HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Football is family: What it's like being a HS head coach's wife

Brandi Mann is equal parts cheerleader, event coordinator and psychologist in addition to being a mom

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Brandi Mann grew up going to games with her grandfather in Wichita Falls, where most of her family went to high school. She continued to attend games even after she graduated from the rival high school.

One day after a game between the Coyotes and San Angelo, she saw Josh Mann, then a young coach with Wichita Falls, sitting in a restaurant and went over to say hello and talk about Friday’s game.

The rest is history. 

“A football conversation brought us together and we’ve been together every day since,” she said.

The life of a coach’s wife is very different from being the spouse of just about any other profession with long nights away, semi-nonexistent weekends and summers and seeing good, bad and ugly after a game. 

Josh got his coaching career started as a defensive end coach under Chris Ross at Wichita Falls and followed Ross to Cedar Park in 2000, where he was on the staff until being named head coach at Rouse in 2008. 

Brandi said she didn’t totally realize how much more a head coach had to do than an assistant. Whether it was time spent at the school or being on call to parents and players at all times of the day, it took some getting used to.

“We’d sit down to dinner and he’d get a phone call and be like, ‘I’ve got to go take this,’” she said. “And that’s 100 percent ok, it was just kind of a shock at first.”

Brandi and Josh’s two sons are, unsurprisingly, very into football. 

Jace is now a 14-year-old and Judson is 12. They spent one year in Pop Warner before joining the Rouse Youth Football Association, a league in Leander that Brandi and Josh started in 2012. 

In the not so distant future, there will be two or three Mann’s on the Rouse football roster. 

“From my standpoint, he’s so good with kids, but with our kids, he’s amazing,” Brandi said. “My boys are coachable and it’s neat to watch him help with their footwork and instruct them with constructive criticism and how they respond. They have respect for him and that’s neat to watch.”

Brandi is pretty superstitious, so her Friday mornings are spent picking out an outfit — from undergarments to eyeshadow — that doesn’t include any of the opposing team’s colors. After getting home from work, she heads to the stadium before the game, where she’s in charge of the kids that run onto the field before kickoff. 

Jace and Judson are with Josh the whole time before the game, even if that includes a long bus ride to an away game. 

After the game is a different story and Brandi reflects the attitude that Josh has. Sometimes he’s frustrated after a loss or extra excited after a big win. 

“I just try to listen,” she said. “I don’t really give any feedback. When we win I celebrate with him. I’ll listen to all his ‘what if?’ questions and try to play the devil’s advocate as a response, but that’s about it.”

The title of athletic coordinator comes with even more responsibilities than what Josh is responsible for on the football field. 

Look in the stands during a volleyball, basketball, baseball, track or just about any other event associated with the school and you’ll more likely see Josh and sometimes the rest of the Mann family cheering along from the stands. 

“It’s a lot of time for him to be away, and we’ve had to put more time into it over the last few years because he wants to be at more sports,” Brandi said. “He wants to be at more things and we're very supportive of all the sports at Rouse.”

The Mann family is in a unique situation that has only moved them once due to Josh’s coaching job, and Brandi hopes her two sons are able to graduate from Rouse. 

Whatever happens, the hectic life of being a coach’s wife is normal for Brandi. 

“I love it,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine being married to anybody with a different profession.”

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Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com

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