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By LARRY VAUGHT
Life as a coach’s wife was never in Jenna Mitchell’s plans until she met Matthew Mitchell.
“My dream was to move to New York and work in corporate America and have a big-time job and be really successful. Actually getting married and everything that comes along with that wasn’t a priority of mine. So meeting Matthew — he kind of messed all that up for me,” she said. “No, I’m joking of course saying he messed that up for me. After meeting him, he got the job — we dated about six months, maybe a little bit less — and he got the job here as the assistant coach, and I was really torn whether to follow him or still follow my dreams of living in New York and getting a big-time job and kind of being an independent successful woman.
“I ended up doing that because I knew that if it was meant to be, I could always follow him down the road. So he was up here, and I graduated and I got a job based out in San Francisco with a biometrics technology company. I was based in San Fran and really fortunate because I got to fulfill my dreams of living in New York and in San Francisco, splitting my time between the two cities. My dad’s out in San Francisco so I got to spend a lot of time with him.”
That long-distance relationship went on about two years before the two said enough was enough and they needed to be together. Since she had less time invested in her career than he did his coaching career, she says the “obvious” choice was for her to join him in Lexington.
“Although I think he was willing to do it, moving to New York and living in a teeny studio apartment didn’t sound as appealing then as it did when I was in college. So I quit my job and was really apprehensive about moving to Lexington because it was my dream to live in New York,” she said. “But finally I quit my job, I moved here, and then not maybe three or four months later, he gets the job at Morehead State (as head coach).
“So it was almost like this is some kind of joke being played on me. But in hindsight, we really enjoyed our time in Morehead. Great people there. I think it was great for our first two years of marriage because we got to spend a lot of time together and it makes me appreciate Lexington and the success that he’s had and we’ve had here even more. I tell everyone that after being in Morehead for two years, I feel like I’m back in New York. “
Other than Florida football games, Jenna Mitchell had no sports background. She wasn’t anything like the fanatical cheerleader UK fans now see at games, including those on the road.
“Didn’t even go to the men’s basketball games, but yeah, went faithfully to all the football games. But now, I’m much more of a basketball fan than football,” she said. “I definitely enjoy football, and it’s so exciting right now with (coach Mark) Stoops here and everything, but I really enjoy watching all kinds of basketball games. Even if Kentucky’s not playing, Matthew and I will watch basketball. If it’s football, I’ll watch Kentucky and maybe some big games, but we watch a lot of basketball now.”
Next: Jenna Mitchell talks about becoming a mother.