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More Than A Coach: The reality of living in the spotlight as the child of a coach

Merrick McCool, Contributing Writer

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Life is different with a coach as a father.  For many current and former students at Oxford High School, this is a reality.

“It’s my lifestyle. I’ve been born into it,” Ole Miss head basketball coach Andy Kennedy’s daughter, Kaitlyn Kennedy said, “It’s hard with adults and stuff watching you more to see what you do and to see how it reflects on your dad.”

Kennedy is a senior and one of several Ole Miss Coach’s kids currently enrolled at Oxford High School.

“Whatever your parents do it’s going to affect your everyday life,” Drew Bianco, son of Ole Miss’ head baseball coach Mike Bianco said. “Everyone is looking at you not because of who you are, but because of who your parents are. People are always going to know who you are, it kind of adds a target on your back and a lot more eyes watching you.”

Drew, also an accomplished high school baseball and basketball player says that being a coach’s kid puts more pressure and expectations on him. 

“There’s labels everywhere in the world. Everybody probably thinks that Michael Jordan’s kids should be good basketball players because they’re Michael Jordan’s kids,” Drew said. “I’m sure there’s a label on me somewhere, but I just try to be my own person.”

Dean Mott, son of head soccer coach Matt Mott says he feels similarly to Drew.

“I feel like sometimes, my coaches expect me to be more serious because they expect a coach’s son to be good,” Mott said.

An added expectation in the athletic realm is to be expected, but Kennedy says that’s not all that comes with living the life of a coach’s son or daughter.

“People assume that the reason I have more privileges is because of who my dad is not because of who I am,” Kennedy said. “I want to make my own name.”

Kyndal Madlock, also a senior at OHS, is the daughter of assistant basketball coach Tony Madlock. 

“I think that people just assume that because your dad is a coach you feel that you are better than everyone else or upper class, and that’s not true,” Madlock said.

According to Drew, coaches and their families not only feel pressure from fans and supporters but also from the national media.

“Coaches have critics all the time,” Drew said, “If you are doing good, they want you to get a raise, but if you are doing bad they want you to get fired.”

He believes that the best thing for him is to avoid media all together.

“I try to stay away from the media during baseball season because I’ve been told that if you read it during the good times, that you will believe it during the bad times,” Drew said. “I just want to have the people I love believe in me and my dad.”

With the variety of media sources in this era, Kennedy believes that it can be difficult to avoiding some of the negative feedback on many social media platforms.
“He doesn’t have any social media and so the way he has raised me is to just not worry about it, but it definitely gets me heated,” Kennedy said.

With 56 regular season baseball games, as well as practice almost every day, being a coach’s kid sometimes means less time together as a family. Sam Bianco, younger brother to Drew, says that his parents do a great job of making sure they have enough family time.

“My parents do a real good job. We spend about two hours playing board games on Sundays to make sure we have enough time together,” Sam said. “Even when he [his dad] is away, we’ll stay in touch; text, call and for someone that does work a lot it does seem like he is there.”

Drew says that if given the option, he wouldn’t change a thing about his father’s job. 

“Everything has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but I think that being a coach’s kid has more advantages than disadvantages,” Drew said. “I love what my dad does, and I’m happy that he does it.”

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More Than A Coach: The reality of living in the spotlight as the child of a coach