Married coaches make a difference at C of I

The Mendiolas win on the court, field, and at home
Posted at 9:41 AM, Sep 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 11:41:54-04

Being a coach can be intense, especially at the collegiate level. So what's a home like when two coaches are married? Apparently it's a match made in heaven. 

Al Mendiola and Liiz Mendiola are the respective head softball and volleyball coaches for the College of Idaho. They're also both C of i graduates. Both athletes themselves, they met while Al had just graduated and was an assistant baseball coach and Liz was finishing her volleyball career as a player.

"When I met her, I had to make a change of stepping down because we started dating. I will state for the record we didn't start dating until my career was over," said Al and Liz Mendiola.

That was in 1993. By1996, the two assistant coaches were married, and in 2001, Liz was named the new head coach of Yotes Volleyball. Four years later, Al would become the head coach of Yotes Softball.

"To be able to have a similar schedule, be at the same workplace, it just, it really made sense and excited knowing how passionate he is about baseball and softball and knowing that he would love the opportunity to have his own program, that was really exciting," said Liz.

So between home and work, they must be together all the time!

"Don't really see each other except for lunch. I mean, she's in her office doing her own thing, I'm in my office doing my own thing," said Al.

"We're good about giving each other their own space," said Liz.

But they do try to make each other's games as often as possible.

"I'm more nervous when I'm watching her team than I am when I'm coaching. I'm sitting on the chair watching this volleyball match and I'm just nerve wracking cause I want her to succeed so bad," said Al.

The couple have two children together, though it seems like dozens more.

"We're invested in each other's teams too, we get to know each other's athletes and so it's more than just for each other. We're always so excited for each other but like I said, I feel like his team is my second team," said Liz.

But outside of work, you probably won't find these two coaches playing Monopoly or a pickup game of one-on-one.

"We tried playing tennis just for fun but he thinks it's fun to put spin on the ball and I am not good at tennis so, just little things like that where it's like you know, maybe we're better off just hanging out with friends doing things that we enjoy not in a competitive nature," said Liz.

"And that's the toughest part is that we are so competitive that we can't," said Al.

They just keep it on the court or the diamond, and it's that competitiveness that helps them both make each other better coaches.

"Probably a day doesn't go by without me bouncing something off of him that I have either questions about or just want some insight on but yeah, I definitely wouldn't be as successful without him," said Liz.

It's the ultimate coaching matchup that's going 22-years strong and it all started at the College of Idaho!