Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Cathy Nutt discusses being a coach's wife

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rowdy's dancing around. The crowd is cheering in the stands.The players are running feverishly from one end of the court to the other and coach Dickey Nutt is yelling plays.

All of these are things are what one expects to see at Southeast Missouri State University men's basketball games, but perched in the stands at every game is a petite brunette with a strong southern accent intensely watching the game.

That's only part of the job of being a coach's wife, according to Cathy Nutt.

A native of Oklahoma City, Nutt studied physical education at Oklahoma State where she met her future husband, Dickey, in a class they shared. They were friends for over a year and a half before they started dating and then married after five years together.

"I was a PE [Physical Education] major because I wanted be a high school girls basketball coach," Nutt said. "But then when he's going to be coach, I said forget it."

Though Nutt completed her physical education degree she turned to hairstyling, which always was something she has loved to do. For 27 years she has styled hair for close friends and family.

More recently, Nutt launched her own business with her sister Patricia Prigmore. A year and a half ago they created Haughty Mae's, named after their mother's nickname.

Haughty Mae's is a chocolate mix that is primarily used as gravy to pour over biscuits, which is a dish in Oklahoma. The mix also can be used as a pie filling or fondue. It is now sold in four stores in St. Louis as well as a store in Jonesboro, Ark., and Schnucks in Cape Girardeau.

Degree holder, hairstylist and business owner are all titles Nutt holds, but maybe one of the most challenging aspects of her life is being a coach's wife.

They lived in Jonesboro, Ark., while Dickey Nutt coached men's basketball for over two decades at Arkansas State University. Not only was she a wife and mother, but she had to do a lot of it on her own.

She reflected back on her first years of marriage and explained that being a coach is a 24 hour-a-day job. Whining occurred a lot, she said with a chuckle.

Nutt said that being involved with sports is especially hard because it always bring out the worst in people. Biting her tongue and learning to keep her composure has not always been easy.

"I'm very fiery, have a hot temper and very competitive," Nutt said. "But I've learned a lot over the years on how to handle yourself, in losing and winning, with grace. And it's hard to do."

Mr. and Mrs. Nutt have experienced a lot of wins and losses over the past 29 years of marriage. After Dickey Nutt was fired from Arkansas State, times were tough for the Nutt family, while he looked for a new job, but it's all part of the roller coaster ride, she said.

"You grow bitter or you grow better," she said. "And we grew better."

The Nutt family relocated to Cape Girardeau in 2009 when Dickey Nutt was hired as Southeast's coach. All three of their kids currently attend Southeast. Logan is a graduate assistant and Lucas plays basketball . Both sons have future plans to be coaches, while their daughter has high aspirations to be a sports broadcaster.

If there is any advice Nutt has for other wives of coaches it's to be independent, never make definite plans and expect to play multiple roles in the household because coaches never have the time.

"You show me a coach that does any chores at home then I want to meet that person because I promise you, they don't do any chores," Nutt joked.

But most importantly, Nutt advised that surrounding yourself with good people is what is most important in any marriage.

"You gotta warn your friends about the roller coaster though, because they get on the roller coaster ride with you," Nutt said.