Friday, December 5, 2014

ADvantage's Friday Feature: Married to the 'Catdome

The Hire family (Aaron, Doug, Miranda, and Teresa) after the 'Cats 2004 National Championship victory.

The Waterboy, The Blind Side and Remember the Titans. 

There are countless movies and TV shows about football. We laughed when Coach Beaulieu told Bobby Boucher to tackle the quarterback. We cheered when Coach Cotton stood up for Michael Oher as a member of his family. We stood by Coach Boone and the Titans through Gary Bertier’s paralysis.

Behind those memorable players are great coaches. And behind those coaches are the women who make what they do possible.

Tim Riggins may be every girl’s heartthrob, but all true Friday Night Lights fans know Tammy Taylor is the real MVP.

And the wives of Linfield’s finest are no different. In the words of Miranda Hire: “They are awesome! Coaches wives are amazing people, let me tell ya!”

“We’re kind of our own little sorority if you will,” said Teresa Hire.

“Us wives are our own little family,” agreed Kristen Rombach. “During football season, you have to learn to be independent and to be all about the team.”

“I love how much it means to Jackson,” said Shelly Vaughan. “Linfield is truly a part of who he is.”

Teresa met Coach Hire at Linfield. She played soccer and he played football.

“The short story is my boyfriend at the time was Doug’s roommate,” laughed Hire. “The scandalous story is I married my ex-boyfriend’s roommate.”

They began dating when Doug started his student teaching. After working at Sprague High School and Willamette University, he was offered a position at Linfield. Along with being the assistant head coach and coach of the offensive line, he works as the Assistant Athletic Director for Linfield, making Doug Hire quite the busy man.

“I’ve been a coaches’ wife for a long time,” said Hire. “I play the mom role and after four years, you end up caring about these boys who take all of your husband’s time and attention.”

Like their parents, both Hire children attended Linfield. While Aaron followed in his dad’s footsteps and played football, Miranda played soccer for the Cats and is, in her opinion, the biggest fan of Linfield football there is. She’s trying to convince her mom to take her to Pennsylvania seeing as “she doesn’t have classes on Friday’s anyway!”

The Hire kids are now grown, having little ones around, however, makes the challenges and time commitments that much harder.

“During home games I used to always take Phil a sandwich and soda to feed him at half time so he didn’t get hungry,” said Rombach. “That was before we had Mac.”

Kristen met Coach Rombach back in high school. After both attending Linfield, Phil transitioned from a player to coach for the Cats.

He is now in his seventh year with the linebackers and in 2013 was named the Division III Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine.

Like the Hires, the Rombach and Vaughan children have taken a liking to the Catdome.

“Mac loves running around on the field with his cousins and I love seeing him throwing the football with dad, and being a part of Linfield football,” said Rombach.

“Hallie and Reese love to play with Jackson on the field after the games,” said Vaugahn. “They think it’s great to run around and have their dad chase them.”

After a career ending injury during Vaughan’s sophomore year, Jackson began broadcasting the games on the radio before joining the coaching staff as a junior.

“Even when Jackson was growing up he loved coaching,” said Vaughan. “He helped with his little brothers’ basketball and football teams. Coaching was always a great fit for him.”

It’s obvious families love Linfield football.  Teresa and Doug Hire even celebrate their anniversary every year toward the end of football season. During the 2013 playoffs, a giant sign reading “Happy 25th Anniversary Coach Hire” filled the stands of Maxwell Field.

“I told Vanessa, Coach Unger’s fianc√©, that they are already smarter than we were,” laughed Hire. “They’re wedding is scheduled for late December, which, well-thought out by them, is not during football season.”

“Linfield truly is like a family,” said Rombach. “We talk about it all the time, they break on family. Joe Smith’s daughter babysits for us and if she can’t, it’s one of the linebacker’s girlfriends. It goes to show how together everyone truly is.”

Last week the Cats beat Mary Hardin Baylor in Texas to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Now, the Cats head to the Chester, Penn. to take on Widener in hopes to continue on with their season.

“We don’t fly anywhere with the team during pre or post season; we have front row seats at the computer. We all miss them but Hallie thinks it’s fun to see her dad on the computer,” said Vaughan. “If we make it to the finals I would love to go.”

“We’ve only travelled to one and that was the 2004 national championship, we went as a whole family,” said Hire. “It was awesome to see them win and then have a mini-vacation with the family in DC and New York afterward. Aaron was in the fifth grade and Miranda in first. Brandon Hazenberg was Miranda’s favorite player and she was so excited to get a picture with him afterward.”

Hazenberg, of course, now oversees the secondary and works with special teams. He, along with Rombach, was a member of the 2004 national championship team. Both Hire and Vaughan were coaches.

Connections run deep with the Wildcats. And with women like this behind the coaching staff of Linfield football, I think we can all agree with Miranda, they’re pretty amazing.

-Sara Miller

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