There are seven more weeks remaining in the NFL’s regular season and two more weeks left in the college football regular season, but the coaching carousel has begun to spin. We’ve seen the causalities already hitting the ESPN ticker, and derrières on the hot seat are getting toasty. Fans are becoming uneasy, the media is speculating, anonymous message boards are lighting up and football coaches’ wives and kids are beginning to have real conversations about possible new cities, new friends, new schools and praying for daddy to get a better job.
Many people compare a football life to a military life, but I don’t dare draw the comparison. Football is a game, and our military puts their lives at risk for our freedom. The exception: Both military and football wives have the uncanny ability to pack and tape boxes with grace.
I would love to say that I have become a pro at traipsing through the unknown with my better half, UA senior defensive analyst Chuck Cecil, but I am not. This past week I was chatting with a wife from the Denver Broncos’ coaching staff about the uncertainty of this time of year. I offered her five quick bits of wisdom that a mee-maw-coach’s wife shared with me over a decade ago.
The first? Control only what we can control and to silence the 2 a.m. “what-if” fears in our brains. Second: Trust His plan and press into your faith. Third: Downsize. Learn to donate vs. throwing your extra linens into a moving truck. Fourth: Detach from the brick and mortar and hold tight to relational connections you’ve made. Lastly, embrace the unknown and enjoy the now moments together — it’s all we really have.
On Sunday night, Chuck, Charli and I began to have these tough conversations over the game of Rummikub and root beer floats. We honestly don’t know what the future holds, but whatever it may look like, we’re in it together. (P.S. I won the Rummikub weekend tournament!)
In the biz
What’s a guaranteed buyout, and why the heck are coaches getting paid millions of dollars when they get fired? First, it’s important to understand that guaranteed buyout money goes both ways. Buyouts were originally designed to make it more challenging for coaches to hopscotch to greener pastures while under contract.
It was a sort of insurance policy between the coach and school agreeing that they were going to honor the contract they signed.
This year in the Power Five conferences alone, Louisville, Kansas and Maryland have already announced coaching changes. Louisville owes Bobby Petrino a whopping $14 million. There is also talk of removing USC’s Clay Helton, Rutgers’ Chris Ash and Illinois’ Lovie Smith, among others. Each of these buyouts are over $10 million. I spoke to three athletic directors in Power Five conference this week; all three indicated that buyouts are out of control. But, as one added, “you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
Last year the social media networking app Snapchat introduced Snap Map. It’s an animated-looking map with a Bitmoji of the user on the map showcasing where he or she is in real time. Gulp. Snap Map can also share exactly what the user is doing. It has a function named Map Explore where the user can scroll through the map to see where people are going. It is updated by moving vs. typing your location.
The Snap Map function is widely used by students, athletes and coaches who use the app to connect. The challenge is that it can be super dangerous. Imagine someone “watching” your child go home while you’re still at the office or on the road. While everyone may not agree with me, I am a firm believer in keeping people safe online — particularly our kids. Your kids are probably using this feature, but try not to strong-arm them out of it. It’s a conversation-starter about online safety. If you want help talking to your teen, athlete or staff about Snap Map, how to put this feature in “ghost” mode, or online safety, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Longtime UA supporter and philanthropist, and our surrogate Tucson mom, Nancy Kinerk, was named the 2018 Founders Award recipient by the Greater Tucson Leadership (GTL). The Founders Award, established in 1985, is a lifetime-achievement recognition honoring an individual who has demonstrated significant long-term community involvement and accomplishments, and who has helped to shape the community in a positive manner with merit and dedication. For over 40 years, Nancy’s community involvement with Tu Nidito, Angel Charity for Children, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Children to Children, and so many more has inspired literally thousands of individuals — including me! I am proud to call her my friend. Also honored: Woman of the Year, Carla Keegan; Man of the Year, Larry Lucero; and Suzanne McFarlin, GTL Alumni Excellence Award Winner. The 66th Annual Man and Woman of the Year and Founders Award Gala is on Feb. 9 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. For more information: www.greatertucsonleadership.org.