''She's the Glue to Our Family''

''She's the Glue to Our Family''

by Christy Cabrera Chirinos

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Alex Mirabal has been a college coach long enough to know the drill.

There can be long days in the office preparing for practices and games. Recruiting road trips that can take him far from home in search of top-notch players. And every once in a while, there comes an incredible opportunity that brings with it its share of logistical challenges, like moving an entire family across the country.

Except Miami’s assistant head coach and offensive line coach would say he hasn’t really had to worry about that last one very much, thanks in large part to his wife of more than 20 years, Berta Mirabal.

“She’s moved three times. I’ve never moved,” Mirabal said. “When you get a job as a coach, you go off ahead. You’re the one over there getting ready for the next spring practice. You’re getting ready for recruiting. You’re doing all that stuff…I get to go in front of it and she’s the one who gets left with putting the house up for sale, getting the stuff fixed up for the kids at school, to leave that school and come across the country. She’s the one who’s going to be there when the packers are there, because I can’t be. She understands why, but I’m doing the job. Like I tell everybody, I’ve never moved. She’s moved three times.”

And, Mirabal will add, Berta Mirabal’s done plenty more than move during the course of his career.

She’s learned how to tie a tie so she can help the couple’s two sons with the task if dad is on the road. She’s opened her home to the young men her husband mentors on a daily basis. And she’s been an incredible support system for Mirabal, a support system he says makes it possible for him to be the best coach he can be.

“She’s the reason I’m able to do what I do. She’s the one who takes care of the boys at home and she’s always been there when I’m not there,” Mirabal said. “This profession, it takes you away from your wife. It takes you away from your kids, your children. You better have someone behind you who is supportive and who is supportive of what you do and [be] understanding…”

That’s a sentiment shared by all of Miami’s coaches.

And on this Mother’s Day, they’re more than happy to shine the spotlight on the women who have made a difference in their lives, and the lives of their children.

“The truth is, I’m able to do this coaching career because of her. She attends our kids’ parent-teacher conferences. She is dropping off and picking up the kids at school and their practices,” said associate head coach, defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator Joe Salave’a of his wife, Josephine. “She wears both hats as a mother and [father] a good amount while we are on the road recruiting or at the office late game planning, not to mention the laundry and doctor’s appointments for the kids. Many people don’t come close to understanding the investment our wives make to support us. I’m beyond grateful to her.”

Added offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson of his wife, Chelsea, “Without her, I’d be lost. Her job is way harder and definitely more important than mine…A coach’s wife is basically a single mom at times. It takes a very special person and I’m blessed to have her.”

In ways big and small, the wives of Miami’s coaches make a difference not just for their own families, but for the players who are part of the Hurricanes’ football family.

Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry chuckles when sharing how his wife, Starlet, gets excited every time she has the opportunity to create homemade Cajun meals for any of his players who hail from their home state of Louisiana.

“If we have a Louisiana player, they get really close to us because we like to cook. I cook and my wife cooks, but she takes them in almost like a surrogate mother,” Guidry said. “She promises the moms of the kids that she’s going to take care of them, and that’s what she does…That special relationship she has with them…they treat her as a mom.”

And secondary coach Jahmile Addae notes that his wife – and high school sweetheart, Maryann – makes it a point to ask him, often, how his players are doing not just on the field, but in the classroom and beyond.

“My wife does a really good job of bringing it back to home base and [asking], ‘Hey, how are these kids doing beyond the game of football? How are they doing in the classroom? How are they doing personally?’ And that’s a great reminder,” Addae said. “I think it’s a lesson that’s learned not only for my players, but even in my same household, really having kids who are of an age where they’re really easy to influence and [me] not necessarily being there all the time. I think she does a really good job of making sure that I still keep the main thing, the main thing, which is home.”

As Addae noted, making sure their families maximize the time they have together is a priority for many of the coaches’ wives.

Defensive line coach Jason Taylor appreciated that his wife, Monica, made it a point to make sure she and the couple’s toddler, Jordan, were at as many of Miami’s open practices as possible this spring, giving father and son a chance to squeeze in a few extra hugs.

“Between running [her] business, running the house, and running around with Jordan, she sacrifices a lot…Quality time together is priceless and she does a great job of getting down to Coral Gables whenever she can,” Taylor said. “She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing mom that does everything, anything and everything for her little fellow Jordan and her stepkids, Isaiah, Mason and Zoe.”

And receivers coach Kevin Beard joked that his wife, Nordea, isn’t just an expert at making sure their three children are ready for school and out the door on time every morning, but at ensuring everyone is an active part of the family game nights and dinners that give them all a chance to unwind and spend some time together.

“She’s the glue to our family,” Beard said. “Everything evolves around her…She makes sure everybody’s good and in a good space mentally, physically and psychologically.”

While all of the coaches have an appreciation for the very unique work their wives do to keep everything running smoothly when they’re not home, one member of the Miami football staff knows that work in a very unique way.

She does it herself, too.

Sebrina Beyer, Miami’s assistant director of football operations and special assistant to head coach Mario Cristobal, is the mother of twin boys, Jordan and Bryce, and a stepmother to Brady.

Her husband, Dave Beyer, the director of basketball operations for the Miami Heat, said she holds their family together, despite the demands that come with having a career in college football.

“She just attacks the day, every day and just gets at it,” Beyer said. “We each have our own role in the morning as we get up, what we need to do. You know, walk the dog, get the kids dressed, make them breakfast, all that stuff. But she has pretty much taken on a lot, especially with my schedule right now. I’m traveling more so than that, so she’s by herself for about three, four days at a time and she’s got to do everything by herself, plus go to work, get her tasks completed…and then still make time to pick the kids up, make them dinner, give them a bath, do homework and then get up and repeat it all over again…Whatever she has to do for the boys, she will.”

On this Mother’s Day weekend, there’s little doubt the Beyers will have plenty to celebrate.

So, too, will all of the Hurricane families – players and coaches alike.

For each of them, there is so much gratitude for all of the incredible women who give so much of themselves, day in and day out, to make sure their families at home and in Coral Gables are taken care of.

“Mother’s Day is special, but it especially means more for a coach’s wife who does anything and everything, above and beyond what is asked or what is needed to make sure the family, the kids and myself…[are] taken care of,” said linebackers coach Derek Nicholson, who has three children with his wife, Onnie.

Said running backs coach Tim Harris, Jr. of his wife, Nicolette, “It’s hard. I can never really be in her shoes. I think about it all the time. My mom is a coach’s wife, too, so you know, kind of listening to her a lot and everything that she’s going through from her standpoint, it helps put it into perspective for me, to make sure I appreciate everything [Nicolette] does for our house.”