From Athletic Training to Potty Training

Coaches discuss how they split their time coaching and parenting.


Photographer: Catherine Mouer

Payton Stoops, J1 Reporter

Balancing work and family can be tough on its own, however, coaching adds another challenge.

Football coach KJ Williams is the new father of 9-week-old Kolter Jett. For him and his wife, it has been very hectic since he was only able to take one week off due to football season. He said he is still trying to find the balance considering it is all so new.

“It’s my first one, so I didn’t expect anything,” Williams said. “Sleep deprivation is real. And you know I guess I’m not surprised by anything he does and I’m not expecting anything that he does. It’s all new for me.”

The toughest part for Williams is going home and being able to turn off the work switch and be committed to his family.

“It has been hard to find the balance because my wife has had to deal with a lot of newborn stuff on her own,” he said. “But at the same time, I try to spend as much time as I can when I get home after leaving work. When I’m home, I try to dedicate myself as much as possible.”

Williams said that having a son pushes him to be a better coach and example.

“I am a constant example for the guys that I coach, but even more for him,” Williams said. “Because at the end of the day, the guys that I coach only have me for four years or shorter than that and he has me for the rest of his life. So it is important for me to set a good example.”

Swim coach and history teacher Jeff Girard is expecting a baby girl, named Lilly, in November.

“We are lucky that she is due the week before Thanksgiving break and then we have Christmas break,” Girard said. “I don’t think anywhere else could both parents get off work and it not financially hurt.”

Girard thinks that having a baby girl will influence how he teaches and coaches.

“You suddenly realize that this person is completely reliant on you,” Girard said. “I might look at you guys differently, whether it is good or bad, because I will have her to worry about, how her coaches are going to treat her, and how her teachers are going to teach her.”

Girard looks for every opportunity to spend with his family, but knows that compromise is necessary.

“Flexibility is going to be important because I leave so early in the morning. But in the afternoons, I don’t have to coach and school over so if I get to leave, I’m going” Girard said. “Every day is going to be different.”

English teacher and soccer coach Matthew Figlestahler has 1.5 year old daughter, Amelia. He has been coaching and teaching for nine years now.

“My wife’s father is actually a coach so she understands the demands of being a teacher and a coach. She is very supportive,” Figlestahler said. “It’s just figuring out time.”

Figlestahler still feels like he could be there more for his wife.Coach Fig

“I think you always feel that way when you have a late meeting,” Figlestahler said. “You always kind of want to be there.”

As an advantage of being a teacher and coach, he said he sees the successes of teenagers along with seeing what he would want for his daughter.

“I think it’s seeing the importance the role that the teacher plays because I’m around you guys all the time,” Figlestahler said. “I get to see you guys grow up. So I see how invested I am in your life and see how successful you are so I know I would want that for my daughter.”

He said time management is key to balancing it all.

“Cut out the time that you spend doing things that don’t matter and spend that time with things that do.”