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  • keya Collins

The Start of the Journey

My husband’s first job was an Assistant Coach position; under the direction of Coach Lonnie Thompson, at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. It was just he and I, during this time. I was living in Antioch and he had an apartment in Lebanon. I had established my career in Social Work and had a 45 minute commute from Antioch to Clarksville, TN, five days a week, but I didn’t miss a single home game. Because of my commitment, I drove an additional hour from work, to show my support at his games. I would pack a bag and stay in Lebanon on game days and would make that hour long drive to work the next morning. It was something I didn’t think twice about because I believed in his journey in becoming a D1 Head Coach. We were young and showed our support and commitment to each other. I supported him when he said, “Hey babe, a coach is coming in town and I need to meet up for dinner and drinks.” When he was on the road for games, I also supported from a far. After games, I would sit in his office while he broke down film, spoke with parents, and had after game talks with the players and the Head Coach.

These were the days that I feel my husband grind the hardest. I considered him a players coach because he was relatable to the players, while also being a disciplinarian. There was a time he popped up on the team, in their dorms and discovered they were peeing in the hall trash can, instead of going to the bathroom! He was hot and I got an earful all night! This was the type of situation he would rectify, without ever taking it to the Head Coach. Coach Thompson taught my husband the grind and encouraged him to never wait on people to tell him what to do. His advice was to “Just do it before I ever have to ask you, Brian”. That was in relation to any and everything. There was a time they were getting new flooring in the locker room: Coach didn’t want to pay anyone to pull up the old flooring so one weekend, they spent time pulling up the locker room floor themselves. I too, am thankful for Coach Thompson! He not only taught my husband a lot, but he instilled great lessons in me as well.

Before you look at the life we live now, and think it’s amazing; please know that there is definitely a back story. As Brian’s girlfriend then, I chose to stay the course because I knew that he was a grinder. I also knew it wouldn’t be easy, but because of my support and dedication to his grind, he promoted me to his Wife!

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