LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - University of Louisville's Head Football Coach Charlie Strong is riding high. With a 4-0 start to the season his team up to number six in the polls. While his every public move is followed closely by Cards fans, much less is known about Strong's private life.
Vicki Strong met me at Coach Strong's "office." She seems to know everyone there, giving hugs to those there including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's Mother.
Vicki leads a busy life. In addition to her husband being head football coach, their two daughters, Hailee, 16, and Hope, 13, play volleyball.
When Hailee was asked if her mom got to coach her dad at home Hailee answered, "She runs the house, basically."
Vicki said she feels like she has 100 surrogate sons because she is a big supporter of her husband's team.
Vicki said she and Charlie are best friends, "We have fun together, we laugh all the time."
For proof of that, there's a moment caught on video following the Sugar Bowl game last year, after UofL beat the Florida Gators. It's the first time Coach Strong sees his wife, and his face lights up and the two hug. It's a piece of video one of Vicki's friends forwarded to her.
"I'm like, oh my gosh, he does love me," Vicki laughed. "Not that I doubt that."
Ironically the two met at the University of Florida. She was a student and Charlie was a graduate assistant for the football team. They've been together for 25 years.
"You always want to have someone there on your hand who can help you through the tough times," Coach Strong said.
Some of those tough times came earlier in their marriage. Charlie was being passed up time and again for head coaching positions.
"When he would interview and wouldn't get it...am I the reason why he's not getting that?" Vicki said.
Coach Strong even went on the record, telling a reporter he wasn't getting hired because his wife is white.
"If you travel through small towns you hear about interracial relationships not being accepted," Vicki said. "When you live it, go through it, it makes it real and makes you understand."
In their three years in Louisville, Vicki said they've been made to feel right at home. They enjoy the people, the seasons and the Kentucky Derby - so much so that when Tennessee showed interest in Charlie last year, they said no.
"You have to go with your feeling, your gut instinct. Just wasn't there," Vicki said.
Vicki starts each game day with tailgating. She said it gets her in the right mindset for the day, but she does more than just cheer on the team. She mothers the players, heading up Thursday candy bar nights.
"They run off that field and attack that candy bar bowl," she said.
Vicki's the yin, to her husband's yang. She tries to get him to relax a little more.
"I say you have 25 minutes you get in the car at the stadium. You have 25 minutes to get home. That should be your unwinding down to switch gears mentally, get into the family mode. How successful is that? It's a work in progress," she laughed.
They are clearly doing something right. Their 16-year-old daughter said she wants to have a marriage just like her parents.
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