For most people, the college football season starts late August and travels throughout fall into December’s spirited bowl games culminating with the national championship. To college football coaches wives, football is their life. For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, being married to a college football coach is being married to the game.Through our intimate conversations with college football coaches’ wives from across the country, Team FANtanista reveals real stories behind American football. It’s really more than a game!
Team FANtanista features “Head Coaches Wives on the Move.” It is that time of year when a college football coach’s wife could be in an all-too-familiar scene surrounded by boxes and ready for the next move. Team FANtanista speaks with Maya Petrino, wife of new Head Coach at University of Idaho, Paul Petrino.
Maya: “I have to say it has been exciting but a little scary. I really have a lot of emotions. I am thrilled for Paul but transition is hard. I don’t think anyone would say moving is fabulous because transitioning your family is difficult even when it is the best opportunity. You just hold your breath and hope everything goes smoothly.”
Team FANtanista: What are some things that you do to help your children in the transition?
Maya: “What has helped our kids is their participation in sports. It provides an instant group of kids they can relate with. Paul has always been great about working extra with the kids. As soon as we move, they are on a team and they establish a common connection with other kids. Whether it is choir, drama or sports, these all seem to be areas that assist in making the transition smoother and helping the kids to have something which they can bond with others.”
Team FANtanista: What changes do you see as you transition from being an assistant coaches wife to a head coaches wife?
Maya: “I don’t know yet but I don’t think anything important will change. I still plan to have a great relationship with the other coaches’ wives and be someone who they can count on. Whether it is going to dinner or helping to pick up each other’s children, I hope that doesn’t change. I think there is sometimes the perception that a head coach’s wife is inaccessible and I don’t want that to ever be the case with me. I would like to still see myself in the group. I hope that won’t be different. I want everyone on our staff to feel like they can count on each other and me and never be hesitant to call if they need help. We have all been there and we know how important this support is.”
Team FANtanista: What has been your biggest surprise as a Division I football coach’s wife?
Maya: “College football really is a double-edged sword. No matter what conference you are in, fans are so passionate and we would not be where we are today in college football if there wasn’t this passion. It seems like in the last 5-10 years, however, attacks have become extremely personal and many of these people don’t understand there are families behind these coaches and players. These young men who are being criticized are someone’s children and these coaches are husbands and fathers. It is not just a game to our families. This is our livelihood. Sometimes coaches and players are personally attacked and during these times we always appreciate those individuals who remain supportive and positive. With this profession there is a huge risk especially with the elevated salaries and huge popularity of college football these days. The coaches and players are trying to do their best and invest so much time and energy; no one wants to win more than them. We do appreciate all the support but as a wife I wish it could be a little more balanced.”
Team FANtanista: Where do you begin when you come to a new program?
Maya: “My primary focus is on my family. As a mother, if my children are happy then I am happy. The first things we look into are the schools. Everything is affected by this decision. For example, where we live, what we do and our kids’ activities. This is our priority.”
Team FANtanista: What rituals do you bring as a family and how do they help you to settle into your new location?
Maya: “As our children have gotten older, it has changed. Previously we have always moved in February because it has helped to meet new people and get involved. This time is different; we are waiting until the school year is out. It is important to get the kids involved, make it their move. Our kids have moved a lot and it is important to make them feel like their input is important and valued.”
Team FANtanista: If you could have brought one room with you from your previous home what would it be and why?
Maya: “It would be the pool. We had the best summer. Our teenage children and all their friends had a place to hang out. We love our kids at home and try to create an environment that supports this. Our youngest daughter had blonde hair by the end of the summer from all the time in the pool. She had the best day every day. We had a great summer outside.”
Team FANtanista: On gameday what would we find in your handbag?
Maya: “I will have my phone and, most importantly, things to entertain our 6 year old at the game!”
Team FANtanista: Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Maya: I am pretty casual. I love Paige denim and anything by Joie or Theory. If I am dressing up, I like Nicole Miller. At the end of the day, one of my favorite stores will always be Target.
Team FANtanista: Will your attire or style change at your new school?
Maya: “My attire really will not change but the colors will. I tend to dress up on game day. I have always dressed this way because I believe in representing our family, team and school well.”
Team FANtanista: As a head coach’s wife what would you like to known for?
Maya: “I would like to be known for supporting the University of Idaho and the team. I have always been involved in my kids’ schools and will continue to be. I want to be present to assist Paul with his needs as a head coach. It is also important you realize what you are capable of doing so you are not stretched too thin. In other words, if I am all over the place trying to be involved in everything I am not going to be there for my children and family which is my number one priority.”
Team FANtanista: Would you like to take this opportunity to share anything else?
Maya: “Although the coaching profession can be hard with the emotional highs and lows that come with competition and many moves that are a normal part of this business, we realize we are extremely blessed and grateful by the acceptance and kindness of different communities. Especially for all of the great people who we have encountered along the way! I hope the fans, community and those involved with our new University know we always try our best with the team and representing the University of Idaho.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt