Razorback Coaches on Unexpected Togetherness & Family

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE –  College coaches inevitably say lack of time with their families is  Drawback No. 1 to their job.

That drawback certainly seems lowered with the coronavirus induced national emergency  making all them work increasingly and perhaps soon entirely at home.

Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Track Coach Chris Bucknam cited a tweet from Mike Leach, the  Mississippi State Football Coach, regarding the reintroduction  of coaches to spouses and families.

“I have tell you that tweet from Mike Leach was a riot a couple of days ago,” Bucknam said last week.  “I walk into the house and there was  a lady sitting on my couch.  She seemed nice – it was my wife.’ I just thought that was hilarious.”

So it seems a reintroduction of sort to Bucknam and his wife, Cindy, even as they’ve been wed nearly four decades.

“Cindy and I are getting used to each other,” Bucknam said.  “We’ve been married 39 years and she says, “It’s only been nine really because of all the time we missed and that’s why we’re so happily married.’  I’m going to use the opportunity to rest and enjoy time with my wife.”

Of course he’s still working plenty keeping in touch with his athletes now mostly  scattered to their homes plus recruiting.

Courtney Deifel, the Arkansas Women’s Softball Coach and mother of 4-year and 2-year-old sons, finds herself busier than ever as a working now also stay at home mom.

“I don’t know if you can hear that in the back,” Deifel said, laughing of the children voices in the background of her media teleconference. “It’s a lot of just trying to keep them from killing each other  and just finding different things to do every day. But I welcome the family time and just enjoy it.”

Arkansas Men’s Basketball Coach Eric Musselman has added levity with a couple of phantom videos conducting of himself conducting a basketball practice without players and a press conference without press while maintaining his workaholic pace researching recruits and even NBA game film and how it could correlate helping his team.

But he is spending more time at home with wife Danyelle and daughter Mariah whose elementary school, like all Arkansas schools, is closed.

Who does the home schooling?

“I’m not really good in math or reading, but I am good at discipline,” Musselman said.  “So Danyelle does all the teaching, and then I come in when the focus gets lost a little and try to re-direct her. So it’s kind of a dual partnership in this home schooling.”

Arkansas Women’s  Track Coach Lance Harter continues coaching while awaiting to turn 70 on April 15.

Seems this time away from directly coaching only resolves him to coach longer.

“It’s almost like a premature retirement,” Harter said, “I’m not going to handle that process well, either.”

Harter  said he and his wife, Kim, do enjoy  the farm they have in the country in  Goshen.

Arkansas Baseball Coach Dave Van Horn  and wife Karen also own some property apart from their home.

So when not on the phone talking to his coaches and players, Van Horn said, “  I’m exercising and working down on my land just trying to break a sweat. So I can calm down a little bit.”

Playing catch-up from the get-go hired in Dec. 8  just 10  before the early-signing period. and then deprived spring practice which was to start with three practices cancelled last week, Arkansas Football Coach Sam Pittman will use some UA spring break projected midweek warm weather for a trip with his wife Jamie while staying home.

“We are going to the Bahamas at my address in Fayetteville, Arkansas,” Pittman said. “I think I’m going to heat the pool up. There might be a whale sighting out there. It’s just me. Nobody shoot. It’s just me.”

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