Dayo Lanier shares her experience being a head coach’s wife

The Lanier household is consumed by basketball, but they always find ways to make time for each other. Photo Submitted by Rob Lanier

College sports are packed with an immense amount of fun and excitement, and they are some of the most popular sources of entertainment in the media industry. 

A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into the success of college sports, and the sports scene would look very different if it weren’t for the passionate individuals behind the lights and cameras that keep every program alive.

Sports fans only see the hard work and dedication that players and coaches put into the game every season. But what most people don’t see, and often fail to understand, is what goes on beyond a single season and after the games.

Running a successful sports program is a year-long commitment from not just coaches but everyone involved — athletes, doctors, trainers, nutritionists — except for a few weeks off throughout the year. As such, many of these professionals also have families waiting for them at home. 

So what role does a coach’s wife play in their husband’s career?

Dayo Lanier, the wife of Georgia State’s men’s basketball head coach Rob Lanier, has enjoyed every day of the 22-year experience.

“This is Rob’s second head coaching job,” Lanier said. “He was the head coach at Siena College years back, so I’ve been in this position before—when our kids were much younger.”

The Lanier family eats, breathes and sleeps basketball. Their son, Emory, a freshman for the Davidson College Eagles, and 17-year-old daughter Kai, who attends Woodward Academy, are both active on the basketball court.

“I’m fairly involved, in terms of attending most [Panther] home games and watching away games,” Lanier said. “Because I’m following three different basketball seasons, I have to keep track of several games.”

Although Coach Lanier spends a significant amount of time away from his family, it’s not all bad for Dayo. Alone time is a cherished monument in her life.

“As anyone in the Lanier household will tell you, I’m a major introvert,” Lanier said. “Rob’s time away often coincides with my moments of introverted solitude or time with the kiddos.”

Having alone time is a good thing, but she experiences some difficult times as well. Scheduling family activities while considering not just one basketball season, but three can be overwhelming.

“The biggest challenge has to be the inability to schedule things definitively or too far in advance,” Lanier said. “Due to the basketball season, workouts and recruiting periods — family vacations, trips and other activities are relegated to very specific, and sometimes limited, time slots.”

For the Lanier family, hectic schedules and busy basketball seasons are a common and familiar thing. But this never gets in the way of their family bonding.

“We’re pros at family bonding,” Lanier said. “We definitely know how to make the best use of the time we have to spend together and supporting one another at games and events.”

Although there are so many aspects, good and bad, that come with being a coach’s wife, the real enjoyment for Dayo comes from knowing that her husband is living out his true purpose in life while also finding a healthy work-life balance.

“I’m proud of how much he loves his family, and [he] is the best husband and father we could ask for,” Dayo said.