By Jason Chlapek

Killeen Daily Herald

It's a well-known fact that football players get hungry.

Well, so do football coaches. And on Saturday afternoons, that's where the wives of Ellison football coaches come in handy.

Before the start of the football season, the Ellison football coaches' wives get together and decide who will cook lunch for their spouses prior to Saturday practices. The cuisine varies from fajitas to sloppy joes with a little taste of Italy in the form of chicken tetrazini.

"This is one of our ways of showing support for our husbands and the hard work they put in during football season," said Tracy Schaub, wife of coach Dean Schaub. "This has been going on for the last seven years, dating back to when Coach (Bret) Boyd started coaching here. The coaches are like one big family so it's fitting that the wives are part of the family, too."

When Tracy was called on to cook, she provided sloppy joe sandwiches, several bags of potato chips and a cake.

While the Schaubs have been on board with Ellison football since the Jim Skinner era (1999-2001), Bill Farley has coached at the school off-and-on since it opened in 1978. Farley's wife, Debbie, has been part of that journey since the couple married in 1991, and together, they have been part of each staff from John Beseda (1978-94) to the present Buddy McBryde era.

"The thing that is good about Ellison is we always seem to find a coach who is very family-oriented," Debbie said. "When Coach Beseda was here, we would have a party after each home game, and it was always a good opportunity to spend time with the other coaches and their families."

The Farleys were absent through the majority of the Robert Walker era (1995-98) as Bill taught in Australia as an exchange teacher prior to Debbie's diagnosis with breast cancer. Following his wife's diagnosis, Farley took time off from coaching to be with her during her time of treatment.

Not only did Debbie survive the disease, she also developed a knack for cooking one of the coaches' favorite meals ? chicken tetrazini ? also known as "chicken spaghetti."

While the Farleys and Schaubs have had the fortune of being associated with family-oriented coaching staffs, Jon and Kelly Christian didn't have such luck during their pre-Ellison lives.

"Jon worked at one school where I only knew one other coaches' wife," Kelly said. "Ellison has been a breath of fresh air for us. It's great to have such a camaraderie with the other coaches' families. If we didn't have each other, we would be miserable."

Kelly's meal consisted of beef and chicken fajitas with the fixings of tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, tortillas and sour cream.

Kelly also said that the coaches' wives sit together at the games, and that the coaches always appreciate the food. Of course, she added that sometimes there is one little complaint that has been expressed from time to time.

"Someone usually says that they wish we had made more food," Kelly said. "They eat that stuff up pretty quickly."

So it's affirmative ? coaches get hungry, too.

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