Coaches’ wives deal with ups and downs of football season



    BYU football coaches have certainly had their share of ups and downs in recent seasons, and nobody knows that better than their wives.

    One wife whose coach-husband has been particularly battered by public opinion is Diane Chow.

    “As the years go by it gets worse — it’s miserable,” Chow said. “Sometimes I don’t think there is any enjoyment in it at all.”

    Diane is married to BYU football offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Because coach Chow is the one behind BYU’s offense, the brunt of criticism from fans and media tends to fall on him. BYU fans have come to expect a high level of play from the Cougar offense, and have even labelled BYU “a quarterback factory.”

    But in recent years, the mighty Cougar offense has struggled. And that has made life particularly difficult for the Chows.

    “We’ve been spoiled so much with winning, so when you lose, people are unkind, and a lot of times they don’t even know what’s really going,” Diane said.

    Karen Bosco agrees. She’s married to the legendary former BYU quarterback, and current quarterbacks coach, Robbie Bosco.

    Karen said that when fans criticize players or coaches, they often don’t know what they are talking about, but that she usually manages to keep a clear head.

    “You learn to deal with the criticism,” Karen said. “It’s usually not a personal attack.”

    Winona Ramage, wife of defensive line coach Tom Ramage, said her children sometimes talk to friends of theirs who criticize the team, telling them to be more supportive.

    Chow said she has found it difficult at times, especially when her children are involved. Coach Chow has told their family that football is the business they’re in and people can think what they want.

    Most football fans don’t see or know about the players’ or coaches’ lives off the football field. Some fans even seem to think that being a football coach is an easy job since games are only played in the fall. But being a coach is a full-time, year-round job. Recruiting is one aspect of a coach’s job that goes on year round, with coaches often leaving on extended trips in order to gauge new talent.

    Wives are often left at home to deal with family matters on their own. Winona Ramage said many wives don’t realize how much their husbands are away and the stresses involved.

    “I know of some wives that have had to take themselves to the hospital to have a baby,” she said.

    For Rita Pella, wife of kickers/tight ends coach and former Utah State head coach Chris Pella, time away from her husband is difficult. Pella recalled going to her children’s games alone, but said she just had to adjust.

    “It’s still hard after all these years, but there are good times and you look forward to those,” she said.

    Although the life of a college football coach is filled with difficulties, the wives are also appreciative of the opportunities that come with being associated with BYU football.

    The Chows said raising a family in a stable environment has been of paramount importance and the main reason why they have remained at BYU. Diane said her kids always wanted to be around Provo and BYU, and her family always came first.

    Coach Chow has had offers to be a head coach in Hawaii and Arkansas, but has turned them down in deference to his family.

    Coach Ramage said her family thought about leaving BYU, but they’ve done so much here, and coaching under Lavell Edwards has been rewarding.

    Rita Pella said being at BYU has been good for her family and has also enabled her husband to be home more. When coach Pella was the head coach at Utah State, he was often required to work long hours and Sundays, she said. She also mentioned that when her husband is home, he does a good job of leaving his football worries at work and concentrating on his family.

    The coaches’ wives agree that some of the best aspects of their situation include the relationships with other coaches and their families and trips to bowl games.

    Winona Ramage recalls traveling to Australia and Japan as highlights because she never thought she would leave the country.

    Karen Bosco recalled the recent Cotton Bowl victory as a lot of fun to be a part of.

    Chow and Pella said they have enjoyed the relationships they’ve made, and the opportunity to associate with the athletes. Chow also added the fact that BYU has been so successful has also been something that she is quite proud to be associated with.

    “We feel kind of like a BYU family,” she said.

    Bosco said being the wife of a football coach is a difficult lifestyle but one in which she has made a lot of friends.

    “I don’t know what it would be like anywhere else,” Bosco said. “It’s a fun situation — if you can take the stress.”

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