By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When the coaching carousel spins, it isn’t just programs and players that get caught up in the mix — it’s also families.
That’s why when Joe Bob Clements married his wife Pelusa, he made sure she knew exactly what she was getting into.
Four kids and several years later the Clements are finally settling into their new home in Stillwater — nearly eight months after Oklahoma State hired Clements as its new defensive line coach.
“We’ve actually been driving back and forth to Kansas every week just so my children could finish out their seasons with their respective softball and baseball teams,” Clements said. “I told my wife that when we drove back to Stillwater Monday that we’re finally here. This was the first time in a long time that I can look and there’s not going to be any weekend that we’re going to have to leave, except for when there’s a road game. The next time I’ll leave Stillwater will be when we’re heading down to Houston.”
Clements is just one of four new coaches trying to make a new house a home in Stillwater before the fall camp begins. And while their minds will soon be turning to football, Clements said the move has been a little bit of a challenge with four kids in tow.
“It wasn’t tough — it was just more of an inconvenience than anything,” Clements said of the trips to and from Kansas. “When you’re married and you have four kids that are all going different directions, that turns into an inconvenience in itself. With four kids going four different directions, you’re always going to be driving somewhere.”
The trips across the state line may have taken their toll on Oklahoma State’s defensive line coach, but it wasn’t all bad.
“When you spend that much time together, I think it helps you become closer as a family,” Clements said. “You find ways to entertain each other. By the time we were heading up for our last time, the trip really didn’t seem that bad because we were used to it.”
But while Clements only had to drive across the state line, the same couldn’t be said for new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who had one month less and a further distance to travel than Clements after coming from Shippensburg, Pa.
Even so, Yurcich said he and his family are slowly getting settled into their new home.
“It’s going great,” Yurcich said. “We’re starting to get settled in and we’re starting to get comfortable. We’re happy to be here in Stillwater.
“It just makes it so much easier when you’re settled in before the season starts. You don’t have to worry about getting everybody adjusted or whether or not your kids are fitting in. You can kind of just be normal for a bit.”
And what better way to try to fit in than to have a barbecue — something Clements did with the members of the defensive line at his new home.
But while playing the role of an average Joe — even for just a few months — may sound ideal to coaches like Clements and Yurcich, the football bug eventually bites them near the end of July each year and their ready to get back to coaching.
“I’m just ready to get started,” Clements said. “I haven’t seen my players for six or seven weeks. I had them over to eat a couple weeks back. They might not have missed me, but I missed them though. Summer has been fun. Vacation has been fun. Family time has been absolutely amazing, but I’m a football coach and I’m ready to get back to coaching football.”