The Life of a Football Wife: Mary Sutherland, Bartram Trail

How long has your husband been coaching? Since 1992.

How long have you lived in Jacksonville? July 2000. Our eldest was about 8 months old at the time.

What is your role with the team? Are you more hands-off, on the sidelines, or are you hands-on with the team?

My role is in support of my husband. I try to help in any way I can, whether it’s running errands to help out when he’s busy teaching / coaching or bringing him lunch to show him I love being with him even when it’s just for a few minutes. I go to the games and cheer the team on. 

You mentioned something about making dinners for the team, tell me more about that. A few times over the summer, we have about 12 or 14 players over for dinner for something my husband calls Leadership Council. He typically reads a leadership book with these players and they meet and discuss it over dinner. High school boys like to eat. 

What is your Friday Night gameday routine? I take Darrell lunch. I make dinner for our children and my parents. When we say grace, we also pray for the coaches and the team. Then my Dad and I go to the games together. We sit with my husband’s parents. 

Are you friends with any of the other coaches wives? They are a great group of women. Most us have young growing families. That keeps us all moving in many directions.

How did you and your husband meet? How long have you been married? I met Darrell at Virginia Tech at an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) meeting. We have been married coming up on 23 years.

Tell me about your kids, how old are they? What are their interests? Are they invested in the team as well? Our eldest, Caleb, is 15 and a rising sophomore at BTHS (where Darrell teaches and coaches). He actually played on the JV squad (as well as JV wrestling and JV lacrosse) this past year. He loves all sports and is a voracious reader. Elle is 13 and is a rising eighth grader. She loves to play any sport or game you are willing to play with her. She enjoys arts and crafts and loves children. Elijah, our youngest is 11 and a rising sixth grader. He loves football and basketball, but basically anything that has him moving and playing makes him happy. Caleb was a ball boy thru middle school. Eli will have the opportunity to be one starting this year. Elle hopes to volunteer helping sell t-shirts for the boosters.

Is it difficult for your family to manage running a team and a family at the same time? Of course it can be tough running so many directions at once. Three children, all playing sports. Even I am still playing sports. The reality is, you make it work. Grandparents pitch in, families work together. Coaches families aren’t the only ones running so many directions.

What motivates you and your husband? Is it winning, or development, or something else? Making a difference in the lives of those he coaches. We want these boys to grow up and become men who are great citizens and husbands and fathers. Football can be a great place to learn life lessons and how to work as part of a team.

Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your husband or the team? We really feel blessed to be a part of the Bartram community. My husband loves teaching and coaching at Bartram Trail High School. This has been a wonderful place to raise a family.