One more for coach Wyant
In the midst of team and individual championships, Wyant expects second child
February 23, 2011, 3:14 am · Updated February 23, 2011, 12:00 am·
Coach Jack Wyant is expecting a lot in the final two weeks of the 2010-2011 squash season.
This Friday marks the Hoehn Cup — the men’s National Team Championships — followed a week later by the men’s and women’s individual championships.
But most pressing is the event that Wyant and his wife, Amelia, cannot date: the arrival of their second son.
Wyant and Amelia, who live just across the state line in Wilmington, Del., managed to orchestrate the birth of their first son to occur in July of 2009, when only recruiting occupies Wyant’s work schedule.
“I have a very supportive wife,” Wyant said. “When we met a few years ago, she knew what I did [and] that during certain periods of the year my schedule was quite demanding.”
But unlike the older brother, who bears his father’s name (Jack’s given name is John), the arrival of the Wyants’ new baby was not so meticulously arranged.
“He was a bit of a surprise,” Wyant said. “We didn’t necessarily plan this one to arrive late February, but that’s what happened, and we’re both really excited about it.”
And they’re not the only ones. Women’s senior captain Annie Madeira said over the last few months, the team members have kept a white board where they list possible names for the newest addition to their coach’s family.
Although Wyant claims he and Amelia have not yet chosen a name for the baby, Madeira and the team have their own predictions.
“I think he’s probably going to end up naming it Charlie,” she said.
While last weekend’s Howe Cup did not turn out the way the women had hoped —a 7-2 loss to Princeton in the first round of the championship pushed them into fifth place overall — Madeira noted that Wyant’s focus stayed on the ball.
“He’s handling it really well,” she said. “I can tell he’s a bit nervous, but who wouldn’t be?”
Wyant, who has coached the women to national and Ivy League titles since his arrival in 2004 and took the men’s head coaching position this year, said he sees his players much in the same way he sees his children.
“Penn’s my home,” he said. “Getting to know people like Annie and seeing her grow from an 18-year-old to a pretty mature young woman is a wonderful experience. I think for a lot of coaches it is a bit like parenting and it means that much to us.”
If Wyant’s words are not evidence enough of the bonds he has bridged with his players, his choice of godmother to his son is. After Johnny’s birth, the Wyants gave the role to 2007 graduate Paula Pearson, who captained Wyant’s first team in his tenure at Penn.
Pearson, a registered nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, called her role in Johnny’s life a “wonderful responsibility and extreme honor.”
“I would like to play a larger role in the future,” she added. “It’s very meaningful for me.”
But has Wyant’s coaching changed since the birth of his children? Well, it depends on who you ask.
“We all joke that since he’s had a kid he’s become a lot more soft,” Annie said. “He’s given us days off here and there. That definitely never would’ve happened freshman year.”
Wyant, however, suggested the biggest adjustment has been in his schedule.
“When I was single, I wouldn’t say that I was on a college schedule, but I was definitely up a bit later,” he said.
He admitted, too, that fatherhood might have increased his patience.
“I would hope that having a son that’s a year and a half [old] has caused me to appreciate how things take time,” Wyant said. “You realize they don’t come out of the womb talking, and they don’t come out of the womb walking. It’s similar in coaching.”