By Paul Markgraff, Managing Editor, This Is AFCA Magazine and AFCA Weekly
Chandra Nims Brown has been a coach’s wife for 12 years. Her husband, Vincent Brown, is co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Connecticut. She is no stranger to adaptation, having moved with her family 16 times before leaving for college. Her father was an executive with General Electric, and as such, the family moved around the country to follow him in his professional work.
Prior to Connecticut, her husband had been a part of the football programs at Meadowcreek (Ga.) High School, the Dallas Cowboys, the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia. He was also an all-pro linebacker with the New England Patriots.
Chandra understands how coaches can help their wives create a semblance of balance between the playing field and the living room, and it all starts with inclusiveness.
“At the high school or junior college level, the ability for the coach and the school to include the families in events are one way to bridge the gap between the long work hours and life at home. This is especially true when you have young children,” she says.
During Vincent’s days at Virginia, coaches and their wives attended “Behind the Bench” sessions, in which the team chaplain, the coaches and their wives would gather to discuss any relevant issues for 30 minutes on Sunday nights.
“This was great. We had a sense of camaraderie and family, and it took some of the pressure off of the wives, which in turn takes pressure off of the coaches,” she says.
Often, when a coach and his wife move to an area of the country with which they are not familiar, isolation can set in for everyone involved. It is critical, says Chandra, for the new wife to get comfortable with the other coaches’ wives and the program’s staff.
“This will get rid of some of that loneliness and it will be better for the coach and the family,” she says.
At the University of Connecticut, coaches families are encouraged to join the team for dinner and to attend practices whenever their schedules permit.
For more information about the American Football Coaches Wives Association, visit www.afcwa.org.