Offseason lets coaches catch up on important things

by Scott Schleisman

Coaching collegiate sports doesn’t allow for an abundance of time off. While the athletic season is hectic, the offseason can be nearly as taxing. Between recruiting, scheduling workouts and organizing the next year’s schedule, coaches don’t have much time for their personal lives.

However, that doesn’t mean coaches don’t like to relax just like everyone else. They even have weird hobbies.

“On the weekends I love to sing karaoke at different karaoke bars,” wrestling coach Ron Peterson said.

Although he has never made it to the campus favorite Signatures, Peterson said he has thought about it.

“My wife won’t let me sing my renditions of Jimmy Buffet songs in front of my students and athletes,” Peterson said.

Watching “M.A.S.H.” is a favorite for football offensive coordinator Andrew Mitchell.

“I watch ‘M.A.S.H.’ from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. every weeknight,” Mitchell said. “On the weekend the schedule changes and M.A.S.H. is only on at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.”

Mitchell said if he misses any episodes he can pop in his collector’s set of DVDs or read one of the books on the hit show.

The last book that football head coach Jay Niemann read was from the Dr. Suess collection. He also watches “Spongebob Squarepants” and “Arthur” with his two sons: Ben and Nick who are 9 and 7 years old respectively. Despite watching more children’s TV shows than adult ones, he doesn’t like all cartoons.

“I can’t tolerate ‘Pokemon,'” Niemann said.

If Peterson had a TiVo it would be set to record any and every Seinfeld episode.

“I will watch Seinfeld until the day I die,” Peterson said.

When he isn’t watching Jerry and Kramer, Peterson is watching “King of Queens,” “Still Standing” or “Desperate Housewives.” Every once in a while, Peterson’s television can be caught displaying an afternoon soap opera.

Tennis coach Bob Nutgrass spends his time playing “elevator go up and down.” Zachary, a new grandson has this Simpson coach riding elevators and making googoo-gahgah noises.

“My favorite is to give him the motorcycle ride,” Nutgrass said. “That is where he holds onto the handle bars and we make ‘vroom’ ‘vroom’ sounds. And if I’m not doing that, I am hanging drapes and curtains.”

Men’s basketball coach Bruce Wilson can be found on the weekends at any local movie theater. Wilson’s most recent flick was the story about a 10-year-old girl and her dog entitled “Because of Win Dixie.”

Currently, men’s assistant basketball coach Steve Ellens breaks out into a sweat every time his phone rings. This is because Ellens is expecting a newborn baby any minute.

“He has been expecting that baby every phone call for the last four weeks and they aren’t even expecting until later April,” Wilson said. “He doesn’t have any free time because he’s too busy saying, ‘Oh my gosh, Joyce is calling’ all the time.”

Women’s basketball coach Brian Niemuth can be found at his Des Moines restaurant favorites like Court Avenue Brewing Company and Buzzard Billy’s. When he isn’t eating out, Niemuth might be practicing one of his superstitions like wearing the same clothes that he wore the last game, because they got a win.

“There was a penny heads-down in my office for probably over two weeks,” Niemuth said. “I refused to pick it up because it’s unlucky.”