How has the first few months of being the First Lady of Bison basketball been going?
The first few months as First Lady of Bison basketball has been filled with a lot of different emotions. Excitement is the first emotion that comes to mind. David has been waiting to take the reign at North Dakota State University (NDSU) and for his dream to come true has truly been exciting. The day we told the girls that daddy was going to be the new head coach at NDSU was priceless. Their faces were filled with so much excitement! Lots of screams of joy were screeched and happy dances were danced. They proudly told everyone (strangers included) that their daddy was the new head coach.
I remember talking to Nicole, Saul Phillips' wife, before David had even gotten the job, and telling her I didn’t feel like a lot would change from him being the Associate Head Coach to the Head Coach. She said “Oh honey, things will change!” and boy was she right. One of the biggest changes is all the random people that come up to David to congratulate him or just want to make small talk. I will later ask him, “Do you know that person?” Most often, he says no and to me that is crazy! I’m adjusting to him being in the spotlight. About a week after being named head coach he received an envelope at work from Cass County Jail. He opened it up to find a beautifully hand sketched drawing of him and the girls that came from the front page of the forum that week. I have to admit it was a little creepy at first but after doing some research it was just an inmate using his talents.
Another adjustment for me is all the NDSU functions we now attend. It has been so much fun meeting NDSU supporters, fans, and staff. Many new friendships have been formed from these functions. Hey, it also allows David and I the opportunity to have more “date nights” which has been great. That’s always a plus because combining the time commitment college coaching entails and adding 4 little kids on top of that, date nights become few and far in-between.
I will admit a few tears have been shed along the way also. College coaching is a very selfish occupation that pulls David away from family. He’s not home every night to tuck the girls into bed; he’s had to miss school functions and birthdays; and not always home for family dinners and holidays. There are days you just break but then you pick yourself back up and remind yourself of all the great things college coaching has to offered for our family.
What has been the best experience thus far?
I would have to say the day David was named head coach; him calling me and telling me he got the job and bringing all the girls to his press conference. It was something we will never forget and was truly special for us all.
I see you guys recently did a staff trip to Iowa. How did that come about?
Our staff trip to Iowa for the NDSU vs. Iowa State football game was a blast! Basically David told me they were going to make it a “staff re-treat” weekend. Well, after hearing that, I just took it into my own hands and invited all us ladies to come along. He thought that was a great idea, as did all of the assistants. Family is very important to David and I. It is our goal to extend that into our staff because we are a “Bison Family” - it is who we are. We are looking forward to many more Bison Family get-togethers!
How was the game?
The atmosphere was absolutely amazing! It is so fun to see the following that Bison Nation gets. It was 80+ degrees and super hot so by the end of the game we were all a hot sweaty mess, but the outcome was all worth it!
It seems like the “new” staff is doing well, including the wives, fiances and girlfriends! And, lots of newly engaged folks right? Are you helping the girls plan their weddings?
The new staff and their families are so much fun to be around. We all get along great! I told the ladies I feel like we have known each other for years. We are each others' back bones and support system, which is so important to have in this profession.
We are so excited for Jayden and Katie, and Josh and Halie! They both got engaged about a week apart. I look forward to helping out in any way they want me to. I have already gotten a sneak peek at Katie’s wedding shoes. They look fab!! Brynlie is going to be the flower girl in Jayden and Katie’s wedding. Shh…she doesn’t know yet but I can’t wait to see her face when they ask her :)
Talking about weddings and marriage, how long have you and David been married?
David and I have been married for 9 years….man where has the time gone?!?!
Tell us a little about that courtship? How did you meet? And, how did he propose?
David claims I was the one to make the first move but I like to disagree with him! We didn’t officially meet until we were both at NDSU, but our connections go back to North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS). He remembers seeing me on my campus visit his last year at NDSCS. I made the decision to play basketball at NDSCS and his dad was the Athletic Director at the time. David would come to some of our games and that’s when I started to notice him. Two years later at Reeb’s Sports Bar I casually went up to him and introduced myself, making the connection that I knew his dad. Ok…so I guess I probably did make the first move but "shh" we won’t let David think that! I like to play hard to get! I guess the old saying goes “and the rest was history!”
The proposal: We got engaged on a recruiting trip….pretty fitting huh? David had asked me to fly down to Orlando with him during their July recruiting period. I spent the first full day by myself in the hotel room while he watched AAU games, day two continued like that and by this time I thought to myself “well this stinks!” I was getting a little irritated! Later that night we went out for supper and he took me on a little walk at Disney’s Boardwalk. It was beautiful scenery for a late night stroll. David pulled me aside down under a bridge and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was a moment that will never be forgotten! I even remember what I was wearing. We were able to enjoy the rest of the trip together relaxing and site seeing.
Yes a lot has happened in the past 9 years! Nine years and four beautiful blue-eyed girls later!! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have 4 girls ages 7, 5, and twin 3-year-olds by the age of 30. We feel so blessed and wouldn’t change it for anything!
-Miss Mallorie is a 1st grader already! She loves school and anything that involves singing and dancing. Drama is her middle name! She takes after her momma and likes to worry a lot. She is a rule follower. Last year the teacher told the class they should be in bed by 8 and if it was a minute past then, she would be in tears. She likes to please, make others feel good, and has the biggest heart.
-Miss Brynlie is 5 and is starting to finally enjoy her last year of preschool. She really enjoys staying at home with mommy most days. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up she states “a mommy!” That fits her to a T. She is our mother hen of the group. Having twin sisters is so much fun for her because there is always someone to play house with. It is guaranteed if one doesn't want to be her baby the other one will. Brynlie is also our responsible one. I can ask her to get the twins dressed and in the suburban and there is no question it will get done. Don’t ask her to take a picture with Thundar, NDSU mascot, because that will not happen - she is not a fan!
-Kenlie and Ellie just turned 3 in September. Can we say BUSY?!?! These two little blonde’s are sure to steal anyone’s heart. Not sure if it’s because they are twins or just because they are so darn cute, but anytime we are out people just gravitate to them. There is no sign of shyness here as they will talk anyone’s ear off (especially Kenlie). David tells her to catch her breath all the time. I would say that Kenlie is more of the momma’s girl and needier, but just as I say that they switch personalities. They are best of friends! When one is in trouble the other one is right there to bail her out. If one gets hurt the other is right there for hugs and kisses. They love to go..go..go! Ask them about Thundar and Kenlie will bravely stick out her hand for a high-five but with an unsure look on her face and Ellie immediately clings to me with tears rolling down her face. You would think as much as they see him they would think Thundar is their best friend, but he is rather large!
The girls are always dressed so darn cute in green and gold, where do you shop for them?
Believe it or not I am a bargain shopper! I have to admit it is pretty fun shopping for 4 girls. They need to have a few staple NDSU attire outfits like there cheerleading outfits, but I love dressing them up in cute colored jeans, cute sweaters, leggings and tutu’s that are green and gold colors and pair it with some adorable shoes or boots. I never buy a whole outfit at once. I usually buy something that is Bison colors and pull it together with something I have in their closets. Katie, fiancé to Jayden Olson, made the most adorable sweatshirts for them. We are sure to get compliments on them. Some of my favorite stores are Gap, Old Navy and Target.
And what about you, where do you enjoy shopping the most?
Gap is my go to store! I seem to always walk out of there with something in my hand. I do enjoy treating myself to a nice pair of Lululemon yoga pants or something nice from anthropology, Banana Republic or Hot Momma.
Ok, so a few more questions…How do you balance being a coach’s wife, mother, pharmacist, sister, runner and so much more?
I get this question a lot. My answer is “you just do it!” I do it without really thinking about it and everything seems to fall into place. We are really fortunate to have both families close. They are here to help anytime we need it. David may not be home every night but when he is home he is in full blown parent and hubby mode. He’s an amazing daddy whether it’s wrestling around with the girls; helping Mallorie with homework; or wearing the hat of our main laundry man and dishwasher. It makes my job a lot easier with help from him.
I feel blessed to be able to work two days a week as a pharmacist and have the rest of the week at home with the girls. It’s a perfect balance for me. It gives me my much needed adult interaction, but that special time with our girls as well. They grow up way too fast the way it is.
Working out is one of my top priorities and is something I do to start my day off. Many days that means I may only get six hours of sleep, but it’s my stress reliever and a must do on my list. Having four active little ones keeps me motivated to stay young and fit.
Any marathons in your near future? (May I boast Stephanie ranked top 20 area runners in her age group for the 2013 Fargo Marathon! Yes, this girl can run!)
Running a full marathon has always been something on my bucket list. I love challenges and if I commit to something I am in it 100%. My training runs went really well but the day of the marathon was a rough one. It got really humid and the sun beating down draining all my energy. I swore I would never run another marathon after the pain I felt, but I am a competitor (just as David). I know my run could have been better so to answer your question….yes, I probably will do another marathon but nothing on paper yet.
Last question-what advice to you have for “new” coach’s wives and those that are engaged to coaches?
1.-As a former college athlete myself, I understand the time and commitment it takes to be a college coach. You have to learn to become independent because your husband will not always be home to help with supper, bedtime, fix the drain when it’s plugged, etc.
2-Find a good support group. Having people that understand your husband’s job isn’t the typical 8-5 is paramount. Having that support from family, friends, co-workers and other coach's wives is so important in living a happy life as a coach’s wife.
3-It’s ok to break down and cry when you have had a long day and are on day four or five of your husband or fiance not being home to only realize they have a recruiting trip planned for the day they return home. A good cry is good therapy and brings me back to #2.
4- Be their #1 fan on and off the court! There will be days he comes home after losing a close game, getting the call that one of their recruits has committed to another program, being told one of their players will be out for the rest of the season due to an injury, and dealing with decisions 18-23 year-olds are making. These are the times they need you the most to pick them up and tell them it will be ok
I hope all of Bison Nation is heading to the men's basketball kick-off game tonight at 7pm (CST) vs Minot State. If you go, say "hello" to Stephanie and the girls. I haven't seen her in a few months, but speak with her at least once a week! Hoping we have another reunion at this year's Final Four!