in every way we can.
Thank you FANtanistia for the opportunity to share what we love most about the game of football and all it brings along with it!”