Morning walks. Watching Law and Order together. Or, simply sitting and enjoying each others’ company.
For high school football coaches who have new families, or who are on the verge of becoming fathers, life is rich and rewarding but ultimately exhausting. Two area coaches — Brookside Christian’s Jordan McGowan and Tokay’s Michael Holst — have become new fathers in the past few months.
Weston Ranch coach Seth Davis, meanwhile, expects his and his wife’s first child in December.
Davis and his wife Susan wake up quite early, to walk around their neighborhood together in Manteca. And Davis, a Manteca High graduate, makes sure to catch a glimpse of Sierra’s state championship banner from last winter.
“I was able to spend one football season with her before we got married,” said Davis, who met Susan the day after Christmas in 2014. “I said, ‘Hey, let’s see how this first season goes. She’s like a crazy (important) inspiration to me.’”
Susan Davis already has two children, who Seth is close to. The two intentionally tried to have a December baby, with the birth after football season and leading into Seth’s annual Christmas break.
Seth Davis, who works security at Weston Ranch, tries to shut his phone off at 7:30 p.m. nightly so they can have private time. Even then, it’s not always a guarantee.
On Tuesday night, Davis found himself communicating with coaches and players past his 7:30 cut-off point. He knows it’s different this week, though, as the Cougars welcome four-time defending state champion Central Catholic to The Ranch.
“She’s right there, and I’m trying to nurture that relationship,” Davis said, recounting his effort to balance both of his lives. “It’s tough. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done so far and the baby’s not even there.”
McGowan is already deep into fatherhood. He has a daily rhythm, but it's a relentless one.
The 26-year-old lives in Sacramento with his wife Adriana, infant daughter Brooklyn, and sons Adrian, 3, and JaShawn "JJ", 7. Adriana is the mother of Brooklyn and Adrian, and the two were married earlier this year. JJ attends Brookside's elementary school, and Adrian goes to the preschool.
McGowan, who teaches at Brookside Christian High, wakes up around 5 a.m., showers, dresses, makes sure Adrian and JJ are ready to go with him and leaves the house by 6:30 a.m. From there, he’s around his football players from 7:30 a.m. until he leaves roughly 11 hours later. That could mean in class, in study hall or during or after practice.
“You’re never just teaching. There’s always something going on,” said McGowan, who earned his first win as Brookside coach on Saturday at Sacramento-Hiram Johnson.
Once back in Sacramento, McGowan tries to get his sons in bed by 8:45 p.m., and relax with Adriana. The two love to watch Law and Order: SVU together, but anything works. The other night, Adriana helped Jordan grade his papers while he studied film.
“They say that every coach’s wife is special. There’s no way that I’d be able to get through without her,” McGowan said.
Even when his boys are asleep, Brooklyn is the ultimate “daddy’s girl” he said.
“She’ll throw a fit until I pick her up or talk to her,” said McGowan, holding Brooklyn while he spoke over the phone on Monday night. “As soon as I get home she says, ‘Nuh uh. Where’s my dad?’”
Whether it be Davis, McGowan or Holst (whose daughter Sawyer Rose Holst was born Sept. 7), the connection to their nuclear and football families is what makes the 12-hour days and blurry eyes worth it.
“At the same time, it can’t always be about football,” Davis said. “I try to shut it off on the weekends and give my undivided attention to her.”
The Davises’ daughter will be named Cadence — which holds meaning to Seth as a football coach, and Susan as a former military professional. Seth can’t help but chuckle when he thinks about December. He’d love for Weston Ranch to go on a miraculous state championship run like Sierra did last winter.
Of course, that would make for a sleepless month with newborn Cadence.
In the past couple years, we’ve seen area coaches like Kimball football’s Charles Spikes and West boys basketball’s Derek Sprecksel, understandably, move on to see their families more.
Being a football coach is tiring enough. Hopefully, the way these guys grind through their days is apparent to their players, and impacts the way they conduct themselves later in life.
— Contact reporter Thomas Lawrence at (209) 546-8272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/sportsblog and on Twitter @RecordPreps.