The couple that competes together, stays together
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2012 15:04
Jimmy and Jenny Garrity, both coaches in the UNC Wilmington Athletics Department, have been married for 17 years. When sitting down to talk about anything, even as basic as the way that the two met, competition ensues.
“Well, we were both involved in athletics over at NC State and she kept dropping by my office,” said Jimmy Garrity, interim head women’s basketball coach. “Probably by the fourth or fifth time I finally got the hint and asked her out.”
Not content with that story though, Jenny Garrity, head women's tennis coach, laughed and chimed in, “That’s not quite how I remember it. I’m pretty sure it was him stopping by my office several times.”
That competition has been present since the beginning of their relationship. “We almost broke off while dating, because we started playing tennis every once in a while,” said Jimmy. “It got way too competitive. She has this mean streak while playing. Every now and then I’d hit a good shot and she’d think ‘oh that shot was a little too good,’ and she’d just smash it back.”
“We haven’t played tennis since about that third time,” said Jimmy.
Jenny added, “Which is probably why we’ve stayed married for 17 years.”
Jimmy said the two play H-O-R-S-E on occasion as well, and that is just as competitive. Jenny holds her own, according to Jimmy, because “when she holds her tongue out just right (demonstrating by poking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth) that’s when she shoots her best.”
The two aren’t all about fun and games, though. They both have full days of coaching and working in their respective branches of the athletics department, but they say they don’t see each other all that often. Jenny said, “He hides from me.”
“That is not true," Jimmy said. "We cross paths every now and then, but we’re both extremely busy.”
Jimmy added he does have to call her once or twice a day to figure out where he is supposed to be at what time of day. “She has a master schedule and calendar with everything on it,” he said, “and without her planning and running things, we’d probably fall apart.”
The part of the schedule that isn’t dominated by coaching for UNCW is taken up by coaching and parenting their children. They have three kids, who are described by both as very athletic and into sports. “The other day we had a match, and the kids came out and watched the girls play and when the match was over, we all crossed the street and watched the softball game,” said Jenny.
The kids help coach every now and then, as well. “While watching tape, or basketball games, every now and then my son will leave the room for a little bit and return with some Xs and Os scribbled down on a napkin,” said Jimmy with a grin. ”We haven’t run any of his plays in a game yet, but that’s really only because there are usually about 15 players on the court in his plays.”
All in all, the Garrity pair estimate that they spend about 12 hours a day coaching. “It sounds like a really long day, and it can be difficult at times, but it’s all very rewarding,” said Jenny. Jimmy nodded and said, “Absolutely, there’s nowhere we’d rather be than Wilmington, and we just wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”