The Life of a Coach's Wife

 "It's our life. We know it by now. It only brings us closer." -Shannon Harper, wife of WKU Head Coach Ray Harper.


Very few people are cut out for the life of a college basketball coach, but even fewer are fit to be coaches' wives.

"I see mistakes and I see the kids really trying. I know this game. My husband's job focuses on this."

Shannon Harper has been married to WKU Head Coach Ray Harper for 23 years. All of those years, Ray Harper has been a basketball coach. He began his career coaching where he finished his playing career, Kentucky Wesleyan College. In 1996, Ray became the head coach at his Alma Mater and began his path to WKU. After a couple national championships, in 2005 Coach Harper and his wife moved to Oklahoma City for a few years and won two more national titles. After only a few seasons coaching Oklahoma City University, WKU came calling and Coach Harper was named an assistant to Ken McDonald's staff. In 2012, Coach Harper was promoted to Interim Head Coach and shortly after, Head Coach of the Hilltoppers. All that time and all those miles, Shannon was there. She went to every game she possibly could, no matter the distance. Traveling and moving can wear a person down, but coaches' wives know it's part of the job.

"It hasn't been stressful because so far we haven't left unless we wanted to."

Anyone who watches the game of basketball knows that a game has many ups and downs. The same can be said for any season.

"We talk for about an hour after every game. When Ray gets home he watches every game immediately. I think sometimes he just wants an outsider's opinion."

Whether it's before, during, or after a game, Mrs. Harper is always there for her husband. Basketball is her life year round, but especially in months like March.

"It consumes you the whole season."

Shannon is no slouch when it comes to the sport. She knows the game, but better yet she knows her husband.

"I always expect us to win. I think he (Ray) can coach us out of any situation."

Marriage is the union of two lives into one. For 23 years now the teams that Coach Harper has led have also been Mrs. Harper's teams. The best part is, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's our life. We know it by now. It only brings us closer."


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