Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl announced this week that he and his wife are divorcing. It was news that caused some fans to wonder how a marriage could end after 25 years, but the better question is how any marriage in this business could last 25 years.
Seriously, are we stunned when rock stars get divorced?
|Even legends like Texas Tech's Bob Knight aren't immune to divorce. (Getty Images)|
Of course we're not, which is why we shouldn't be surprised when college basketball coaches get divorced either, and for exactly the same reasons. On an admittedly smaller level, they lead similar lives, and it's actually a shock that we don't read more of these stories on a yearly basis.
Yes, major college coaches hold desirable positions, but the idea that those positions are conducive to successful marriages is laughable. The paychecks are great, but the demand is high, and it's a lifestyle that can't help but cause conflict. There are 15-hour days, 15-day road trips, unpredictable schedules that offer no structure and fame that garners attention that brings countless temptations.
Add it up, and it's a recipe for divorce, one that others like Maryland's Gary Williams, LSU's John Brady, Texas Tech's Bob Knight and Kentucky's Billy Gillispie also could not avoid.
How many coaches make it home for dinner during the season? How many coaches turn off the phone when they walk through the door? How many nights are spent at home talking to their partner relative to ones on the road chatting with prospects? How many trips are there in the family car compared to those to the hotel bar?
The answer, for the most part, is not too many.
And that's too bad.
I had a coach tell me once that he worked so hard at his initial job he barely knew his first daughter, who was a toddler when he was hired. He said he just opened his eyes one day and she was 10, and he had no idea what had happened. I had another coach tell me once that, in the days before cell phones, he'd call from a hotel at night to leave his wife a message, and by the time she awoke the next morning to call back, he'd already be checked out and in a completely different hotel in a completely different city. In some cases, they might go days without speaking, and on some level he said he kind of got used to it, and started to consider it normal.
But it's not normal.
It's unique and problematic.
When a man loses touch with real life, he starts to lose touch with reality. And while the big house and fancy car and elite country club membership must be nice, it's hard to understand how wives wouldn't eventually become disenchanted with playing second-fiddle to the job and detach, which is the beginning of the end of all holy matrimonies, particularly when the husbands are wealthy celebrities always meeting new people, some of whom are pretty females with star-filled eyes.
Truth is, it's an unenviable balancing act, the ones coaches and their wives attempt.
So it shouldn't be a surprise when we read about a divorce after 25 years.
The shocking thing is how any marriage in this business could possibly last that long.