Coaches wives' connect on MarriedToTheGame.net - a social networking website

In this March 28, 2011 photo, Roberta Martin, center, attends a news conference as her husband, Cuonzo Martin, left, is introduced as the new Tennessee NCAA men's college basketball coach in Knoxville, Tenn. Roberta Martin created MarriedToTheGame.net, a social networking site for the wives of collegiate coaches. At right is their daughter, Addison.

Photo by AP Photo / Wade Payne

In this March 28, 2011 photo, Roberta Martin, center, attends a news conference as her husband, Cuonzo Martin, left, is introduced as the new Tennessee NCAA men's college basketball coach in Knoxville, Tenn. Roberta Martin created MarriedToTheGame.net, a social networking site for the wives of collegiate coaches. At right is their daughter, Addison.

KNOXVILLE — Wives who married into some of the nation's bitterest rivalries are bonding, thanks to connections made on a social networking website.

Joani Crean and Jerri Painter are two examples.

While Indiana and Purdue are beating each other's brains out on the court, the wives of Hoosiers coach Tom Crean and Boilermakers coach Matt Painter share hugs, smiles and stories.

"It's funny because Indiana and Purdue is a pretty tough rivalry," Crean said. "The guys compete on the court, but there has to be a real-life connection."

The women met through MarriedToTheGame.net, a Facebook-like site for coaches' wives. It was created by Roberta Martin, wife of Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin.

More than 700 spouses are members of the site, which is open to wives of collegiate coaches in any sport and allows members to post photos, leave messages or participate in forums. The members share their gameday fashions, talk about bringing children to games or commiserate about their husbands' absences during recruiting season.

Martin said she had the idea for MarriedToTheGame after her husband left his job as a Purdue assistant and accepted the head coaching position at Missouri State in 2008. She left her own full-time job and became a stay-at-home mom in the process.

"It was my first time being a stay-at-home mom, and I was running on the treadmill, and I was like, 'Certainly there are other wives who have gone through this transition,'" Martin said. "I thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have a way to connect with them,' and I was just getting into Facebook at the time."

After finding a hosting site, Martin asked her friend Shenetta Webster to help administer the site. Webster and Martin had gotten to know each other when their husbands were both Purdue assistants from 2003-04 and have been reunited in Knoxville, with Webster's husband, Tracy, joining Cuonzo Martin's staff this season.

Transitioning from one city to another while following their husband's coaching career is one topic members talk about. They reach out to other members who can help them become familiar with their new homes, advertise a home for sale or just talk about the stresses that come from frequent relocations.

Connie Whitesell is currently in the middle of her own relocation after husband Jim was fired from Loyola and accepted a job as a Saint Louis assistant. Through connections on MarriedToTheGame, she's gotten to know St. Louis as she prepares to move there from Chicago.

"I think the thing I appreciate it the most is that there are some really unique challenges that are faced by the families and spouses of coaches," she said. "All the movement that goes on and how your husband can get a new job and have to be there within hours while the spouses are coordinating the efforts back at home."

That's one reason why it's helpful for spouses to have a support network, said sports psychologist Bill Cole, a former collegiate tennis player and coach.

"You don't feel so strange or ostracized," said Cole, who is also founder and president of the International Mental Game Coaching Association. "It normalizes what they're going through. They realize, 'Wow, I'm not the only one, although I still don't like it.'"

Martin said her husband would joke that he'd lost his wife to MarriedToTheGame as she and Webster put many hours into developing the website early on. But the coach came to appreciate it when he attended the Final Four the following year and was approached by coaches whose wives were excited about the site.

"There's constant feedback that we get when we run into wives at national conventions and at games," Martin said. "They always say, 'I was thinking, why wasn't there something like this when I found your site.'"

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Beth Rucker can be reached at http://twitter.com/bethrucker

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Comments » 15

BobbyGraham writes:

Who cares about the wives?

Hickmc writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Who cares about the wives?

Their husbands, friends, families, etc..... Believe it or not probably the same cast that might care about you..

Good article Beth very interesting!!

b4allkids writes:

Kudos to Roberta Martin for developing this creative and constructive idea! I can't even imagine how difficult the role of coach's wife (or husband) would be, but this shows that RM has some good coping skills. I'm increasingly impressed that the Martins are good people and therefore good role models. That's worth a lot!

tmartin writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Who cares about the wives?

Let me guess. . Your wife keeps your children taken care of, your house in order, and waits on you hand and foot while you go out and play golf or fish every free minute you get. And yet, you show no gratitude or appreciation to her.

You sir, are an arse.

Caspian writes:

This makes me think of the connection the fans of opposing teams share. I have never understood the animosity between fans of rival teams as evidenced by the trolls on this site and some of the responses to them. It's like arguing with your own inverted reflection in the mirror. We're the same people who like the same thing. Our team just wears a different color uniform.

OrangeDew writes:

in response to tmartin:

Let me guess. . Your wife keeps your children taken care of, your house in order, and waits on you hand and foot while you go out and play golf or fish every free minute you get. And yet, you show no gratitude or appreciation to her.

You sir, are an arse.

What makes you think that any woman would be betrothed to BobbyGraham in the first place? That loser could spotted from far away.

Congrats to Mrs. Martin on her successful venture.

mnvol writes:

in response to Caspian:

This makes me think of the connection the fans of opposing teams share. I have never understood the animosity between fans of rival teams as evidenced by the trolls on this site and some of the responses to them. It's like arguing with your own inverted reflection in the mirror. We're the same people who like the same thing. Our team just wears a different color uniform.

Caspian, Good post. I couldn't agree with you more.

BobbyGraham writes:

in response to tmartin:

Let me guess. . Your wife keeps your children taken care of, your house in order, and waits on you hand and foot while you go out and play golf or fish every free minute you get. And yet, you show no gratitude or appreciation to her.

You sir, are an arse.

And your point is?

samvol writes:

umm okay:/

tmartin writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

And your point is?

Dont worry about it, I am sure the milk man, pool boy and paper boy have no complaints with your attitude.

BobbyGraham writes:

in response to tmartin:

Dont worry about it, I am sure the milk man, pool boy and paper boy have no complaints with your attitude.

Milk man? Where are we? Mayberry?

Reflections writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Who cares about the wives?

If this was your attempt at humor, it was pathetic. If it's how you really feel, it's pitiful.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Who cares about the wives?

Let me help you out, Bobby. You are just kiddin I know...I recognize a good joke when I see one...You're welcome.

PdxVol writes:

I wonder if husbands of female coaches can join? Like if Pat Summit has a husband, can he join? I really want to know this. Nevermind.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mnvol:

Caspian, Good post. I couldn't agree with you more.

I agree also. Healthy rivalry is one thing, but personal attacks on someone else just because they support a different team is just as futile and ridiculous as Caspian said.

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