Published December 20, 2013
Some of the fastest athletes in Boise for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl just might be the smallest. They’re the children of the UB football coaches, staff and administrators who brought their families along so they could experience the excitement of a bowl game. There are approximately 20 children on the trip, and their moms and dads will tell you these kids can accelerate.
On Thursday, while the players and coaches were at practice, Shannon Quinn, wife of Bulls head coach Jeff Quinn, arranged a craft session and game room for the kids. The hotel opened one of its conference rooms so the kids could have an open area to burn off some steam, play games and make Christmas ornaments.
“It’s nice because it gets the kids all in one room and gives them something fun to do,” said Angela Spieler, whose husband Marty is an assistant coach.
UB football is truly a family. You don’t spend several hours a day together half the year without getting to know the people around you pretty well. That's especially true for the UB football females — the wives of the coaching staff.
“We all get along, we all love each other and we help each other out,” said Shannon Quinn, sounding very much like the quarterback of the group. She spearheads events and ensures that her team is on the same page, whether the Bulls are at home or on the road. The group uses social media and texting trees to ensure that all the UB football females know when events are being held.
Some of the more veteran members of the group — “We call ourselves the AARP club members,” Quinn said — go out of their way to help out the younger moms on the team, especially the ones with young kids. “It makes it easier on them, and takes the pressure off everybody,” Quinn said.
She knows what it's like to be married to a Division I football coach. “Jeff jokes that we’ve been married 26 years but it feels like 13 because he hasn’t been around half the time,” she said.
Elizabeth Bittar, a 2000 graduate of the UB School of Management, wanted to make the trip so that her oldest son, Coleman, 3, could take in the experience. Bittar and her husband, Paul, director of football operations, also have a 5-month-old, Elliot. “We all know each other and the kids look forward to seeing each other,” she says. “A lot of the kids have been hanging out in the players’ lounge, too.”